MSADA, Right to Repair Coalition attempt to avoid Right to Repair issue on November ballot

June 21, 2012

June 21, 2012—The Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association (MSADA) and the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition on Wednesday agreed to compromise on the proposed Right to Repair legislation to avoid having the question on November voting ballots.

“Our members not only are franchise vehicle dealers for the manufacturers, but also act as independent repairers when working on vehicles outside their franchise line makes. Therefore, a consumer’s ability to have his or her car repaired by whomever he or she wants is important to us,” said Robert O’Koniewski, executive vice president of the MSADA, which represents the 410 franchise vehicle dealers that employ roughly 25,000 people in Massachusetts.

O’Koniewski said the MSADA has been working with legislators, the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition and vehicle manufacturers throughout the legislative process to achieve a consensus on the bill that would fix problems that directly impact the organization’s member dealers, employees, and sales and repair customers while avoiding the November ballot question.

“Should the ballot question pass, and all polls indicate that it would overwhelmingly, there is a great possibility that our dealers will not have vehicles to sell to our customers beginning in the spring of 2014 as the manufacturers cannot, or will not, comply with the law. That is a prospect with which we cannot gamble our dealers’ businesses and their customers’ satisfaction,” O’Koniewski said.

The MSADA and Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition would prefer to achieve a legislative solution to the Right to Repair issue, as long as it contains strong consumer protections and remedies that are proposed in the ballot initiative. The two organizations sent a joint letter to state lawmakers asking them to act on the legislative proposal in advance of the July 3 deadline when the Right to Repair ballot initiative will be submitted to the Massachusetts Secretary of State.

“We are especially pleased that the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association has joined us in pushing for a legislative solution to the Right to Repair issue,” said Art Kinsman, spokesman for the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition, which represents 40 consumer and aftermarket organizations, more than 2,000 independent repair shops and 32,000 jobs throughout Massachusetts. “At the heart of it, Right to Repair has always been about fairness in creating a level playing field between the car and truck manufacturers, franchise new car dealers and their independent counterparts in the aftermarket. Today’s accord proves that both new car dealers and independent repairers together have their customers’ best interests at heart.”