Maine is the next state that will hear the “Right to Repair” arguments, as consumers push to gain more control over the amount they pay to repair their vehicles. As consumer rights have become a hot-button issue in a variety of industries, it comes as no surprise that the legislation recently seen in Massachusetts is now finding its way to other states in the region.
Considerable support has been mustered, as the AAIA testified at the preliminary hearing in support of the bill’s passage. Countering the argument, of course, were the large auto manufacturers and the ASA. Also entering the fray are insurers such as AAA, and a bevy of repair shops in the state that recognize the importance of “options” when it comes to parts procurement.
The presence of repair shops in this argument is incredibly important. Many shops in the industry cannot compete with the dealership repair facilities, as they do not have the necessary tools or information to offer an alternative to high-cost manufacturer repairs.
Maine is using the Massachusetts “Right to Repair Act” as a model for its own legislation. All of these debates are centered on creating a national policy that limits the patent time frame on new or existing part designs. By allowing secondary manufacturers to create, test, and eventually sell alternatives to dealership parts, consumers will have the choices necessary to keep repair costs low. This dynamic can lead to a “domino effect” that impacts the insurance industry, and its costs, as well.