Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have recently introduced legislation that seeks to level the playing field for independent repair providers, including for motor vehicle repair shops.
U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently introduced the Fair Repair Act of 2022, bipartisan legislation that seeks to ensure that manufacturers do not lock out owners and independent service providers from providing repairs by denying access to parts, tools, and documentation. The Fair Repair Act would require manufacturers of electronic equipment to make the same tools, parts, and documentation available to owners and independent repair providers, covering a variety of industries such as agricultural equipment, consumer electronics, medical equipment, and motor vehicles.
Similarly, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a senior member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduced the Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act (H.R. 6570). This legislation would ensure that vehicle owners and independent repair shops have equal access to repair and maintenance tools and data as car companies and licensed dealerships.
Vehicle makers have long argued that they shouldn’t have to share proprietary performance information. For independent repair shops – many of which are operated by NATSO members – this practice makes for an unfair marketplace.
Although industry advocates for years have pushed for the right to repair, the issue gained momentum in 2021, when President Biden issued a sweeping Executive Order directing federal regulatory agencies to take a variety of steps that would fundamentally alter the government's regulation of businesses' competitive practices.
Specifically, the order directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.”
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