Skip to Content

Session Law

2013

Jump to:

Chapter 165 AN ACT RELATIVE TO AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR.

Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to provide forthwith for the availability of automotive repair information, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 93J of the General Laws, inserted by chapter 241 of the acts of 2012, is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2. Chapter 93J of the General Laws, inserted by chapter 368 of the acts of 2012, is hereby repealed.

SECTION 3. The General Laws are hereby further amended by inserting after chapter 93I the following chapter:-

CHAPTER 93K.
AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR

Section 1. As used in this chapter, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:-

“Dealer”, any person or business who, in the ordinary course of its business, sells or leases new motor vehicles to consumers or other end users pursuant to a franchise agreement and who has obtained a class 1 license pursuant to sections 58 and 59 of chapter 140 and diagnoses, services, maintains or repairs motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines pursuant to said franchise agreement.

“Fair and reasonable terms”, in determining whether a price is on “fair and reasonable terms” consideration may be given to relevant factors, including, but not limited to:

(i) the net cost to the manufacturer franchised dealerships for similar information obtained from manufacturers, less any discounts, rebates or other incentive programs;
(ii) the cost to the manufacturer for preparing and distributing the information, excluding any research and development costs incurred in designing and implementing, upgrading or altering the onboard computer and its software or any other vehicle part or component; provided, however, that amortized capital costs for the preparation and distribution of the information may be included;
(iii) the price charged by other manufacturers for similar information;
(iv) the price charged by manufacturers for similar information prior to the launch of manufacturer web sites;
(v) the ability of aftermarket technicians or shops to afford the information;
(vi) the means by which the information is distributed;
(vii) the extent to which the information is used, which includes the number of users, and frequency, duration and volume of use; and
(viii) inflation.

“Franchise agreement”, an oral or written arrangement for a definite or indefinite period in which a manufacturer or distributor grants to a motor vehicle dealer a license to use a trade name, service mark or related characteristic and in which there is a community of interest in the marketing of new motor vehicles or services related thereto at wholesale, retail, leasing or otherwise.

“Heavy duty vehicle”, any vehicle having a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 14,000 pounds; provided, however, that heavy duty vehicles built to custom specifications sold in the commonwealth for commercial purposes shall not be required to comply with subsection (d) of section 2.

“Immobilizer system”, an electronic device designed for the sole purpose of preventing the theft of a motor vehicle by preventing the motor vehicle in which it is installed from starting without the correct activation or authorization code.

“Independent repair facility”, a person or business operating in the commonwealth that is not affiliated with a manufacturer or manufacturer’s authorized dealer of motor vehicles, which diagnoses, services, maintains or repairs motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines; provided, however, that for the purposes of this chapter, a dealer, notwithstanding its affiliation with any manufacturer, shall be considered an independent repair facility for the purposes of those instances when said dealer diagnoses, services, maintains or repairs motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines that are not affiliated with the dealer’s franchise manufacturer.

“Manufacturer”, any person or business engaged in the business of manufacturing or assembling new motor vehicles.

“Motor vehicle”, a vehicle, originally manufactured for distribution and sale in the United States, driven or drawn by mechanical power and manufactured primarily for use on public streets, roads and highways, but excluding: (i) a vehicle that may be operated only on a rail line; (ii) a recreational vehicle or auto home equipped for habitation; (iii) an ambulance; (iv) a bus, motor coach or trackless trolley designed for the carriage of persons for hire or for school-related purposes; (v) vehicles used exclusively for the building, repair and maintenance of highways or designed primarily for use elsewhere than on the traveled part of ways; (vi) any vehicle excluded from the definition of “motor vehicle” in chapter 90; and (vii) a motorcycle, as defined in section 1 of chapter 90.

“Owner”, a person or business who owns or leases a motor vehicle registered in the commonwealth.

“Trade secret”, anything tangible or intangible or electronically stored or kept which constitutes, represents, evidences or records intellectual property including secret or confidentially held designs, processes, procedures, formulas, inventions or improvements, or secret or confidentially held scientific, technical, merchandising, production, financial, business or management information, or anything within the definition in 18 U.S.C. 1839(3).

Section 2. (a) Except as provided in subsection (e), for model year 2002 motor vehicles and thereafter and model year 2013 heavy duty vehicles and thereafter, a manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in the commonwealth shall make available for purchase by owners of motor vehicles manufactured by such manufacturer and by independent repair facilities the same diagnostic and repair information, including repair technical updates, that such manufacturer makes available to its dealers through the manufacturer's internet-based diagnostic and repair information system or other electronically accessible manufacturer’s repair information system. All content in any such manufacturer’s repair information system shall be made available to owners and to independent repair facilities in the same form and manner and to the same extent as is made available to dealers utilizing such diagnostic and repair information system. Each manufacturer shall provide access to such manufacturer's diagnostic and repair information system for purchase by owners and independent repair facilities on a daily, monthly and yearly subscription basis and upon fair and reasonable terms.

