The Auto Care Association, along with six other aftermarket trade groups, sent a letter to the new chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on June 30 expressing appreciation to the FTC for findings and conclusions of the recently released report entitled “Nixing the Fix: An FTC Report to Congress on Repair Restrictions.” The report highlights the barriers that face consumers when they seek independent repairs, including from independent motor vehicle service facilities.
The aftermarket groups state in their letter that “the report accurately describes the extensive breadth of problems vehicle owners face and recognizes that the commission can take certain steps relatively quickly without further statutory authority.” The aftermarket trade groups included a list of recommendations that the commission could undertake immediately and also included suggestions for more substantive actions that may require congressional action.
The recommendations to the FTC included:
- Improve consumer education and compliance assurance with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA), which prohibits the conditioning of warranties with the use of original equipment parts or service.
- Eliminate manufacturers’ marketing practices that discourage the use of non-original equipment parts or services.
- Develop better enforcement tools that the commission can undertake to better ensure compliance with MMWA.
- Advocate for new legal authority that would expand the scope of MMWA to include commercial vehicles.
- Obtain legislation that would provide vehicle owners with access to data transmitted by their vehicle and provide them the ability to have that data made available to the independent repair shops where they have their vehicle repaired.
In addition to the Auto Care Association, groups signing the letter included: Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA); Service Station Dealers of American and Allied Trades (SSDA); Car Coalition (CAR); Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA); Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA); and Tire Industry Association (TIA).