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Agreement Formally Ends 'Right to Repair' Debate

January 31, 2014

A national agreement signed this month extends Massachusetts' Right to Repair law across the country, essentially ending a two-decade fight between independent repair shops and the automakers.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association, and the Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality accepted the agreement on Jan. 22.

The agreement is based on the Massachusetts law that went into effect in 2012 for light vehicles. The groups will oppose additional state-level legislation as they implement the agreement nationwide.

"Accessible, efficient, accurate, and competitively-priced repair and service are paramount, and franchised dealers and the aftermarket play unique and important roles in the repair process," said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance.

The groups supporting the agreement say it will help independant repair facilities get access to the information, tools, and software needed to service late-model computer controlled vehicles.

The agreement was not embraced by AAA, which said it didn't go far enough in a statement.

"While this agreement has benefits for consumers, it is not a comprehensive solution," said Bob Darbelnet, AAA's president and CEO. "Vehicles are changing rapidly and more must be done to guarantee consumer choice and control of vehicle data in the future."

The first Right to Repair Act was introduced in Congress in 2001 to give customers the right to choose where they buy their parts and have their vehicles serviced.

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