Cape Cod Coalition Forms to Support Next Generation of Right to Repair


More than 40 Cape Cod independent auto repair shops have joined together as part of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition to support a much-needed update to the Commonwealth’s Right to Repair law.  By 2020, advancements in vehicle technology will result in more than 90% of new cars being equipped to transmit real-time diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers, threatening the rights of Massachusetts car consumers to choose to get their cars fixed at trusted independent repair shops or do the work themselves.  

The Cape independent repair shops and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition support bipartisan legislation filed in January by twelve State Representatives and two State Senators to update the Commonwealth’s Right to Repair law.  The legislation would further protect Massachusetts car owners’ rights to choose where they have their cars repaired, shop around for the best deal, and control who has access to the repair and diagnostic data compiled and transmitted by their car, but has not advanced on Beacon Hill.

“We need Beacon Hill to move more quickly to update the Right to Repair law,” said John Fay of Fay’s Automotive in Provincetown.  “We want a hearing so that this common-sense reform can move forward to protect jobs and consumers' rights to shop around for car repairs.  Automakers are starting to use the next generation of wireless technology to shut us out, and that’s bad for drivers,” he continued.

Justin Morrison of Morrison Motor Works in Hyannis added, “In 2012 Massachusetts voted overwhelmingly to force car companies to provide access for car owners and shops like mine to get repair and diagnostic information.  This is a simple update to that law to stay ahead of the wireless technology now present in cars and trucks.  It should be a no-brainer to update Right to Repair immediately.”

Said Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition Director Tommy Hickey, “We are pleased that the coalition is growing on the Cape and throughout the state.  Despite the overwhelming 86% vote of support at the ballot in 2012 and the subsequent 2013 law guaranteeing access to independent repair shops, these shops are increasingly facing the prospect of having limited or no access to diagnostic and repair information now that automakers are increasingly restricting access through rapidly expanding wireless technologies in vehicles not covered under current law.”  If independent repair shops can’t get direct access to diagnostic and repair information from the car, then car owners have no choice but to be steered by vehicle manufacturers towards more expensive automaker authorized repair options.  The update to the law would also give car owners access to the diagnostic and repair data generated by their car so that they could opt to provide access to any dealer, repair shop, or automaker that they choose during the lifetime of their car.

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, a group of Massachusetts independent repair shops, local auto parts stores, trade associations, consumers, and drivers interested in making sure car owners have access to the repair and diagnostic information produced by the vehicle they own, now has more than 2,000 members statewide.  Members of the Coalition also include the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA) the New England Tire and Service Association (NETSA).

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