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A deal's a deal; Voters should put Question 1 into reverse.


In the closing days of the last legislative session, Massachusetts lawmakers struck a reasonable compromise on right to repair legislation, one that consumer advocates, dealers, and auto repair shops could all live with. We supported that compromise. While the deal came too late to remove a right to repair question from the Nov. 6 ballot, both sides properly pledged to urge voters to simply pass over that question as moot.

Unfortunately, the right to repair coalition has now reneged, and is urging voters to pass Question 1. The move comes after some groups, including AAA, withdrew support from what is now seen as a compromise that does not go far enough to ensure consumers' rights.

Voters should respond to that reversal by defeating Question 1.

"Right to repair" bills, which have been proposed in various states since 2001 and passed nowhere except Massachusetts, are unnecessary and misleading.

Advocates offer a clever sales pitch, telling consumers their right to have their vehicle repaired where they wish is threatened by expensive tools and computer codes that small repair shops cannot always access or afford. In fact, few customers experience difficulty, and a complaint resolution procedure has been in place for years and functions smoothly.

Opponents of "right to repair" maintain that the real purpose behind the legislation is to give after-market parts dealers a new weapon in their fight with auto manufacturers over access to proprietary information. We suspect they're right.

But whether the fight is over fixing your car or enriching one corporation at the expense of another is not the issue. What matters here is that one side has turned its back on the legislative process, backing away from an honorable compromise.

Voters should force both sides to abide by the terms of the deal worked out by the Legislature.

Don't ignore Question 1. Say "no."
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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 19, 2012
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