On Dec. 17, the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ) welcomed industry representatives from Massachusetts via a virtual meeting to inform its membership of the efforts behind the recently passed Massachusetts Right to Repair Law ballot measure, and advise how grassroots actions can be taken to help pass industry-related legislation in the Garden State.
Tommy Hickey, director of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, and AASP/MA Executive Director Evangelos “Lucky” Papageorg began by giving AASP/NJ members a history of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Law.
Originally passed in 2012, the law was enacted to establish a level playing field by ensuring that independent auto body and mechanical service shops had access to the same diagnostic and repair information as dealerships and car manufacturers.
Thanks to the recently voted-in ballot measure, consumers and independent shops now have access to telematics information as well. This was originally carved out of the 2012 law by manufacturers at the eleventh hour before the law was passed.
Hickey explained that the use of telematics back then was nothing like it is today and was not a major concern at the time. That is no longer the case in 2020, as about 90% of current vehicles on the road have this technology.
“We wrote the ballot initiative as a way to close that loophole but also with a twist,” Hickey explained. “We wanted to allow the car owners---not the car manufacturers---to be the gatekeeper of their diagnostic repair information and codes. Through a mobile-based application, the car owner would get the information directly and allow an independent repair and body shop to have access to information for a period of time the owner allows them to have it […] We made this about consumers and getting their cars fixed.”
According to Hickey, major manufacturers spent $30 million to fight against the coalition’s movement to get this law revised. However, a strong grassroots campaign geared toward consumers helped solidify victory at the polls last November with more than 2 million votes.
“Technology will change, but technology shouldn’t take away your right to choose where to get your car repaired.”
While Right to Repair has largely been viewed as a mechanical issue, it has become a major concern for...