I want to thank your reporter Lily Hennessy for doing her due diligence in her research of Question 1, the Right to Repair bill (Mashpee Enterprise, October 2).
Ms. Hennessy interviewed me and a few other repair shop owners about the logistics of the bill.
As I told Ms. Hennessy, the bill is giving independent repair technicians the same opportunity to scan engine malfunction codes as a dealership technician would have.
But there is one person Ms. Hennessy interviewed that struck a chord with me.
Mr. Laham, owner of Premier Companies, is against Question 1. His stated reason is that “if a non-factory technician performs work on a vehicle using non-OEM parts and tools, it could potentially cause a malfunction in the operating system of the vehicle, which could make it very dangerous for the owner and their passenger to operate.”
I would like to set Mr. Laham straight on a fact that most independent repair owners started off in a dealership and then opened their own repair shops. For instance, my husband worked several years at a dealership prior to opening up Mr. T’s Auto Repair 35 years ago.
Along with my husband, my technician studied and graduated from the University of Northwestern Ohio, one of the top colleges in the country for auto repair and engineering. Both my husband and technician are ASE master certified. Further, my husband is an L1 licensed technician, which means he has trained and is certified by the state to repair emission failures.
What Mr. Laham should have stated is he is worried that independent automotive technicians are some of the most-qualified techs in this state to work on any manufacturer’s vehicle. Most professional technicians are ASE Master techs. Many are L1-certified for emission repairs. Many independent techs continuously train throughout their careers and become instructors at technical schools and colleges.
Mr. Laham’s lame excuse of why you should vote no on Question 1 is an insult to several independent technicians on Cape Cod.
What Mr. Laham did not want you to know is that the ads on television and in print that ask you to vote no on Question 1 are paid for by manufacturers such as Chrysler, BMW, Audi, Volvo and Mazda. Mr. Laham wants you to vote no because he owns these dealerships in Hyannis. He is nervous that the more technology that independent shops have access to will take away business from his dealerships.
I don’t begrudge Mr. Laham for wanting you to vote no in order for his dealerships to prosper, but I do take offense to saying that independent techs don’t have a clue of what they are doing. Independent auto technicians are no longer grease monkeys or backyard mechanics. They are highly qualified people with enormous amount of pride for their careers and for the industry. They train with some of the highest caliber of instructors in the country to hone their trade to perfection.
Voting yes on Question 1 will give equal opportunity for independent repair technicians who are just as qualified as a dealership technician to continue to train and repair all the makes and models of the future. Giving the independent repair shops this opportunity will allow the consumer to still make a choice where they want to get their vehicles serviced.
Heidi H. Trottier
Ms. Trottier, who lives in Sandwich, co-owns Mr. T’s Auto Repair on Main Street in Mashpee.