Text: H.R.2735 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (07/15/2003)

[Congressional Bills 108th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 2735 Introduced in House (IH)]

  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 



                             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 


                                 A BILL

 To protect the rights of American consumers to diagnose, service, and 
  repair motor vehicles purchased in the United States, and for other 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the ``Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to 
Repair Act of 2003''.


    (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 
                    (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; 
                    (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.


    (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 
    (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.


    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)).


    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.


    (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.


    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. 
            (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.