Thursday, 09 May 2013 18:18

Maine Legislature Holds Hearing on Right to Repair Legislation

The Maine legislature recently held a hearing on LD 788, Right to Repair legislation, titled “Vehicle Owners and Repair Facilities.” The hearing was held in the Joint Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development.

Ken Boyce, the owner of Ken’s Auto Repair Inc. in Buxton, ME, presented testimony on behalf of the Automotive Service Association (ASA). He has 29 years of experience in auto repair.

Boyce made compelling arguments in opposition to the Right to Repair legislation throughout his testimony. He said:
“There are lots of conflicting opinions about the right to repair issue. In my opinion, this legislation has no purpose. All it would do is codify an agreement that was reached over a decade ago at the behest of the U.S. Congress after they expressed their desire to not inject themselves into the middle of the situation.

“The existing agreement between automakers and the aftermarket was reached in 2002. It has been around so long that some of the original manufacturers involved–such as Pontiac, Mercury, Saab, Saturn and Suzuki–no longer even exist. With the formation of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), and the introduction of the Secure Data Release Model (SDRM), the agreement is strong and in a state of continual improvement. The threat that the manufacturers might take away the information is the last-ditch cry of the flat world, yet the manufacturers’ support for NASTF has only strengthened over the past decade. There is no evidence of that ever changing. All evidence points to their continued support.”

Boyce concluded his testimony with strong remarks: “I see nothing positive that will come from this legislation. It will do nothing to compel the flat world to subscribe to information or purchase tooling that the OEs already have to offer, nor will it compel any technician[s] to get the training they need. Instead, all that I can see it has to offer, through unintended circumstances, is to flatten out the round world of shops like mine. I don’t want that and my customers don’t want that. The key is proper education, proper tooling, and support of the agreement that is already in place, not legislation. If our voluntary, industry service information process fails, we will be the first in line asking for the state of Maine’s help. We see no signs of failure to date. ASA opposes ME LD 788.”

To view the testimony in its entirety, please visit ASA’s legislative website at www.TakingTheHill.com.

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