Auto Service World
News   May 6, 2005   by Auto Service World

U.S. News: Right to Repair Act Reintroduced to Congress


The Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act with compelling new language clarifying the Federal Trade
Commission’s (FTC) role and car company trade secrets was reintroduced to Congress on May 3 by the legislation’s sponsor Rep. Joe Barton, (R-Texas), according to the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
(AAIA).
“Early introduction of the legislation in the 109th Congress reflects a sense of growing support within the aftermarket industry and on Capitol Hill,” said Kathleen Schmatz, AAIA president and CEO. “Rep. Barton expressed optimism that the bill would pass this session when he
addressed aftermarket businessmen at the recent AAIA Aftermarket Legislative Summit.”
The legislation would require that the car companies make the same service information and tools capabilities available to independents that they provide their franchised dealer network. Architects of the Right to Repair Act added new language to clarify that car company trade secrets are protected unless that information is provided to the franchised new car dealer. New language also provides more detail on the role of the FTC in enforcing the legislation.
“The bill was never intended to steal the car company proprietary information, as opponents continually allege, however the language changes should help provide the car companies with the confidence that they will only be required to provide the information and tool capabilities that they had committed to in their September 2001 letter
to Congress,” Schmatz said. “Passage of this legislation will ensure that the car company promises to make information available are actual commitments over the long term.”
“There never has been a better opportunity to pass this legislation than during the 109th Congress,” said Aaron Lowe, AAIA vice president of government affairs. “In the last Congress we succeeded in signing 118 cosponsors and received a very favorable hearing by the Commerce, Trade
and Consumer Protection Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce.”


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