Massachusetts Right to Repair Law Left Senate

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
massachusetts right to repair law left senate

The Right to Repair law winds its way through the Massachusetts legislature. The law was approved in the Senate last week, says the AP via Businessweek The law now heads to the House of Representatives. If that sounds like deja vu to you, then your memory is excellent.

The bill previously passed the Senate in 2010, but failed to come up in the House. A nationwide bill lingers somewhere in Washington , where it has been sent back to committee.

The Massachusetts law would require auto manufacturers that sell cars in the state to provide access to their diagnostic and repair information system through a universal software system that can be accessed by dealers and independent repairs shops, starting in 2015.

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  • Djn Djn on May 20, 2012

    My 91 Alfa uses a code method invented by Marconi....flashing lights.

    • CRConrad CRConrad on May 22, 2012

      Marconi invented radio. Flashing lights is a bit older than that... Signal bonfires predate written history.

  • Its me Dave Its me Dave on May 20, 2012

    I couldn't help but remember the Duntov memo and the benefits of crowdsourcing. Sure wish the car companies would."

  • Yoss Yoss on May 21, 2012

    I know it's a defeatist attitude on my part, but whether this law passes or not, the industry will continue to move toward an ever-tightening corporate grip on consumer products. It's a similar situation with music, movies, video games — even the printed word. Having a tangible sense of ownership is going out of style. Everything is out there in the "cloud." Businesses are pushing it because they want control of the revenue stream and people are lapping it up for the sake of convenience. We, the people that look at vehicles as more than point A to point B appliances and accessories, are in the minority. Or if not hardcore auto enthusiasts — we're simply practical people that don't mind getting our hands dirty. We are the minority. The cold-blooded bean counters know that. They'll put their focus on the majority that simply do not care how or where the vehicle is serviced. They'll just drop it off like they're told and pay their fee. The rest of us will be dragged along kicking and screaming and make do as best we can with the scraps.

  • NMGOM NMGOM on May 22, 2012

    To "aristurtle".... Very good points. And I'd like to elaborate on one in particular: 1) You said, "What this comes down to, NMGOM, is whether or not you really own the car that you purchase. You said “Fiddling with a product is at the discretion of the manufacturer”. I can’t think of anything more horrifying. If you can’t “fiddle with a product”, you are de facto renting that product, not purchasing and owning it." This is indeed really worth exploring. "Ownership" of something comprises (perhaps among other things): ...a) Possession ...b) Control ...c) Documentation Now, if you "buy" a new vehicle by financing, you only THINK it's yours. You only THINK you "own" it, but that may be an illusion. You certainly can put it in your garage at night. But Possession may actually belong to the bank. You do have some ability to Control the vehicle, but the manufacturer's warranty prevents you from intrusive "fiddling", or, for any repairs you will bear the cost. And Documentation attesting to ownership won't come until you have paid off your loan! So do you really own it? Miss one car payment and watch what happens! As you mentioned, this is very much like renting, or it's not that different from a car lease agreement. It would seem that the only time you have real "ownership" is if you bought a CPO vehicle beyond its warranty period, and paid cash for it. Then you may really meet all three criteria of Possession, Control, and Documentation. (And even then, if you find some magical way to access BMW's proprietary software above and beyond their OBDII standards, and sell it on the open market, make sure you have a bloody good attorney!) ----------------