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Tuesday October 5

Car Companies Warned at Congressional Hearing on Right to Repair Act

Car companies were warned by the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, that they need to do a better job providing service information to the independent repair industry or face legislation. The stern warning came during a hearing on the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair legislation (H.R. 2735) by the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection of House Energy and Commerce on Wednesday, Sept. 22. H.R. 2735 would require that car companies share all service information and tools with the independent aftermarket in order to ensure competition in the vehicle repair industry.

Ranking minority member Rep. Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill., also took serious issue with the car company assertion that the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) was capable of resolving aftermarket service information concerns. Rep. Schakowsky pointed to the testimony of Bill Haas of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) that the average time for NASTF to respond to aftermarket complaints was 15 days and wondered whether the motoring public would want to wait that long to have their vehicle repaired.

Lynne Cardwell, an AAIA and Automotive Service Councils of California member, also testified at the hearing regarding the need for information to be affordably available to independent shops such as hers.

"We lose our customers' confidence every time we have to admit we don't have repair information for their vehicles and we need to send them to the new car dealer," Cardwell said.

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