Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 8/03/2010 11:56:00 AM

Massachusetts Right to Repair Act Has Trade Secrets Monkeywrench Thrown At It

By Todd

The Boston Globe is reporting that a piece of legislation requiring auto manufacturers to give independent mechanics the same diagnostic codes offered to mechanics at dealerships has hit a roadblock.

The Massachusetts Senate passed a version of the bill in the spring, but the Massachusetts House failed to take any action on the measure before the session ended Saturday. If the bill had passed, Massachusetts would have become the first state in the country with such a law.

The world’s largest auto manufacturers opposed the bill, saying it would have unfairly required them to give away trade secrets to manufacturers who would create and sell generic parts for less. The manufacturers also say the repair information in dispute is already available to independent mechanics willing to buy it.

The Right to Repair issue was one of the most contentious on Beacon Hill — and one of the most expensive. Opponents and proponents spent a total of $1.3 million on lobbyists and advertising this year in an attempt to sway votes.

Supporters pointed to endorsements from AAA and a variety of consumer groups that said the bill would allow for increased competition between dealerships and independent mechanics, benefiting consumers, who tend to pay more for repairs at dealerships.


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