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A Timeline of the R.I. Parts Bills' Journey into Law

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The Rhode Island Senate Bill 2679 (SB2679) and its companion bill, House Bill 8013, were recently passed into law and resparked an age-old debate about whether shops should use OEM parts for repairs or have the freedom to utilize alternative parts.

Here is a look at how these bills entered the Rhode Island legislature and the key developments  that led to the law.

 

The Timeline:

March 2018: The OEM vs. aftermarket debate was engaged on a legislative level with SB 2679, which was introduced March 20 by Senators Maryellen Goodwin, Dominick Ruggerio and Michael McCaffrey. The bill sought to expand restrictions currently in place on non-OEM collision repair body parts in first-party claims to any collision damaged parts.

HB 8013 was introduced on March 29. HB 8013 amends that when an insurance company intends to specify the use of aftermarket parts, it will notify the vehicle owner in writing and body shops shall not use aftermarket parts in repairs without the owner’s written consent. For vehicles less than 48 months beyond the date of manufacture, no insurance company may require the use of aftermarket parts when negotiating repairs with the repairer.

April 2018: ASA submitted written testimony in support of HB 8013. According to the testimony, “Too often, undefined ‘industry standards’ are equated with the manufacturers’ procedures. When this happens, the shop and the consumer are jeopardized if the repair doesn’t perform like manufacturers’ recommendations. Compliance is not only critical to protect the shops from litigation, but to ensure the safety of the customers.”

The Rhode Island House Committee on Corporations held a hearing on April 24. If HB 8013 was enacted, the bill would not allow insurers to require “repair specifications or procedures” that are not in compliance with vehicle manufacturer recommendations.

May 2018: On May 8, the committee recommended the passing of substitute section called Sub A in the Senate bill, which later was passed with an amendment on May 15. The section details that insurance companies may not mandate the use of aftermarket parts without consent of the vehicle owner in the repair of vehicles that are less than 48 months beyond the date of manufacture.

June 2018: On June 23 the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a section titled Sub B of SB 2679.  This substitute bill has become law. Sub B says when OEM parts are used in a repair, no insurance company may require any repairer to use repair procedures that are not in compliance with the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer. This does not apply to glass repairs performed by glass repair shops.

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