The Massachusetts Alliance of
Automotive Service Providers (AASP-MA), a large coalition of auto collision
repair shops and
full-service, high-tech mechanical repair shops, officially joined the
Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition.
Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure held a hearing on Right to Repair recently, drawing testimony from several industry organizations on both sides of the debate and consumers who shared their repair experiences. More than a dozen consumers attended the hearing, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition reported, and more than 100,000 Massachusetts citizens signed the Right to Repair initiative petition that will appear on November’s statewide ballot if legislators do not act first.
John Caldwell of Boston testified, "I have firsthand experience taking my car to an independent mechanic I know and trust, only to be sent away to a more expensive car dealer."
Ray Magliozzi, co-host of National Public Radio's "Car Talk" show, also testified in favor of the legislation as a consumer and independent repair shop owner.
"This legislation protects consumer choice and levels the playing field for independent repair shops," he said. "Right now, many repairers do not have access to the information, and the customer pays big for that disadvantage."
Diane Larson, AAM, owner of Larson’s Service in Peabody, Mass., and a member of the Automotive Service Association’s (ASA) Mechanical Division Operations Committee, testified on behalf of ASA, which opposes the legislation.
"For shops like mine that are willing to invest in the tools, equipment and training all the information needed to repair their customers' vehicles is available today without legislative mandates," she said. "While tools and information are accessible, it is important to note, however, that not every independent shop in Massachusetts today is qualified or fully prepared to service every make and model of vehicle, and understandably so. Each shop owner must make a business decision as to the investment he or she makes in the required tools and technician training to repair each brand."
Larson argued that the ballot initiative language, which proposes a universal diagnostic interface based on the SAE J2534 standard, "freezes old technology with no allowance for future advancements. If the concept of a non-proprietary interface is a good one, why not allow any future SAE, ISO or other globally recognized standards that automakers develop?”
Speaking on behalf of Massachusetts aftermarket repairers was Art Kinsman of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition: "Big car manufacturers just don’t want to do this, and they will literally say anything, contradict any fact that is right in front of us, if it will serve to create fear and confusion.
"There are more than 2,000 independent repairers across the Commonwealth who support car owners' Right to Repair the vehicles they paid for at the repair shop of their choice. AASP brings further credibility to our contention that consumers should be able to choose where they want to get their vehicles repaired based on good service and fair prices, not on who controls repair codes."