Aftermarket

Right To Repair Update

July 2013, TruckingInfo.com - WebXclusive

by Denise Rondini, Aftermarket Editor - Also by this author

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It looks like there is some movement regarding the nation's first state "Right to Repair" law, but it may not be the best news for heavy truck owners.

The Massachusetts state legislature passed the nation's first "Right to Repair" law last summer, but it excluded vehicles over 10,000 pounds. However, in November, state voters overwhelmingly approved a different version of the law, which includes all motor vehicles sold in the state.

The Massachusetts state legislature has introduced another bill to try to reconcile the two different version of Right to Repair currently on the books.

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The law as passed on the ballot essentially requires a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in Massachusetts to sell vehicle owners and in-state independent repair facilities the same diagnostic and repair information and tools that the manufacturer sells to dealers and other in-state authorized repair facilities. The big difference was that the previous compromise reached in the legislature did not include larger vehicles, although there were some other differences as well.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 23 to consider the new bill, and it's possible there could be a vote on the new bill sometime before the end of July, says Aaron Lowe, vice president of government affairs for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association.

Unfortunately, the bill currently before the Massachusetts state legislature does not include heavy-duty vehicles.

While not commenting specifically on this piece of legislation, Marc Karon, president of the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network and president of Total Truck Parts, says he has visited with federal lawmakers, and "The common denominator for action by legislators is when the electorate cares about the issue. 

The reluctance of so many of the businesses and fleets in our industry to get engaged leads legislators to believe that this is not an important issue.”

Karon says people in the heavy-duty aftermarket need to contact their local state officials and their federal legislators and let them know of the negative impact the limited access to information is having on their businesses. 

“They should note the number of people (voters) in their company who are being indirectly affected by this issue. They should contact their customers and explain how their prices will increase and services will be delayed when access to information results in limited places to get service. Everyone in the commercial vehicle aftermarket is going to be negatively affected except dealers if the access to repair information is denied to everyone except dealers.”

Because of its strong belief in the need for access to information, CVSN formed the Commercial Vehicle Right To Repair Coalition. HDA Truck Pride, Heavy Duty Representatives Association, International Truck Parts Association, Heavy Vehicle Maintenance Institute, Power Heavy Duty, Service Specialists Association, Truck-frame & Axle Association and VIPAR Heavy Duty have joined in the effort. The group has hired a lobbyist and is hoping to work out a solution with commercial vehicle manufacturers.

“We do not love legislation. We are all independent businesspeople, and legislation never seems to be perfect,” Karon says. “The perfect solution would be to sit down and look at what the issues are and find a solution that works for everyone.”

Lowe says AAIA currently is also speaking with vehicle manufacturers on the Right to Repair issue. “What comes out of Massachusetts could be very important to how those discussions unfold; the national agreement could depend on what Massachusetts approves in July.”

He adds, “We are pushing for a national agreement on the Right to Repair. We want to get the issue settled in Massachusetts so we can move forward. If we don’t have an agreement in July from the manufacturers we will be looking at other states to move forward with. But our hope is to have a national agreement.”

CVSN also is inviting truck manufacturers to meet with the coalition to begin a dialogue on the subject. “We know there is going to have to be some training required because everybody is not going to be able to take the information they are given and run with it. They will need to know how to use it,” Karon explains.

“There also is going to have to be some cost because there are engineering and development costs that manufacturers have put in place. This is their information and they have to recoup some value for that information, but the cost should be the same as that paid by the dealers. We are not looking for everything for free.

“Our goal is to develop a fair and level playing field so that all the parties are protected, that safety is paramount and where we can move on and earn business by being able to provide the best level of service at the most competitive price,” Karon adds.

Karon says he recently received a call from an independent service shop in the Northeast who lost a big new customer because the first truck the customer sent to be repaired needed a reset to the computer that could only be carried out by the dealer.  “This is happening every day, and the only way we are going to reverse it s to bring pressure on legislators with our letters and emails.”

He encourages repair garages and parts distributors – who he believes are beginning to realize their businesses will be impacted if information is not given to repair garages – to join one of the groups supporting the right to repair effort for commercial vehicles.

Lowe says AAIA currently is also speaking with vehicle manufacturers on the Right to Repair issue. “What comes out of Massachusetts could be very important to how those discussions unfold; the national agreement could depend on what Massachusetts approves in July.”

He adds, “We are pushing for a national agreement on the Right to Repair. We want to get the issue settled in Massachusetts so we can move forward. If we don’t have an agreement in July from the manufacturers we will be looking at other states to move forward with. But our hope is to have a national agreement.”

More information about Right to Repair can be found on the CVSN website at www.cvsn.org.

Related story: Massachusetts Votes in Right to Repair; Truck, Engine Makers Say it's a Bad Fit 

Comments

  1. 1. jab8283 [ July 17, 2013 @ 03:15PM ]

    I'm sorry but this story has me scratching my head. I am an owner-operator and chief mechanic and service tech. The only thing I don't do here at house is change oil, tires, and heavy engine work. Everything else I do myself. I have the same access to parts and tools to perform the same services that the dealers can do. Dealers and repair shops have made their services to expensive for the majority of truck owners. I bust my butt doing my job but I don't get $110 per hour. I took my truck to an undisclosed shop for A/C repair but what they don't know is my truck is equipped with video cameras which secretly recorded everything they did and was I shocked at what the employee tech's weren't doing, and that is working on trucks. One employee had a huge cup of coffee always in his hand, others spent more time loosely wondering about the shop as if they forgot why they are there and what they were hired to do. Another tech spent more time in the bathroom than in the shop. Just BS, nobody doing anything, sitting around talking and not working and they are charging $110 per hour, every hour. Just ain't right. That is why I do most of my own work.

 

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