The Maine Secretary of State recently approved a petition for independent auto repair shops and parts stores to collect signatures to get a Right To Repair petition added to the 2023 ballot. In June, the New York state assembly unanimously voted for a Digital Fair Repair Act for the state of New York to be approved by the Governor.
We already have the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act providing consumer warranty protection if they choose to have their vehicle’s maintenance services performed outside of a dealership facility — so why do we need additional laws?
These state initiatives address a new issue we didn’t have to deal with when Magnuson-Moss was passed — telematics. Vehicle telematics features range from GPS and emergency assistance to news alerts and even streaming media directly to your car’s stereo. However, vehicle diagnostics is the feature that is creating these legal actions. Many modern vehicles have built-in systems that send valuable diagnostic information directly to the owner, the manufacturers, and even the dealership the vehicle was bought from. However, that same information is not being sent to the customer’s preferred service provider; that is why these laws are gaining traction.
How would your shop and your customers benefit if you had access to this same information?
Here are a few benefits to consider:
- Ability to identify a problem before it becomes an expensive repair issue.
- Providing technicians with information necessary to diagnose a problem even before the vehicle arrives.
- Service Advisors can proactively contact customers to help them set up appointments based on what the telematics tell them the severity of the issue may be.
Does Your State Need Its Own Right To Repair Law?
It depends. Several states are waiting to see if the FTC will act on this since there are several pending lawsuits implying that this is already law. Other states feel telematics is not automatically part of the federal law and don’t feel confident that manufacturers will honor their promise to share the data.
What Can You Do? Get involved.
Being a member of industry organizations that provide you with the opportunity to add your voice to thousands of others has power. Many organizations are working on these issues, including the Automotive Service Association, which has individual state branches and the national branch.
Non-ATI members: At ATI, we work hard to keep our members informed of best practices as technology changes. Curious about what we can do to help you and your shop grow, increase profits, and be the best in your area? Get started with one of our shop owner events.