NCR Biden

US President Biden issues an Executive Order that supports Right to Repair

Automotive aftermarket groups support measure that would prohibit manufacturers from restricting third-party and self-repair of products.

President Biden signed a sweeping executive order designed to promote competition in the U.S. economy that includes 72 directives to more than a dozen government agencies that the Administration said is designed to promote the interests of American workers, businesses, and consumers, including supporting Right to Repair. According to the fact sheet on the executive order, the Administration wants to make it easier and cheaper to repair items you own by limiting manufacturers from barring self-repairs or third-party repairs of their products.

President Biden’s Executive Order states, “This order affirms that it is the policy of my Administration to enforce the antitrust laws to combat the excessive concentration of industry, the abuses of market power, and the harmful effects of monopoly and monopsony — especially as these issues arise in labour markets, agricultural markets, Internet platform industries, healthcare markets (including insurance, hospital, and prescription drug markets), repair markets, and United States markets directly affected by foreign cartel activity.”

The order directs the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to exercise the agency’s regulatory authority to address “persistent and recurrent practices that inhibit competition” among several markets including, “unfair anticompetitive restrictions on third-party repair or self-repair of items, such as the restrictions imposed by powerful manufacturers that prevent farmers from repairing their own equipment.”

While the order does not specifically mention the market for independent automotive and collision repair service and parts, the FTC’s recent Nixing the Fix report on competition for repair services both cited the voluntary agreements with vehicle manufacturers to provide automotive repair information to independents as a possible solution for other industries, and also highlighted concerns about restrictions by vehicle manufacturers.

Among the concerns shared in the report were industry concerns over restrictions on parts sales to “authorised repair networks” as well as manufacturers disparaging comments on non-OEM parts.

Last year, Massachusetts voters approved an expansion of the Commonwealth’s existing automotive Right to Repair rule to include telematics systems and other requirements. The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, the association representing vehicle manufacturers sued to block the legislation.

Aftermarket groups were supportive of the announcement of the order.

This excerpt courtesy of Russell Thrall III, publisher CollisionWeek. For the full story, visit: www.collisionweek.com.

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