The undersigned groups strongly support language included in the FY2021 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill report, which calls on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to provide a report on anticompetitive practices related to repair markets. Specifically, the Committee report notes the FTC’s ongoing review of how manufacturers may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops, and how those limitations affect consumer protection, including increasing costs, limiting choice and impact consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
Last July, the FTC hosted an event entitled Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions to address “the issues that arise when a manufacturer restricts or makes it impossible for a consumer or an independent repair shop to make product repairs.” Respondents and participants in the workshop highlighted areas for more investigation by the FTC, including original equipment manufacturer practices in the cellphone, appliance, and automobile marketplaces. As one example, the FTC received comments describing the anti-competitive practices of car companies, including “the increasing use of technology… to control how vehicles are repaired” and “repair procedures and marketing statements… used to divert consumers away from aftermarket parts and third-party auto repair shops.” Similar tactics have been used in other industries, including the threat to void warranties for reasons prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
We appreciate the Committee’s commitment to ensuring the FTC continue this important work studying potential actions by manufacturers that limit consumer repair rights and how they impact consumer protection.
Sincerely, the undersigned,
American Economic Liberties Project
American Property Casualty Insurance
Automotive Body Parts Association
Certified Automotive Parts Association
Digital Right to Repair Coalition
EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
National Association of Mutual Insurance