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Thursday September 2

AASP/NJ Meets with Congressman about Right-to-Repair

The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), the state’s largest association of collision and mechanical repairers, held a town meeting on August 23rd with United States Congressman Michael A. Ferguson (NJ-7th District). The event, held at AASP/NJ member Rick Allen’s Auto Repair in Hampton, NJ, was scheduled specifically to address the industry’s crucial Right-To-Repair legislation.

Congressman Ferguson was met by close to 40 attendees including AASP/NJ members as well as several other organization representatives and consumers.

After a brief explanation and introduction by AASP/NJ President Bob Everett and Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association’s Aaron Lowe, Congressman Ferguson met the Right-To-Repair issue head on.

“First of all, I think this legislation makes a lot of sense not only to the repair industry but maybe even more so to the consumer,” Ferguson said. “As a Congressman from New Jersey, I do quite a bit of traveling back and forth to Washington D.C. Just a few weeks ago, my family had our car all loaded and ready to make the four-hour trip when the ‘Check Engine’ light appeared on my dashboard. Of course, my first thought was ‘Is this serious or do I just need a tune-up?’ So I brought the car around the corner to our family service station to find out what the problem was. Now, I love my car dealer, but if I had to bring the vehicle there every time there was a problem, it would be awfully frustrating. I think that is the heart of this legislation. Consumers like to use the guy around the corner. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable.

“With this legislation, the consumer won’t have to exclusively depend on the dealership. The local service shop will have access to the information that will them to service and maintenance the vehicle properly. Hopefully we can move forward with it in the House. It has my support and I hope to possibly co-sponsor the bill as well.”

Ferguson warned that there is serious opposition to the bill, particularly from Congressman John Dingle of Michigan, who has close ties to vehicle manufacturers.

“Hopefully, we can overcome that and schedule hearings on the issue in the fall,” he said. “Again, this makes sense for you and the consumer. I have been there. I have been frustrated. It is something that needs to be done.”

“I thought it went very well,” AASP/NJ’s Everett said. “We had almost 40 people in attendance, representing a wide cross section of the voting public, from mechanical shops, collision shops, part stores, consumers and our representatives. The Congressman seemed to have a good understanding of the issue. He stopped short of committing to co sponsoring the bill, but I felt he left that door open. Everyone in the industry should follow up by contacting Congressman Ferguson as well as there own representatives across the country to encourage continued support for the Right-To-Repair bill.”

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