The Coalition--a group of Massachusetts independent repair shops, auto parts stores, trade associations, consumers, and drivers—said that a lack of progress on an update to the law in the Legislature led them to pursue an initiative petition so that Massachusetts car owners will continue to have access to the repair and diagnostic mechanical information produced by the vehicle they own.
By 2020, advancements in vehicle technology and increasing restrictions by automakers will result in more than 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers, threatening the rights that Massachusetts car consumers enjoy today to choose to get their cars fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work themselves.
"We need to update the Right to Repair law before wireless technologies remove the car owner's right to get their vehicle repaired at our local, independent shop because the automaker would rather steer them towards one of their more expensive dealers," said Alan Saks of Dorchester Tire Service. "This is a common-sense reform and we'd love to see the Legislature move forward and fix it so that we don't have to go to the ballot to protect consumers' rights to shop around for car repairs."
Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition Director Tommy Hickey said, "Our independent shops are increasingly facing the prospect of having limited or no access to diagnostic and repair information now that automakers are restricting access through rapidly expanding wireless technologies in vehicles not covered under current law." The ballot initiative would give car owners access only to the diagnostic and repair data generated by their car, and they could opt to provide access to any dealer, repair shop, or automaker that they choose during the lifetime of their car.
The Coalition delivered its signatures to Secretary of State William Galvin's office. The initiative petition filed is entitled An Initiative Law to Enhance, Update and Protect the 2013 Motor Vehicle Right to Repair Law.
Further information may be found at massrighttorepair.org.