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CABA endorses Right to Repair Act

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Feb. 13, 2012—The Chesapeake Automotive Business Association (CABA) of Maryland recently endorsed the passage of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act.

The proposed Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, H.R. 1449, would require vehicle manufacturers to provide independent repair shops and consumers with full access to all non-proprietary service information, tools and safety-related bulletins necessary to repair motor vehicles, according to the CABA. The legislation provides auto manufacturers with protections for their trade secrets, and only requires them to make available the same diagnostic and repair information that is provided to their franchised dealers.

James Donohue, executive director of the CABA, recently sent a letter to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland encouraging support the Right to Repair Act. Rep. Bartlett’s district has 337 repair shops and wholesalers that employ nearly 4,000 people, according to the CABA. Donohue's letter stated that independent repair shops charge an average labor rate of $85 per hour while car dealers charge an hourly rate of $125 per hour. Consumers require the freedom to have their vehicles repaired where they want at an affordable price.

“Consumer Reports recently found that 40 percent of car owners are delaying vehicle repairs because they are cash-strapped, and AAA conducted a survey which showed that one in four car owners can't afford to have their vehicles repaired. Right to Repair is about safety, affordability and consumer choice,” Donohue said. “The automotive aftermarket is well served by highly-trained technicians and is responsible for the majority of vehicle repair and maintenance in this country. In fact, aftermarket companies invest heavily in the training and continuing education of professional service technicians. Therefore, I urge Rep. Bartlett to co-sponsor this important bill because it benefits all of his constituents, including more than 32,000 Maryland automotive aftermarket employees who work in over 4,000 aftermarket businesses.”

“Our members are in full support of the Right to Repair Act and think it is imperative that Congress pass this important pro-consumer, pro-small business piece of legislation,” Donohue said. “H.R. 1449 does not use tax payers’ money or government funding. It does not request proprietary information and does not create new regulations. It is simply a bill that would require automakers to provide the same non-proprietary service information and tools to independent auto and maintenance shops, as well as to consumers, that the new car dealership service centers receive.”

The Right to Repair Act was introduced into the 112th Congress by Reps. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) and Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.). The legislation currently has 46 co-sponsors, according to the CABA. For more information, visit righttorepair.org.

The CABA is a nonprofit trade association that represents aftermarket businesses in Maryland, Delaware and Washington, D.C. The organization is dedicated to the development of locally owned auto repair and tire service centers, jobbers and aftermarket professionals.

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