FTC Releases a Report on Anticompetitive Repair Restrictions
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a report this week entitled “Nixing the Fix: An FTC Report to Congress on Repair Restrictions”. This report was created as a result of a directive from the U.S. Congress to investigate anticompetitive practices related to repair markets. The report highlights “anticompetitive repair restrictions” including unavailability of parts, repair manuals, and diagnostic software and tools, disparagement of non-OEM parts and independent repair, and other limitations in the automobile industry and others.
Additionally, the report offers a variety of potential approaches for increasing consumer choice in repair markets, including FTC rulemaking or legislative action, but particularly highlights the success of the automobile industry in creating self-regulation. The FTC recognizes that industry agreements are a productive path forward.
Overall, this report supports the consumers’ right to choose their repairer and finds that “although manufacturers have offered numerous explanations for their repair restrictions, the majority are not supported by the record.” In previous dealings, the auto industry has proven the viability of an industry agreement, and the report endorses this strategy as a potential fix for future repair needs.
To read the full report, click here.