H.R.2735 - Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2003108th Congress (2003-2004)
Text: H.R.2735 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)
There is one version of the bill.
Bill text available as:
Introduced in House (07/15/2003)
[Congressional Bills 108th Congress] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office] [H.R. 2735 Introduced in House (IH)] 108th CONGRESS 1st Session H. R. 2735 To protect the rights of American consumers to diagnose, service, and repair motor vehicles purchased in the United States, and for other purposes. _______________________________________________________________________ IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES July 15, 2003 Mr. Barton of Texas (for himself, Mr. Towns, Mr. Acevedo-Vila, Mr. Akin, Mr. Andrews, Mr. Bartlett of Maryland, Mr. Bilirakis, Ms. Corrine Brown of Florida, Ms. Carson of Indiana, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Davis of Alabama, Mrs. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia, Mr. Deal of Georgia, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. DeGette, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Ford, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Goodlatte, Mr. Graves, Mr. Greenwood, Mr. Holden, Mr. LaTourette, Ms. Jackson-Lee of Texas, Mr. Manzullo, Ms. McCarthy of Missouri, Mr. McGovern, Mr. Meehan, Mr. George Miller of California, Mr. Moore, Mrs. Myrick, Mr. Neal of Massachusetts, Mr. Owens, Mr. Payne, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota, Mr. Petri, Mr. Platts, Mr. Price of North Carolina, Mr. Rush, Mr. Sensenbrenner, Mr. Sessions, Mr. Stenholm, Mr. Tancredo, Mr. Tanner, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Toomey, Mr. Wamp, Mr. Waxman, Mr. Weldon of Florida, Mr. Wexler, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, Ms. Woolsey, and Mr. Wynn) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce _______________________________________________________________________ A BILL To protect the rights of American consumers to diagnose, service, and repair motor vehicles purchased in the United States, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. This Act may be cited as the ``Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act of 2003''. SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES. (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following: (1) The ability to diagnose, service, and repair a motor vehicle in a timely, reliable, and affordable manner is essential to the safety and well-being of automotive consumers in the United States. (2) Consumers are entitled to choose among competing repair facilities for the convenient, reliable, and affordable repair of their motor vehicles. (3) Increased competition among repair facilities will benefit vehicle owners in the United States. (4) Computers of various kinds are increasingly being used in motor vehicle systems, such as pollution control, transmission, antilock brakes, electronic and mechanical systems, heating and air-conditioning, sound, and steering. (5) The diagnosis, service, and repair of these vehicle systems are essential to the safety and proper operation of modern motor vehicles. (6) In many instances, access codes prevent owners from making, or having made, the necessary diagnosis, service, and repair of their motor vehicles in a timely, convenient, reliable, and affordable manner. (7) Consumers in the United States have benefited from the availability of an aftermarket parts supply, or parts and accessories used in the repair, maintenance, or enhancement of a motor vehicle. The American economy has also benefitted from the availability of an aftermarket parts supply that provides jobs to over 5 million workers in 495,000 businesses, and generates $200 billion in annual sales. (8) Vehicle owners in the United States should have the right-- (A) to all information necessary to allow the diagnosis, service, and repair of their vehicles; (B) to choose between original parts and aftermarket parts when repairing their motor vehicles; and (C) to make, or have made, repairs necessary to keep their vehicles in reasonably good and serviceable condition during the expected vehicle life. (9) The restriction of vehicle repair information limits who can repair motor vehicles and what parts may be used to repair those vehicles, which limits consumer choice and thus limits competition. (10) The Congress has provided the Federal Trade Commission with broad authority to make and enforce rules to foster competition, to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce, and to protect consumers. (b) Purposes.--The purposes of this Act are the following: (1) To require the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe and enforce rules necessary to ensure the right of a motor vehicle owner to obtain all information required for the diagnosis, service, and repair of the motor vehicle. (2) To ensure the safety of all vehicle owners by requiring disclosure of all information necessary for the proper diagnosis, service, and repair of a vehicle in a timely, affordable, and reliable manner. (3) To encourage competition in the diagnosis, service, and repair of motor vehicles. SEC. 3. MANUFACTURER DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS. (a) Duty to Disclose.--In accordance with rules prescribed by the Federal Trade Commission under section 7, the manufacturer of a motor vehicle sold or introduced into commerce in the United States shall promptly provide to the vehicle owner, to a repair facility of the vehicle, and to the Commission for use by any such vehicle owner or repair facility, the information necessary to diagnose, service, or repair the vehicle. Such information shall include-- (1) information necessary to integrate replacement equipment into the vehicle; and (2) other information of any kind used to diagnose, service, repair, activate, certify, or install any motor vehicle equipment (including replacement equipment) in a motor vehicle. (b) Protection of Trade Secrets.-- (1) Determination by federal trade commission.--The Federal Trade Commission may not require a manufacturer to publicly disclose information that, if made public, would divulge methods or processes entitled to protection as trade secrets of that manufacturer, but may require disclosure of such information to the Commission for the purpose of determining whether such information is entitled to such protection. Such determination shall be made on the record after an opportunity for an agency hearing. (2) Previously disclosed information.--No such information may be withheld by a manufacturer if that information is provided (directly or indirectly) to franchised dealers or other repair facilities. SEC. 4. UNFAIR OR DECEPTIVE ACT OR PRACTICE. The failure by a manufacturer to provide the information required by section 3(a) constitutes an unfair method of competition and an unfair or deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce (within the meaning of section 5(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)(1))). Violation of a rule prescribed under section 6(a) constitutes violation of a rule defining an unfair or deceptive act or practice prescribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)). SEC. 5. PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION. A vehicle owner or repair facility may bring a civil action to enjoin a violation of this Act and to recover the costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and expert witness fees). Such an action may be brought in the district court of the United States for the district in which such owner resides or such repair facility does business, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties. SEC. 6. RULEMAKING. (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Trade Commission shall prescribe rules setting forth a uniform method by which a manufacturer shall provide the information required by section 3(a), including disclosure in writing, on the Internet, or in any other manner, or under such terms, as the Commission determines may be appropriate. Such rules shall take effect for vehicles manufactured after model year 1994. (b) Limitation.--The Federal Trade Commission may not prescribe rules that-- (1) interfere with the authority of the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under section 202(m) of the Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. 7521(m)) with regard to motor vehicle emissions control diagnostics systems; or (2) conflict with rules prescribed by such Administrator under such section. SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS. In this Act: (1) The term ``commerce'' has the meaning given that term in section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 44). (2) The terms ``manufacturer'', ``motor vehicle'', and ``motor vehicle equipment'' have the meanings given those terms in section 30102(a) of title 49, United States Code. (3) The term ``vehicle owner'' means any person who owns, leases, or otherwise has the legal right to use and possess a motor vehicle, or the agent of such person. (4) The term ``repair facility'' means a person engaged in the repair, diagnosing, or servicing of motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines. (5) The term ``replacement equipment'' has the meaning given that term in section 30102(b)(1) of title 49, United States Code. (6) The term ``model year'' has the meaning given that term in section 32901(a) of title 49, United States Code.