Does 'Right to Repair' apply to powersports dealers?

Publish Date: 
Oct 22, 2012

BOSTON, Mass. – A ballot question that would force OEMs to share repair information with independent shops is causing confusion in Massachusetts, where legislators reached a compromise bill but too late to have the question removed from the fall ballot.

But that may be good news for powersports dealers, many of whom said the compromise left them out. The Massachusetts Motorcycle Association, an original member of the Right to Repair Coalition, this week endorsed the ballot question.

After the Legislature passed a compromise bill and Gov. Deval Patrick signed it in July, the commission, which backed ballot Question 1, has abruptly reversed course, announcing it will now urge passage of Question 1 anyway, according to the Newburyport News.

Automakers will keep up their ad campaign urging voters to skip the ballot question Nov. 6. But if they don’t, legislators could have to reconcile the two laws.

The “Right to Repair” bill requires that garage owners have access to computer codes and information for vehicle diagnostics. OEMs are reluctant to give up information that tends to give dealer service departments an advantage over independents. Indies argue that keeps dealership service prices artificially high.

Both the ballot question and the compromise law stipulate that repair information must be made available to independent repairers starting when the law takes effect.

If the ballot question passes, some of the differences the Legislature will have to sift through include a provision in the compromise that gave auto manufacturers until model year 2018, instead of the ballot question’s 2015, to comply with standardized diagnostic tool requirements.

EIther way, Massachusetts is the first state to enact a Right to Repair law, although many states have discussed them.

Posted by Holly Wagner