Right to Repair: Can 28,000 people be wrong?
Dozens of supporters of the "Right to Repair" legislation filled a State House hearing room in Massachusetts this week, calling passage of a bill that would require vehicle manufacturers to sell to independent car repairers the same repair code data they now sell or give to their franchise dealers.
At the start of hearing testimony, the Right to Repair Coalition piled up 28,000 letters of support on a table in front of the committee to show the amount of grassroots interest from consumers for this legislation.
Rep. Patricia Haddad, the speaker pro tempore, expressed her full support of the bill. In addition, several local repairers made a strong case for the legislation.
“The time that the dozens of repairers took to come down to the State House and sit through a four hour hearing shows that this legislation is critical to repairers and the jobs and businesses they represent,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Right to Repair Coalition. “Consumers pay for their cars, so they should be able to take their car where they want for repairs.”
While giving the consumer more choice in where they can get their cars fixed, the legislation protects trade secrets and the intellectual property of the manufacturer. Recent polling in Massachusetts shows that independent repair shops are trusted by consumers on pricing, convenience, quality, and customer service.
John Paul of AAA Southern New England testified that nearly 90% of their members, which is half the motoring public, support Right to Repair. The legislation has more than 60 co-sponsors, nearly double from last year, when the Right to Repair bill unanimously passed the Senate. However, the House of Representatives was unable to take action on the bill before formal sessions for the Massachusetts Legislature ended.
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