The CAR (Consumer Access to Repair) Coalition, a group of independent automotive parts and repair companies, associations, and insurers committed to preserving consumer choice and affordable vehicle repair, is commending a bipartisan letter from 28 state attorneys general urging lawmakers to approve bipartisan legislation protecting consumer rights in the post-collision auto repair market. Specifically, the attorneys general are urging key members of Congress to advance the SMART and REPAIR Acts, which have recently been reintroduced in the 118th Congress.
“We applaud the bipartisan group of attorneys general for urging Congress to pass commonsense right to repair legislation, like the recently reintroduced SMART and REPAIR Acts,” Justin Rzepka, coalition executive director of CAR, said. “These attorneys general, as chief consumer protection and antitrust enforcers, are well aware of the pressure of rising prices on the people in their states. Swift federal legislation is critical to protecting consumers’ right to repair the products they purchase – restoring choice to the repair process, increasing competition, and lowering costs.”
The letter states in part: “The Right-to-Repair is a bipartisan issue that impacts every consumer, household, and farm in a time of increasing inflation. It is about ensuring that consumers have choices as to who, where, when and at what cost their vehicles can be repaired. It is about ensuring small automobile businesses and “mom-and-pop” auto shops can remain competitive against a closed system favored by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”
The “Save Money on Auto Repair Transportation SMART Act” (H.R. 1707) will put an end to automakers’ unfair use of patents by reducing from 15 years to 2.5 years the time that automakers can enforce design patents against alternative parts manufacturers on collision repair parts, including common parts like side mirrors, quarter panels, and bumpers, the CAR Coalition says. The “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (REPAIR) Act” (H.R. 906), will ensure consumers have access to their car’s data and the repair tools needed to maintain modern cars, the CAR Coalition says.
The introduction of the SMART and REPAIR Acts builds on growing momentum for consumer protections in the post-collision repair market, including endorsements from The White House and Federal Trade Commission, along with an unprecedented show of support from federal lawmakers in the FY2023 government funding package and spotlights at two congressional hearings, the CAR Coalition says. According to recent research from the CAR Coalition and DePaul University College of Law, anti-competitive practices from automakers cost American consumers more than $1.5 billion per year in higher auto repairs.