The Right to Repair Coalition announced October 21 that it has collected 106,658 voter signatures after just 19 days of effort, well exceeding the 68,911 required for the initiative to appear on the 2012 ballot in Massachusetts.
According to the Right to Repair Coalition, the voter initiative would, for the first time, allow consumers to access all of the non-proprietary repair information required to have their vehicles repaired where they choose, at a new car dealership or an independent shop. The proposed law would level the playing field between the big car manufacturers' dealerships and independent, neighborhood repair facilities, allowing the latter to finally be able to access the same non-proprietary automobile diagnostic and repair information that is currently only available to the manufacturers’ dealers and their new car dealerships.
“It's time that car owners have the right to get our vehicles repaired wherever we choose,” said Jeff McLeod of Marshfield, one of the signers of the ballot petition. “The growing support for this issue shows how important it is for consumers, especially in a difficult economy.”
In September, when the Massachusetts Attorney General certified the proposed ballot question, the Association of Global Automakers (formerly the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers) said they were disappointed that the Right to Repair supporters have resorted to circumventing the Massachusetts legislature for passage of their bill.
Association President and CEO Michael J. Stanton said, "Efforts to promote this legislation have failed numerous times at the federal level, in several states and last year in the Massachusetts legislature. Today, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley certified all four Right to Repair petitions, permitting this legislation to move forward by way of the State's public ballot initiative process.
"Right to Repair legislation does not benefit the consumer, as proponents suggest, and has proven unnecessary time and again over the last 20 years. Access to the same diagnostic repair information auto manufacturers currently provide to their dealers already exists," said Stanton. "We regret that advocates of the legislation are using the petition process as a last resort for bill passage after so many failed attempts."
The Right to Repair Coalition includes consumer advocates like AAA and more than 2,000 independent repair shops, small businesses and retailers in communities across Massachusetts.