Right-to-Repair Coalition Member Says 'Speak Up'
July 26, 2019—Glenn Wilder of Wilder Bros. Tire Pros in North Scituate, Mass. talks about how making your voice heard can make a big difference.
After the Massachusetts Right to Repair Coalition re-launched last year—following the successful 2012 right-to-repair ballot question and the subsequent 2013 law—a problem still lies with a ‘loophole’ in the 2012 law.
“The consumer doesn’t know this, but the car is recording the route you take to work, how many times you stop at Starbucks or McDonalds—personal information—and they can sell it to whoever wants to buy it,” says Wilder. “Nobody is doing anything about it because no one knows that it’s being done.”
Along with this privacy issue, there also comes an issue in parts and service, redirecting car owners to specific shops instead of independent auto repair shops.
“Automakers are increasingly restricting access through rapidly expanding wireless technologies in vehicles not covered under current law,” the coalition said in a statement to the Herald, adding that if repair shops can’t get that data, “car owners have no choice but to be steered by vehicle manufacturers towards more expensive automaker authorized repair options.”
State lawmakers filed legislation in January to strengthen protections against “telematic systems,” technologies in newer cars that transmit crucial diagnostic and repair information to manufacturers—including automatic airbag deployment and crash notifications, navigation and stolen vehicle location, reports The Boston Herald. Since then, the coalition has presented a bill on Beacon Hill in Boston for legislators to look at, and are trying to get enough traction and support behind it.
The success of the 2012 ballot was in mainly due to activism and support from the community. Now Wilder says it’s up to us to make an impact and let our voices be heard once again.
“A lot of people don’t know this is going on,” says Wilder. “Nothing happens without people that can present it to the right people.”
Along with an advertising campaign the coalition has put out, word of mouth is important to let people know it exists and that it’s a problem.
“The best thing you can do is be vocal about it, let people know that represent you in your area that the problem exists—if they are unaware of it—and if they are aware of it, let them know that it means something to you as a person in that district,” says Wilder.
To learn more on how to be a part of the coalition in your state, visit https://repair.org/stand-up.