Unless current law is updated, Massachusetts residents will increasingly lose the ability to take their cars to independent repair shops and be forced to pay more at dealerships, the head of the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition told members of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce at its Executive Breakfast Forum.

In 2012 Massachusetts voted 86 percent for right to repair law, but automakers are now using wireless technologies to transmit repair and diagnostic information directly to manufacturers, cutting out car owners and the independent repair shops many rely on for service.

“Car manufacturers are taking advantage of this wireless loophole to keep independent car repairers from accessing diagnostic information they need to fix cars,” said Tommy Hickey, Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition Director. “In 2012 voters overwhelmingly voted in support of having the choice of where to take their cars for repairs. That right should be protected. If this law is not updated, consumers will start to lose their choice and be forced by automakers towards more expensive automaker authorized repair options.”

As of this year, more than 90 percent of new cars are now equipped to transmit diagnostic and repair information wirelessly to vehicle manufacturers.

“This threatens the rights of our customers to shop around for the best deal,” said Leo Malo from Advanced Technologies repair shop in Gloucester, who attended the forum. “They won’t be happy if they have to pay more for repairs, and it also hurts small businesses like ours.  We need the Legislature to update Right to Repair.”

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition supports HB4122 filed by Representative Paul McMurtry and cosponsored by more than 70 other legislators to update the Commonwealth’s Right to Repair law.  The legislation would ensure that drivers have access to repair information but it has not advanced on Beacon Hill.

The Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition is a group of Massachusetts independent repair shops, local auto parts stores, trade associations, consumers, and drivers interested in making sure car owners have access to the repair and diagnostic information produced by the vehicle they own, now has more than 2,000 members statewide. Members of the Coalition also include the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of Massachusetts (AASP-MA) and the New England Tire and Service Association (NETSA).

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