The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers of New Jersey (AASP/NJ), the state’s largest association of collision and mechanical repairers, is outraged at the aggressive actions of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) attempting to kill the recently passed NJ version of the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act. The New Jersey “Right to Repair Act” gives motoring consumers the ability to choose where, how and by whom to have their vehicles repaired, whose parts they wish to purchase, even work on their vehicles themselves. The bill was passed out of committee last month after years of effort by AASP/NJ.
“This is totally inappropriate and ill-advised on the part of ASA,” AASP/NJ’s Bob Everett (himself an ASA member), says. “We have spent the last few years educating our members, our representatives and our customers on the merits of the Right to Repair Act; and the passing of the bill was in response to the needs and voices of those members and customers. To come out and openly rally against the bill is incredulous. It just proves that ASA is more interested in the needs of others as opposed to the needs of their members.”
ASA has renewed its fight against the bill by contacting shop owners across the state and urging them to voice their opposition to the measure with their State Assembly members. “Apparently, the opinions of automotive repairers in New Jersey who have stringently supported this bill for the last two and a half years mean nothing to ASA,” AASP/NJ President Tom Elder says. “The response to the passing of the bill has been overwhelmingly positive from our members and our customers. ASA is ignoring that completely. Maybe that’s one of the reasons ASA has had little success in our state. Their goals, particularly when it comes to Right-to-Repair, are not shared by the majority of automotive repairers in New Jersey.”
The actions are taking its toll on Everett, who has worked tirelessly on the bill. “It really is sad,” he says, “when an association that is supposed to fight for its members’ rights, puts greed and special interests above those rights. I always hear how our industry can never get anything accomplished because we are so divided. Well, we proved we could get things done by getting the bill passed. Now you have ASA, a group based 2,000 miles away in Texas, with hardly any members in our state, coming in and trying to divide and defeat everything we have worked for. Like me, I’m sure all of ASA’s members will look at this and wonder if this is the kind of action they want their dues going to. It troubles me deeply.”