United States Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) introduced the “Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair (Repair) Act.” Rush says the legislation will ensure the preservation of consumer choice, a fair marketplace and the continued safe operation of the nation’s 288 million registered passenger and commercial motor vehicles, 70% of which are maintained by independent repair facilities, according to the Auto Care Association.
According to Bush, the Repair Act will tackle issues like preserving consumer access to high-quality and affordable vehicle repair by ensuring that vehicle owners and their repairers of choice have access to necessary repair and maintenance tools and data as vehicles continue to become more advanced.
Bush says these barriers limit consumer choice in where to repair their motor vehicles and increase the cost to repair and maintain vehicles. The Repair Act aims to reduce these barriers, putting consumers’ interests first, the association says.
The bill has been introduced on the heels of three pivotal moments for consumer choice in repair. In November 2020, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly voiced their support for Ballot Question 1 (also known as Right to Repair) with 75% of the vote, which preserves their right as vehicle owners to have access to and control of their vehicle’s mechanical data necessary for service and repair at the shops of their choice.
In May 2021, the FTC released its Nixing the Fix report which highlighted barriers that vehicle manufacturers have instituted to squash a consumer’s right to repair. The FTC strongly supports expanding consumer repair options and found “scant evidence” for repair restrictions imposed by original equipment manufacturers. And in July 2021, President Biden issued the “Promoting Competition in the American Economy” executive order which encouraged the FTC to address anti-competitive repair restrictions.