Massachusetts to Enforce Right to Repair

Massachusetts began enforcing its Right to Repair law on June 1. The state law, passed with overwhelming support by voter referendum in 2020, had been stymied ever since by federal litigation brought by an automaker-backed group.

Massachusetts State House.

In a recent court filing, Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell announced the enforcement date saying “Consumers and independent repair shops deserve to know whether they will receive access to vehicle repair data in the manner provided by the law. Auto manufacturers and dealers need to understand their obligations under the law and take action to achieve compliance.”

The state decided to begin enforcement even though there is still no ruling in the litigation. However, the federal judge hearing the case recently blocked an effort by the plaintiffs to prevent the state from finally enforcing the law.

The 2020 initiative required 2022 model year cars and later that are sold in Massachusetts and utilize a telematics system to have an interoperable, standardized, and open access platform. That platform will inform car buyers, and their chosen repair shop, through a mobile application, of the data collected by the vehicle.

Right to Repair proponents sought to ensure that independent auto shops have access to a vehicle’s telematics system and close what they saw as a legal loophole in a 2012 state law, also passed by voter initiative, brought about by changing technology. The Auto Glass Safety Council was part of the large coalition supporting the initiative for fear that consumer safety could be jeopardized if auto glass service shops did not have access to a vehicle’s essential telematics information prevalent in late model vehicles.

Opponents argued that the law opened the door to cyberattacks, could expose personal information to criminals and were not given sufficient time to comply. They filed suit alleging the state law was pre-empted by federal statute. Some carmakers have said that compliance with the law was impossible.

Tommy Hickey, director of the Right to Repair Coalition in Massachusetts, previously told glassBYTEs that his group was “very disappointed the manufacturers have chosen profits over customers in bringing the litigation after the initiative was approved by 75% of the voters.”

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