New Jersey Assembly Passes Right to Repair Act But Opponents Continue Disinformation Campaign, States CARE

Nov 10, 2008, 17:54 ET from Coalition for Auto Repair Equality

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- October 27, 2008, the New Jersey Assembly approved The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, A-803, by a more than two to one (2 to 1) margin. The pro-consumer, pro-competition bill had passed the Assembly's Consumer Affairs Committee on October 23, 2008, clearing the way for floor action.

But, the opposition, which is comprised of mainly the big car companies, new car dealerships and the Automotive Service Association (ASA), which is part of the car company coalition and the ONLY aftermarket association to break away from the aftermarket on The Right to Repair, continues their DISINFORMATION campaign. Following the New Jersey Assembly's passage of The Right to Repair Act, ASA conducted a DISINFORMATION campaign by disseminating a press release with absolutely misleading, inaccurate and wrong information. In response, CARE is disseminating a "truth in advertising" paper listing some of the ASA's BUNK, along with the answers that DEBUNK its claims.

BUNK # 1: ASA's October 28, 2008, press release, the morning after the New Jersey Assembly passed The Right to Repair Act, stated that the "New Jersey Senate will now consider the 'so-called' Right to Repair Act."

DEBUNKED: It's NOT a 'so-called' Right to Repair Act because it ACTUALLY allows consumers to choose where they have their vehicles repaired and it allows the aftermarket, UNIMPEDED, to fully repair vehicles.

BUNK # 2: The New Jersey legislature has previously rejected The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act, as did the U.S. Congress, Massachusetts and several other states.

DEBUNKED: The New Jersey Consumer Affairs Committee UNANIMOUSLY passed, in a bi-partisan vote, The Right to Repair Act, over a year ago. It didn't go to a floor vote due to the New Jersey legislature's budget legislation priorities, which were debated for several months. In order for the New Jersey legislature to have rejected The Right to Repair Act, it would have had to vote on it, and it didn't get the chance because of the budget issues. Therefore, THE BILL WAS NEVER REJECTED! Congress NEVER rejected The Right to Repair Act either. The only vote the bill had in Congress was in the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and it PASSED.

BUNK # 3: ASA's president, Ron Pyle, said the Right to Repair Act will cause New Jersey consumers to see an increase in vehicle costs.

DEBUNKED: How ridiculous. The Right to Repair Act actually allows the independent repair industry to fully compete with wealthy new car dealerships and to eliminate the car dealerships' monopoly on auto repairs. IT'S CONSUMER CHOICE AT ITS BEST. Competition always keeps products affordable and improving. But, if the independent repair shops close their doors, there won't be even a small alternative to the big, new car dealerships repair prices.

And, with many new car dealerships closing their doors because of car company short-sightedness, consumers will not even have new car dealerships for repairs. That means NO independents and then not even the higher priced new car dealerships. The ONLY costs that consumers will incur will be in driving less fuel efficient and less safe vehicles.

BUNK # 4: Charles Territo, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (the big car companies' association), said, "If this were a Halloween contest, this bill would have won best costume because this (bill) is nothing more than a BIG PARTS MANUFACTURER 'BAILOUT' BILL MASQUERADING AS A CONSUMER REPAIR BILL.

DEBUNKED: It's the car companies who are asking the government to bail them out to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars because of their years of short-sightedness. The automotive aftermarket has never asked for a government bail out. The Right to Repair Act is NOT a "parts" bill, BUT IT IS DEFINITELY A CONSUMER CHOICE BILL.

The car companies and the aftermarket both have their parts manufactured at many of the SAME COMPANIES! So, who is REALLY getting bailed out? As usual, it's the car companies. Remember Chrysler? Anytime consumers can choose their products, their repairs and where and by whom to spend their money -- It's Consumer Choice!

BUNK # 5: Automakers currently provide the aftermarket with the same tools, training and service information as they do their car dealership franchises.

DEBUNKED: Independent technicians invest many thousands of dollars in tools. When they receive the tools, they are either outdated or missing information. When the technicians contact the car companies, they're told they can't have the information. So, the independent technicians are many times stuck with expensive, worthless tools. It's like buying Junk Bonds!

BUNK # 6: This is a problem looking for a solution.

DEBUNKED: Since the repair problems exist and are growing, all they have to do is pull into any independent repair shop or consumer's driveway and find the problems. THEN, THEY CAN AGREE TO THE SOLUTION -- THE RIGHT TO REPAIR ACT.

If ASA's claims are correct that all of the repair information is available, then why did a 2006 nationwide survey of 800 randomly selected repair shops show that 87 percent of the ASA respondents stated overwhelming support for The Right to Repair Act? Why? Because a majority of all respondents (52 percent) have had problems getting access to repair information or needed tools necessary for repairs.

BUNK # 7: There is a "Voluntary Agreement" among the car companies and the aftermarket.

DEBUNKED: This is the Mother of All Bunk! There is NO Voluntary Agreement among the car companies and the aftermarket. There is ONLY a letter of "Intent" signed by association representatives of the car company trade associations and the break away ASA. The letter of "Intent" is signed by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the International Automobile Manufacturers and ASA. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers represents only about 80 percent of the car companies, which means the other 20 percent can thumb its noses at the consumers and aftermarket. No other aftermarket association or trade groups signed the letter of "Intent."

BUNK # 8: The New Jersey Right to Repair Act creates a Regulatory Agency.

DEBUNKED: The New Jersey agency that will have oversight, ALREADY EXISTS. It's the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

BUNK # 9: Aftermarket parts are manufactured in China.

DEBUNKED: The car companies' parts and the aftermarket BOTH have parts manufactured in China. Charles Stanton, former spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, stated in the 2006 hearing, "Yes. The car companies have parts made in China, because we're always looking for the best parts at the best prices."

BUNK # 10: Car companies and ASA state that the aftermarket, through The

Right to Repair Act, will reverse engineer their parts and will thus

violate their proprietary information.

DEBUNKED: The Right to Repair Act is a REPAIR BILL and contains language that PROTECTS the car companies' intellectual property. In addition, the aftermarket has been reverse engineering parts for 100 years and there is NO known reported incidence of any violations of car companies' proprietary information.

BUNK # 11: The National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) is available to help aftermarket technicians with all of their repair questions and needs.

DEBUNKED: NASTF was founded, is funded and monitored, by the car companies. It's a clearinghouse that is supposedly able to answer and resolve the aftermarket technicians' repair problems. In theory, it sounds good, but it hasn't worked. Aftermarket technicians pay a fee and log onto the NASTF site. The aftermarket technicians are asked if they are "aftermarket" or car dealership. If aftermarket, the technicians are placed into a site other than the one the car dealership technicians use. So, the aftermarket technicians are NOT receiving the same or as much information as the car dealership technicians.

After navigating the NASTF site for hours and sometimes days, the aftermarket technicians do not receive the final piece of information to fully repair their customers' vehicles. They're told it's not available to them, AND THE AFTERMARKET TECHNICIANS DON'T RECEIVE A REFUND.

ASA's Bill Haas was asked during the recent New Jersey Consumer Affairs Committee hearing if aftermarket technicians log onto NASTF, will they receive the repair information they need. Haas said, "No. NASTF is just a facilitator."


The Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act has NEVER BEEN REJECTED in Congress or in New Jersey. All of the repair information is NOT available to the independent repair industry and consumers do NOT have an unimpeded choice of where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired.

SOURCE Coalition for Auto Repair Equality