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Joe Marconi

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Highlights from the NY State Public Hearing on the Right to Repair Act


On Wednesday June 9, 2010 I gave testimony at the NY State Public Hearing in support of the Right to Repair Act. It was a very interesting day and a lot was said, both for and against this bill. The public hearing lasted over four hours, so I will summarize some of the highlights for everyone. It is interesting to note how vehemently the opposition is fighting this bill.


I felt some the comments of those who opposed the bill were at times insulting with respect to the aftermarket. Some questioned the integrity of our work and inferred that the work we do may be somewhat inferior to that of the new car dealers. Also, some opponents question the parts we use, as possibly inferior. Luckily, my turn to testify was after many of the opponents, so I loaded my gun and gave it to them, both Barrels!


I told the panel of assemblymen that the comments being spoken here are insulting and I am outraged by these comments. I went on to tell them that we, the aftermarket are the preferred choice of the motoring public, not the new car dealers. I also told them that the aftermarket solves many of the factory mistakes, such as Ford Explorer ball joints and Chevy Silverado control arms. All we want is a fair and level playing field. We are asking the car makers to make available all the information and tools necessary to fix the cars “they” made. Also, car makers should not build systems that force the consumer to go back to the dealer. The right of the people to choose to where they get their car fixed should be theirs, not the automaker.


For those of you that may be members of the ASA (Automotive Service Association), they are against the Right to Repair act. Don Seyfer was there to represent the ASA. His position, like all those who oppose the bill, is that all the information and tools are already available to us and there is absolutely no reason to proceed with this bill. Don Seyfer cited “Lack of training” and “Not knowing how to obtain the information” as the primary reason why independent shops hit road blocks and can’t complete a repair.


There were only four independent repair shops testifying. However, we made a great presentation and one Assemblyman; Michael G. Dendekker, actually told the audience that before hearing from the 4 independent repair shop owners, he was not in favor of the bill. But, after hearing the testimony from the 4 shop owners, he now understands why we want the Right to Repair Act. He stated that the 4 shop owners made the most powerful argument of the day.


Much was said that day, and I am not sure what the outcome will be. My fear is that the car manufacturers, the new car dealers, the new car dealer associations and the auto workers unions are a powerful group and they comprise a lot of voting power. But the aftermarket is a powerful group too. We need the support of all segments of the aftermarket; from independent repair shops to aftermarket part companies to aftermarket franchises.


One last thing, The Right to Repair Act is something that I support. I don’t know your position on it. I feel passionate about it because of the increasing challenges we must endure to properly and safely repair our customer’s cars. Also, it is clear to me that the systems and the design of new cars are an attempt to lock out not only us, but the consumer from his own car.


Tell me how you feel; for or against and why.

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