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Consumers prefer independent repair shops

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According to the June 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, more Americans are "very satisfied" with independent repair shops (74%) for vehicle repairs than new car dealers (59%).

Both chambers of the United States Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate, have introduced legislation designed to ensure that car owners can continue to choose between local repair shops and dealerships for vehicle repairs.

The House version of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2057) was introduced by Reps. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and has 62 co-sponsors to date. The Senate version (S 3181) was recently introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and has three co-sponsors.

"As evidenced by the Consumer Reports study, millions of car owners trust independent repair shops to provide affordable and competitive automotive repair service,” says Kathleen Schmatz, CEO and president of the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA). “The top priority of the Right to Repair Act is motorist safety, ensuring that car owners know what is happening with their vehicles. To keep every motor vehicle serviced, repaired and operating safely, there must be equal access to safety alerts and repair information from the car companies.” 

The Right to Repair Act is specifically designed to:

* protect motoring consumers from a growing and potentially hazardous vehicle repair monopoly by requiring that car companies provide full access at a reasonable cost to all service information, tools and safety-related bulletins needed to repair motor vehicles; and

* provide car companies with strong protections for their trade secrets, only requiring them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information they provide their franchised dealers.

In May 2009, Consumer Reports came out in support of the Right to Repair Act. “Consumer Reports agrees, in principle, with the Right to Repair Act as it restricts its scope to ‘repair,’ which would increase repair options for car owners.”

“Supporters of Right to Repair are not seeking an unfair advantage, nor are they looking for access to the proprietary information protected by the bill," says Ray Pohlman, president of the Coalition for Auto Repair Equality (CARE). "Instead, they are asking Congress to ensure that car owners, and not the car companies, decide where their vehicles are repaired.”

The Right to Repair Act has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. For more information about the Right to Repair Act, visit www.righttorepair.org.

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