POLL: Does The New 'Right To Repair' Law Need Fixing?

  • Comments (12)
On November 6, the new "Right to Repair" law goes into effect.
On November 6, the new "Right to Repair" law goes into effect. Photo Credit: Richard Price

There will be three ballot questions to answer on Nov. 6, but Question 1, known as “Right to Repair,” was settled by legislatures and lobbyists over the summer, signed into law and will go into effect on Election Day. So both sides are saying: skip the question.

Reader Results

How will you vote on Question 1, the Right to Repair law?

  • Yes

  • No


Or are they? AAA of Southern New England wants you to vote “yes” anyway.

For months, auto repair lobbyists, legislatures and automobile manufacturers battled over the right for small auto repair shops to have access to the same computer data that repair shops and dealerships enjoy. It's a big deal, experts say, because every car and truck sold is essentially a “computer on wheels.” There is keyless entry, warnings that tell you when tire pressure is low or the oil needs changing, and, of course, who can live without that fancy GPS in the dashboard? If Joe’s Garage doesn’t know the codes, they can’t service you as well.

The compromise reached and signed into law in September is the first of its kind in the country and dealers will begin sharing the data with anyone with an Internet connection—but not ownership.

That is where AAA said the compromise doesn’t go far enough. It argues that voting “yes” on Question 1 will close the loophole.

“The current legislation could give the manufacturer ownership of that information—not you,” it said on its website. “A “yes” vote advocates your ownership of all the information that your car produces—including open-access to the information necessary to have your car repaired by your trusted repair shop—and your right to choose other third-party service providers to whom you grant access.”

The largest lobby group for the passage of Question 1, Massachusetts Right to Repair Committee, said it is happy with the new law but won’t go as far to say don’t vote on it.

"Through the legislature's work, they were able to come up with a law that we're completely happy with," said Arthur W. Kinsman, the committee’s representative.

So why is the question on the ballot? Secretary of State William F. Galvin, said, "It's all a matter of timing. The constitutional provision that allows the ballot question had a deadline of July the third," and it wasn’t until 28 days later that the compromise was enacted.”

A poll conducted by Suffolk University and WHDH TV found that 79 percent were in favor of Question 1. How do you feel about the Right to Repair law? Vote in our poll and comment below.

  • 12

Comments (12)

I couldn't agree more than what this article had explained so far, as every law had it's own vulnerablities and need to be checked once again. This article had raised some key points that need to be gone under review and to be modified if possible. Thanks for the information.
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Yes, according to my point of view Right to repair law should need to be fix because there are many reasons behind this act , First of all we should what this act actually does? Promotes consumer safety by allowing owners or their automobile technicians’ access to the computers that control the systems and components that affect the safe operation of their automobiles. Then, permits owners to choose the repair shop and the replacement parts to service and maintain their vehicles. And this act also does not effect the dealer's warranty agreement with the Vehicle manufacture , simply this act does not harm . We need this right because it is safer from all side and has advantages later on model cars can only be serviced and repaired at automobile dealerships, which makes repairing around for the best prices and most convenient service locations impossible.

Really for better use of this law Right to Repair there should be some extra attempts we the owner of car should do.So there the criteria should contain the owners value of thought about the servicing center as he owns the dream car of his own dream. Most of us choosing BMW, Audi, Land Rover etc.So as to maintain these cars in a proper way we should select our own servicing point for it. Land Rover Parts Online

If you have a vehicle, whether a luxury vehicle or vehicle to carry the goods and raw materials, you need to take care of your vehicle. To take care of the vehicle, vehicle servicing is very necessary. The servicing of car, truck, bus or other transport vehicles can be easily done in a vehicle workshop or service station. It is very essential and it has to be for the vehicle operators. The vehicle servicing centers needs to be available at most of the places in the city. The automobile workshops needs be there for the vehicle repairing. It will encourage the people to have a own vehicle. The Auto industry will be benefited by this. Volvo Repair Santa Monica

Auto repair shops are very crucial for the vehicle repairing. As like the manufacturing companies the auto repairing also very very important for the vehicle users to use their vehicles when the vehicles are in any types of engine problems or other problems. The automobile service providers also needs to be more concern about the maintenance of the vehicles. So that the people prefer their vehicles in the auto market.
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I got some legal news about the new right repair law in the above article. Thanks for the information. Auto repairing service has been now an essential service taken by us usually. Thanks for the article because I’ve got some knowledgeable information here. Automobile company should maintain their goodwill by giving the customers the best reliable auto service. I hope nowadays most of companies make their reputation professionally and faithfully.

This question is not about the right to repair, because everyone has the right to choose to repair their car or not and they can take the diagnosis of their car to another repair shop to fix it. This question should be called the right to take proprietary information from vehicle computer systems that are patented and be able to use however you want. Should go to the dealership if you need a complex diagnosis and they should give you a report of their findings (for a fee since it is a service) then the customer can price out the work much like they would if they were comparing landscapers, tree removal companies, painters etc.

I agree we should all be able to get access to our own vehicles information either through our phones by having the car communicate via bluetooth to an app or something or if more complex need or diagnostic is needed, by working with a manufacturer's authorized, trained and certified specialists (professional dealerships).

It should not be that any Tom, Bill or Joes garage can completely pull all the data on my car and use that any way they see fit without any of the same privacy standards that dealerships commit to for data protection. Basic codes are one thing and these repair shops can get that data if they choose to buy the computer, software and other tools to pull the codes from the cars computer. If they choose not to pay for the tools, they dont have a right to the data unless the customer gives it to them.

What's next? Some group forcing private companies to have to be able to repair phones? i.e. being able to bring your apple iphone into a motorolla store and expect them to be able to fix it?

I will be voting against this for two reasons:
1) it was a poorly conceived ballot question that doesnt really address the problem.
2) they already agreed on a solution, so we should not interfere.

I will be supporting the Right To Repair law. There was a time about 10 years ago with my VW. Local garage could not determine what the cause was.. Codes... Or whatever. Needless to say, my hours were cut at work, my car sat useless until I was able to scrape up money for dealership fix.

So the Auto manufacturer spends millions on developing and engineering and they must share it with everyone? What a great country! This should open the door to make all companies supply all the repair information on everything they design and build.

The auto manufacturer has recourse to trade secret law, patent law, trademark, and copyright. We confer enough intellectual property law protection in this country as is.

Thank You

Thanks so much for this article. I will admit that I was very confused after hearing a commercial on the radio saying "skip question 1" and then seeing the AAA billboard on 290 encouraging the yes vote. I figured to vote on the question anyway as I would prefer my vote to be counted. I appreciate your taking the time to explain this. Funny, I have not seen or heard this info on any of the paid media outlets!