(b) A manufacturer that sells any diagnostic, service or repair information to an independent repair facility or other third party provider in a format that is standardized with other manufacturers, and on terms and conditions more favorable than the manner and the terms and conditions which a dealer obtains the same diagnostic, service or repair information, shall be prohibited from requiring any dealer to continue purchasing diagnostic, service or repair information in a proprietary format, unless such proprietary format includes diagnostic, service, repair or dealership operations information or functionality that is not available in such standardized format.

(c) (1) For model year 2002 motor vehicles and thereafter and model year 2013 heavy duty vehicles and thereafter, each manufacturer of motor vehicles sold in the commonwealth shall make available for purchase by owners and independent repair facilities all diagnostic repair tools incorporating the same diagnostic, repair and wireless capabilities that such manufacturer makes available to its dealers. Such tools shall incorporate the same functional repair capabilities that such manufacturer makes available to dealers. Each manufacturer shall offer such tools for sale to owners and to independent repair facilities upon fair and reasonable terms.

(2) Any diagnostic tool or information necessary to diagnose, service or repair a motor vehicle that a manufacturer sells to an independent repair facility in a manner and on terms and conditions more favorable than the manner and the terms and conditions which a dealer obtains the same diagnostic tool or information necessary to diagnose, service or repair a motor vehicle, shall also be offered to the dealer in the same manner and on the same terms and conditions as provided to such independent repair facility.

A manufacturer that sells to an independent repair facility any diagnostic tool necessary to diagnose, service or repair a motor vehicle and such diagnostic tool communicates with the vehicle using the same non-proprietary interface used by other manufacturers, the manufacturer delivering such a diagnostic tool shall be prohibited from requiring any dealer from continuing to purchase that manufacturer’s proprietary tool and interface unless such proprietary interface has a capability not available in the non-proprietary interface.

(3) Each manufacturer shall provide diagnostic repair information to each aftermarket scan tool company and each third party service information provider with whom the manufacturer has appropriate licensing, contractual or confidentiality agreements for the sole purpose of building aftermarket diagnostic tools and third party service information publications and systems. Once a manufacturer makes such information available pursuant to this section, the manufacturer shall be considered to have satisfied its obligations under this section and thereafter not be responsible for the content and functionality of aftermarket diagnostic tools or service information systems.

(d) (1) Beginning in model year 2018, except as provided in subsection (e), manufacturers of motor vehicles sold in the commonwealth, including heavy duty vehicles that are not heavy duty vehicles built to custom specifications sold in the commonwealth for commercial purposes, shall provide access to their onboard diagnostic and repair information system, as required under this section, using an off-the-shelf personal computer with sufficient memory, processor speed, connectivity and other capabilities as specified by the vehicle manufacturer and: (i) a non-proprietary vehicle interface device that complies with the Society of Automotive Engineers standard J2534, Society of Automotive Engineers J1939, commonly referred to as SAE J2534 and SAE J1939, the International Organization for Standardization standard 22900, commonly referred to as ISO 22900 or any successor to SAE J2534, SAE J1939 or ISO 22900 as may be accepted or published by the Society of Automotive Engineers or the International Organization for Standardization; (ii) an onboard diagnostic and repair information system integrated and entirely self-contained within the vehicle, including, but not limited to, service information systems integrated into an onboard display; or (iii) a system that provides direct access to onboard diagnostic and repair information through a non-proprietary vehicle interface, such as ethernet, universal serial bus or digital versatile disc. Each manufacturer shall provide access to the same onboard diagnostic and repair information available to their dealers, including technical updates to such onboard systems, through such non-proprietary interfaces as referenced in this paragraph. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a dealer to use a non-proprietary vehicle interface specified in this paragraph, nor shall this chapter be construed to prohibit a manufacturer from developing a proprietary vehicle diagnostic and reprogramming device; provided, however, that: (i) the manufacturer also complies with this paragraph; and (ii) the manufacturer also makes this device available to independent repair facilities upon fair and reasonable terms and otherwise complies with subsection (a).

