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      Used Cars: Rhode Island Governor Throws Monkey Wrench at Motoring Consumers by Allowing Ant
    Posted on Tuesday, July 18 @ 11:44:31 UTC by Cars
      Used Cars, Used Car, Used Auto

    Rhode Island Governor Throws Monkey Wrench at Motoring Consumers by Allowing Anti-Consumer Bill to Become Law, States Care

    ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 18 -- Over 400 Rhode Island small
    business people and consumers faxed, called and signed petitions into Gov.
    Donald Carcieri's office requesting that he veto an anti-consumer,
    anti-small business bill, House Bill 7705. But, rather than listen to the
    pleas of Rhode Island's small businesses and consumers, he threw a monkey
    wrench at them by allowing the bill to become law on July 12, 2006.

    HB 7705 states that for any automobile which is LESS than thirty (30)
    months beyond the date of manufacture, the insurer and the auto body repair
    shop must provide a written notice to the vehicle owner that he or she is
    entitled to "original equipment manufacturer parts (OEM) in the repair of a
    motor vehicle body replacement part. To comply with this provision, written
    notice may be provided on the appraisal written on behalf of the insurer
    and the estimate prepared by the auto body repair shop.

    "This is in violation of federal law known as the Magnuson-Moss Act,
    passed in the 1970s, which prohibits repairs from being tied to warranties.
    And, the less than 30 months is definitely within the warranty period,"
    stated Sandy Bass-Cors, Executive Director for the Coalition for Auto
    Repair Equality (CARE). Consumers don't have to sign for car dealer parts.

    "This was truly a 'dead-of-night' bill. House Bill 7705 was in the
    Senate Commerce, House and Municipal Government Committee as a 'Study
    Bill'. The Committee Chairman, Senator Frank Caprio, unexpectedly called a
    meeting at 1 a.m. and passed the bill. House Bill 7705 quickly went to the
    floor and then the Governor's desk," stated Bass-Cors.

    "Laws such as HB 7705 plant the seeds of doubt in consumers' minds as
    to the high quality of aftermarket parts, making the aftermarket parts
    sound inferior. In actuality, aftermarket parts and car dealer parts are
    manufactured by the same companies, the only differences are that the
    aftermarket parts cost up to 50 percent less than car dealer parts and
    aftermarket parts come with life-time or long-term warranties, which car
    dealer parts do not.

    "All this legislation does is intimidate consumers into buying higher-
    priced parts. House Bill 7705 hurts low and fixed income motorists, hurts
    small businesses and will eventually hurt the Rhode Island economy that
    depends on a competitive auto repair industry. No one gains from passage of
    HB 7705, except those selling car dealer parts," said Bass-Cors.

    In addition to Rhode Island's small businesses who requested the
    Governor's veto, the Department of Business & Regulations, an original
    supporter of the bill, requested that the Governor not allow this bill to
    become law.

    "Rhode Island's independent repair locations number nearly 700. House
    Bill 7705 will make it much more difficult for them to repair and sell
    parts," concluded Bass-Cors.

    CARE represents companies in the automotive aftermarket, among them:
    NAPA, Midas, CARQUEST, AutoZone, Advance Auto, Jiffy Lube, O'Reilly's and
    others. Five million people nationwide are employed in the aftermarket in
    over 495,000 locations, including "mom and pop" shops.

    Coalition for Auto Repair Equality
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