Tag Archives: ballot question #1

Election 2012: BALLOT QUESTION #1 WOULD ALLOW CONSUMERS TO REPAIR AUTOS ANYWHERE

By Steven R. Maher

A ballot question in the November 2012 election would bring much needed competition to the auto repair business.

“This proposed law would prohibit any motor vehicle manufacturer, starting with model year 2015, from selling or leasing, either directly or through a dealer, a new motor vehicle without allowing the owner to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information made available to the manufacturer’s dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities,” says the Secretary of State’s web site.

“The manufacturer would have to allow the owner, or the owner’s designated in-state independent repair facility (one not affiliated with a manufacturer or its authorized dealers), to obtain diagnostic and repair information electronically, on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“The manufacturer would have to provide access to the information through a non-proprietary vehicle interface, using a standard applied in federal emissions-control regulations. Such information would have to include the same content, and be in the same form and accessible in the same manner, as is provided to the manufacturer’s dealers and authorized repair facilities.”
2002 through 2014

“For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would require a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in Massachusetts to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, the same diagnostic and repair information that the manufacturer makes available through an electronic system to its dealers and in-state authorized repair facilities. Manufacturers would have to make such information available in the same form and manner, and to the same extent, as they do for dealers and authorized repair facilities,” continued the web site. “The information would be available for purchase on an hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly subscription basis, for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“For vehicles manufactured from 2002 through model year 2014, the proposed law would also require manufacturers to make available for purchase, by vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities, all diagnostic repair tools, incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities as those available to dealers and authorized repair facilities. Such tools would have to be made available for no more than fair market value and on terms that do not unfairly favor dealers and authorized repair facilities.

“The proposed law would not require a manufacturer to reveal a trade secret and would not interfere with any agreement made by a manufacturer, dealer, or authorized repair facility that is in force on the effective date of the proposed law. Starting January 1, 2013, the proposed law would prohibit any agreement that waives or limits a manufacturer’s compliance with the proposed law.”

No brainer

This sounds like a no brainer to me. Instead of taking your out of warranty car to a dealer, who are notorious for charging high prices, when that “Engine Trouble” light goes on, you’ll be able to take it to your trusted repairman, who’s less likely to screw a dependeable customer.

That’s probably why both branches of the Massachusetts legislature voted down this law.