Picking Sides in Massachusetts Over ‘Right to Repair’

Fixed Ops Insight - July 13, 2012

The ‘right to repair’ debate is heat­ing up in Mass­a­chu­setts after the Mass­a­chu­setts Right to Repair Coali­tion was suc­cess­ful in hav­ing the issue added to the Novem­ber bal­lot. The vot­ers of the state will now be able to decide if automak­ers must sell their diag­nos­tic tools and soft­ware to inde­pen­dent repair shops at the same price that they do to their fran­chised deal­ers.

Inde­pen­dent repair shop own­ers took this unusu­al step because right to repair leg­is­la­tion was stalled in the Mass­a­chu­setts leg­is­la­ture. They claim that increased com­put­er­i­za­tion of today’s vehi­cles and diag­nos­tic tools makes lev­el­ing the play­ing field essen­tial.

Fran­chised deal­ers want to pre­serve their advan­tage over the inde­pen­dents. Automak­ers say that the right to repair jeop­ar­dizes their intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty and abil­i­ty to con­trol the qual­i­ty of repairs.

If the right to repair effort is suc­cess­ful, look for this move­ment to spread to oth­er states. For this rea­son the fight may get bru­tal and expen­sive.



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