BOSTON — More than 18 months after Massachusetts voters soundly approved an update to the state’s “right to repair” law, the changes have yet to go into effect.
That’s because a lawsuit filed by automakers to block the law has been grinding on in a U.S. District Court in Boston amid a mountain of legal filings and several delays in a ruling in the case, which seeks to undo the voter-approved changes.
In a new legal brief, lawyers representing the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition call for a “prompt decision” in the case and accuse automakers of using “delay tactics in order to avoid and prevent the implementation of right to repair laws.”
“Undoubtedly, delays are an inevitable part of litigation,” they wrote. “But delay has also been an integral part of auto manufacturers’ strategy in frustrating the ongoing efforts of consumers and independent repair shops to obtain fair and equitable access to diagnostic data needed to maintain and repair vehicles.”
In April, U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock delayed a long-awaited verdict in the case for the fifth time. He cited a “demanding” criminal trial schedule, the resumption of “long delayed in-court non-trial proceedings” and other responsibilities for the delays.
AUTOMAKERS ALREADY TRYING TO OVERTURN LAW VIA PENDING FEDERAL LAWSUIT, DESPITE 75% OF THEIR CUSTOMERS VOTING FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION MEASURE AT BALLOT IN 2020
Boston---The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition today issued the following statement in opposition to HB365 and HB4000, two bills filed in the Massachusetts Legislature that would amend the automotive Right to Repair law despite it being approved overwhelmingly by voters in November of 2020:
“After spending $26 million only to be resoundingly defeated at the ballot box, the big automakers and dealers still don’t get it. Massachusetts consumers have spoken, and the law now gives them the right to control their own repair data so that they can get their car fixed where they want. However, instead of listening to their customers and attempting to comply with the ballot initiative, automakers and dealers filed a baseless, anti-democratic lawsuit. Now, they are again trying to thwart the will of the voters and “kick the can down road” by using the Legislature to delay the law’s deadlines. We hope and expect that the Legislature will honor the will of their constituents, who voted by a 75% majority for Right to Repair.”
By - Brian Johnson
I’ve been in the business of fixing cars for more than 40 years. Same city, same street, and have customers that have been coming to me for decades, mainly because they trust me.
But that could soon change if the current Right to Repair law isn’t updated. That’s because as of this year, 90% of new cars will be equipped to transmit mechanical information wirelessly and directly to the dealers, bypassing us and shutting out independent car repair shops from being able to access the information we need in order to fix your car.
Advancements in technology are good, no doubt. But let’s be very clear, car manufacturers have one goal here, and one goal only — to steer you to their dealerships where you will pay more for the services…
"If Question 1 passes? It would update the 2013 (Right to Repair) law to include language that would require automakers to share that wireless data. They’d have to make an app that would let vehicle owners and mechanics access mechanical data.”
“The concern is that at some point in the future that vehicle data will only be transmitted wirelessly so independent mechanics won’t be able to fix your car without Question 1.”
We fixed it with Right to Repair in 2012. Car manufacturers were required to provide access through a data port we could plug our wire into so that we could repair your car, providing you many choices on where to get service. We thought this fight was over. But now, with new WiFi technology, these car manufacturers are once again trying to keep repair data away from you and the local repair shops you might choose through a loophole.
Car manufacturers are including technology called telematics into new cars. If you have purchased a new car in the last few years its very likely you already have this technology installed. These systems send repair and diagnostic information wirelessly from your car directly back to the manufacturer. If independent repair shops like mine aren’t able to get access to this information the consumers won’t be able to shop around and will have no choice but to take their car to the dealership for repairs.
Independent repair businesses in Massachusetts aren’t able to compete with giant car manufacturers. We need fair access to diagnostic and repair data and so do you — it’s what we all voted for in 2012