Monday, 05 March 2007 17:20

OKABA opposes Oklahoma Right to Repair Act

Listed below is the proposed act with the reasons for our opposition in italics. These are OKABA’s reasons for opposing. OKABA offers this report, so it is clear, OKABA’s decision is definitive.

The bill declares that Oklahoma vehicle owners should have the right to:

a) “obtain all information necessary to provide for the diagnosis, service and repair of their vehicles;    

From a consumer/repairer standpoint, the vehicle is in place via the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Tech Info tab of the OEM websites.  These websites were developed voluntarily by the OEMs. With the assistance of  SCRS, ASA, AASP and NASTF, the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) have developed the tools to access via the internet the OEM repair requirements/recommendations.  The OEMs accepted the challenge made by the Auto Body Industry, though one may need to be somewhat versed in electronic commerce to access this data, nonetheless it is available.

 b) choose between original parts and aftermarket parts when repairing their motor vehicles; and
    

How informed is the consumer when distinguishing between original parts and aftermarket parts, the difference is not just in economics. Then one must consider, the insurance policy language will trump all legislative action in this matter…unless the government is going to begin writing policy language on behalf of the insurer, this language in the bill will not have teeth.
  

c) make, or have made, repairs necessary to keep their vehicles in reasonably good and serviceable condition during the expected vehicle life.”
    

Where does this language go? Who is to determine what “in reasonably good and serviceable condition” is (potato/potato)? Will there be an addendum to this bill…A,B,C and D must be followed E,F,G and H do not have to be performed to be considered Reasonably Good and Serviceable? What recourse does the buyer of one of these autos have if the seller does not disclose E, F, G and H were not performed, or at least what the seller interpreted as E, F, G and H. Besides…the consumer already has that right.

   

The bill also states that upon request, an automotive manufacturer must “provide to the vehicle owner, to a repair facility and to the executive director [of the Oklahoma Motor Vehicle Commission] for use by any vehicle owner or repair facility, the information necessary to diagnose, service or repair a motor vehicle.” However, the carmaker would not be required to publicly disclose any information, methods or processes that are protected as trade secrets. The rules would be in effect for vehicles manufactured after model year 1994.
    

Though this is a work in process, the OEMs are constantly accepting input on how to promote these sites to the repairer, or even the consumer. One also has to keep in mind…just being mechanically inclined and having a manual to guide you does not mean one has the proper training (classroom and hands on) nor the equipment  necessary to achieve the proper outcome. There are mechanical as well as structural aspects of the repair on today’s technically advanced auto that can be detrimental to the re-sale value and safety of that damaged vehicle.
    

It does not appear that governmental intervention is necessary  when considering the OEM has conformed based on the auto body industry requests.
    

Unless we have overlooked any aspect of the bill, it seems that most of the language in the bill is already being followed. I think the issue is that the consumer does not understand these rights, and may not even know they exist. Regrettably, that may be the same on behalf of the repairer. There are already regulatory offices in place, what the consumer and the repairer does not need is to put another governmental contact into the mix.

Respectfully submitted
Gary Wano Jr
OKABA President
2006-2007

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