Ohio House and Senate Bills Would Limit Where Independent Repair Shops Could Buy Parts

Ohio House and Senate Bills Would Limit Where Independent Repair Shops Could Buy Parts

Ohio House Bill 364 and Senate Bill 204 prohibit non-franchised automotive-related facilities from purchasing original equipment manufactured (OEM) parts, putting thousands of businesses in jeopardy.

Bills being considered by both the Ohio House (HB 364) and Ohio Senate (SB 204) would outlaw the sale by automobile manufacturers of original equipment automotive parts, such as tires and other automotive-related items, to non-franchised automotive-related facilities that need the original equipment automotive parts in order to meet the service and repair needs of their customers and the customers’ automobiles. The bill, according to Ohio Tire and Automotive Association, would thus limit consumer choice when it comes to automotive maintenance and repair, and potentially put thousands of Ohio businesses in jeopardy.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors and members of OTAA, I find this provision in both bills to be extremely troubling,” said John Miller, Jr., president of the Ohio Tire and Automotive Association.  “We focus our business on putting the consumer first. These bills as drafted will limit consumer choice on automotive repair or replacement by not allowing our businesses access to OEM parts. It is my hope that the members of Ohio’s General Assembly see the wisdom in removing the damaging provision.  Many Ohioans use our facilities for their automotive needs, why limit their choice? And why pass bills that are detrimental to business in Ohio?”
“The Ohio Tire and Automotive Association is urging its members and the general public to contact their Ohio House and Senate members informing them of the issue,” said Tom White, 1st vice president of the Ohio Tire and Automotive Association.  “We understand the downturn in the economy is frustrating for all business owners. However, we are opposed to state regulation that could needlessly force us out of business. This bill says that as an automotive repair business owner, I am no longer allowed to carry the breadth of products needed to maintain my competitiveness in the overall auto repair industry. Our ability to stay in business is greatly reliant on the consumers’ right to choose, which may include the use of Original Equipment Manufactured parts.”

Gordon Gough, Executive Director of OTAA, added that a provision in the bill could possibly handcuff auto repair facilities from participating in widespread recall programs that necessitate OEM parts for make-goods.  “For example, based on this bill, if there were a large recall for OEM tires or some other OEM part in a brand of vehicles, non-franchised automotive parts and service facilities in Ohio would not be allowed to participate in fixing recalled vehicles. This could potentially cause an incredible backlog of vehicles awaiting recall service if this law is in place restricting automotive parts and service facilities from installing OEM tires or parts,” Gough commented.
The Ohio Tire and Automotive Association headquartered in Columbus, Ohio was founded in 1967, represents members of the tire and automotive related industries. For more information about OTAA, visit http://www.otdra.com.         


More on Ohio Anti-Independent Bills

Courtesy of TIRE REVIEW magazine.

Shop owners and the Ohio Tire & Automotive Association are all strongly urging lawmakers to change language in pending bills that would keep independent tire dealers and repair shops from handling OE warranty work, recalls or perhaps even selling direct replacement tires.

Nearly identical, Ohio House Bill 364 and Senate Bill 204 were first introduced last November, and primarily address the rights of car dealers facing the potential loss of their vehicle maker franchises. The bills were introduced in the wake of efforts by GM and Chrysler to trim their dealer rosters.

But language buried in the bill, according to Gordon Gough, executive director of the OTAA, could easily be interpreted as shutting independent tire dealers and repair shops from handling OEM warranty work, providing recall-related service or even selling OE direct replacement or downstream tires.

The specific language in questions is:

“Sec. 4517.59. (A) Notwithstanding the terms, provisions, or conditions of any agreement, franchise, or waiver, no franchisor shall:…

…(13) Provide reimbursement to any non-franchised individual or entity for labor and parts used to fulfill warranty and recall work;

 (14) Directly sell, distribute, or otherwise make available to any non-franchised individual or entity any original equipment manufacturer motor vehicle parts, accessories, or other commodities that would otherwise be sold by a franchised dealer…”

“We’re not sure if this language restricts tire companies from selling certain OE tires to tire dealers, or prevents tire dealers from participating in any tire recalls dealing with OE tires,” said Gough. “The language is so broad, we’re not sure of the exact intent.”

The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) is also on the case. In its Mar. 22 letter to HB 364 sponsor Rep. Matt Lundy (D-57), AASA noted, “Aftermarket manufacturers are deeply concerned with language contained in HB 364 … We believe this provision eliminates consumer choice by requiring individuals to obtain replacement parts only at automobile dealerships.”

Sen. Mark Wagoner (R-Ohio 2nd District) introduced the companion SB 204 in the Ohio Senate.

The AASA letter notes that the provision would affect both independent repair shops and do-it-yourselfers. “The language restricts the access to original equipment parts only to auto dealers. Vehicle owners would no longer perform their own maintenance with the parts of their choice. Moreover, independent repair shops would no longer have access to the full range of parts that consumers may need for vehicle repair,” the AASA letter noted.

Gough urged OTAA member tire dealers and non-members alike to contact their state representatives and senators to urge they reconsider the language in the bills.

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