Following certification by the Massachusetts Attorney General of its proposed ballot question, the Right to Repair Coalition will immediately begin collecting signatures to place this important pro-consumer initiative petition before the voters.
Supporters have until Nov. 23, 2011, to get the nearly 70,000 signatures required to secure placement of the question on the 2012 ballot. The proposed Right to Repair law would require automobile manufacturers to provide directly to consumers the diagnostic and safety information needed to repair their cars at the shop of their choice.
Currently, auto manufacturers provide only some of the diagnostic and safety information needed to repair vehicle owners’ cars with independent technicians, limiting consumers’ choices and losing business for neighborhood repair shops.
“If the car manufacturers can continue to manipulate the market by withholding information, then do I really own the car?” says Jeff McLeod, one of the original signers of the initiative petition approved by the Attorney General. “Ultimately, if this law doesn't pass, it's going to cost me more money as a consumer, even when my car is out-of-warranty, so I can't wait to vote for this ballot question next year.”
Industry research estimates annual savings of $300-$500 per family when vehicle owners are given the right to choose where their cars are repaired. Consumers across Massachusetts visiting local mechanics or neighborhood parts stores have filled out letters of support and sent them to their state legislators. More than 50,000 letters have now been submitted. The coalition’s Facebook page has received more than 8,000 “likes.”
The Right to Repair Coalition includes consumer advocates like AAA, the American Military Society, seniors’ groups like RetireSafe, and more than 5,000 independent shops, small businesses and retailers in communities across Massachusetts that employ 32,641.
In addition to grassroots support in states such as Massachusetts, national support is growing and Congress supports Right to Repair as well.