(2) No manufacturer shall be prohibited from making proprietary tools available to dealers if such tools are for a specific specialized diagnostic or repair procedure developed for the sole purpose of a customer service campaign meeting the requirements set out in 49 CFR 579.5, or performance of a specific technical service bulletin or recall after the vehicle was produced, and where original vehicle design was not originally intended for direct interface through a non-proprietary interface set out in paragraph (1). Provision of such proprietary tools under this paragraph shall not constitute a violation of this chapter even if such tools provide functions not available through the interface set forth in paragraph (1); provided, however, that such proprietary tools are also available to the aftermarket upon fair and reasonable terms. Nothing in this paragraph authorizes manufacturers to exclusively develop proprietary tools, without a non-proprietary equivalent as set forth in paragraph (1), for diagnostic or repair procedures that fall outside the provisions of this paragraph or to otherwise operate in a manner inconsistent with paragraph (1).

(e) Manufacturers of motor vehicles sold in the commonwealth may exclude diagnostic, service and repair information necessary to reset an immobilizer system or security-related electronic modules from information provided to owners and independent repair facilities. If excluded under this subsection, the information necessary to reset an immobilizer system or security-related electronic modules shall be obtained by owners and independent repair facilities through the secure data release model system currently used by the National Automotive Service Task Force or other known, reliable and accepted systems.

(f) With the exception of telematics diagnostic and repair information that is provided to dealers, necessary to diagnose and repair a customer’s vehicle and not otherwise available to an independent repair facility via the tools specified in paragraph (1) of subsection (c) and paragraph (1) of subsection (d), nothing in this chapter shall apply to telematics services or any other remote or information service, diagnostic or otherwise, delivered to or derived from a motor vehicle by mobile communications; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate a telematics services contract or other contract that exists between a manufacturer or service provider, an owner or a dealer. For the purposes of this chapter, telematics services shall include, but not be limited to, automatic airbag deployment and crash notification, remote diagnostics, navigation, stolen vehicle location, remote door unlock, transmitting emergency and vehicle location information to public safety answering points and any other service integrating vehicle location technology and wireless communications. Nothing in this chapter shall require a manufacturer or a dealer to disclose to any person the identity of existing customers or customer lists.

Section 3. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require a manufacturer to divulge a trade secret.

Section 4. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, nothing in this chapter shall be construed to abrogate, interfere with, contradict or alter the terms of any provision of chapter 93B or the terms of any franchise agreement executed and in force between a dealer and a manufacturer, including, but not limited to, the performance or provision of warranty or recall repair work by a dealer on behalf of a manufacturer pursuant to such franchise agreement; provided, however, that any provision in a franchise agreement that purports to waive, avoid, restrict or limit a manufacturer’s compliance with this chapter shall be void and unenforceable.

Section 5. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require manufacturers or dealers to provide an owner or independent repair facility access to non-diagnostic and repair information provided by a manufacturer to a dealer or by a dealer to a manufacturer pursuant to the terms of a franchise agreement.

Section 6. (a) In addition to any other remedies that may be available, a violation of this chapter shall be deemed to be an unfair method of competition and an unfair or deceptive act or practice in the conduct of trade or commerce in violation of section 2 of chapter 93A.

(b) An independent repair facility or owner who believes that a manufacturer has failed to provide information or a tool required by this chapter shall notify the manufacturer, in writing, through the National Automotive Service Task Force Service Information Request process, or its successor organization or process, and give the manufacturer 30 days from the time the manufacturer receives the complaint to cure the failure. If the manufacturer cures said complaint within the cure period, damages shall be limited to actual damages in any subsequent litigation pursuant to chapter 93A.

(c) If a manufacturer fails to respond to the notice provided pursuant to subsection (b), or if an independent repair facility or owner is not satisfied with the manufacturer’s cure, the independent repair facility or owner may file a complaint in the superior court or, if applicable, in the federal district court for the district of Massachusetts. Such complaint shall include, but not be limited to: (i) written information confirming that the complainant has visited the relevant manufacturer website and attempted to effect a proper repair utilizing information provided on such website, including communication with customer assistance via the manufacturer’s toll-free call-in assistance, if made available by the manufacturer; (ii) written information confirming that the complainant has obtained and utilized the relevant manufacturer’s scan or diagnostic tool necessary for such repair; and (iii) evidence of manufacturer notification as set out in subsection (b).

(d) Except in the instance of a dispute arising between a franchisor manufacturer and its franchisee dealer related to either party’s compliance with an existing franchise agreement, which is required to be resolved pursuant to chapter 93B, a dealer shall have all the rights and remedies provided in this chapter, including, but not limited to, exercising the rights and remedies allowed an independent repair facility.

Approved, November 26, 2013.


Error