Editor’s Note: Aaron Schulenburg is executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS). This letter to the editor is in response to request for comment regarding statements critical of the pact by other aftermarket industry associations and groups. View the Publisher’s Statement here.
To the Editor,
Like our colleagues, we feel the press release, letter to congress, and agreement effectively communicate our position and the significance of our shared agreement.
I am however happy to elaborate a little on our perspective. As you know, SCRS has spent more than four decades representing hardworking, independent collision repair facilities across the United States. Our entire purpose rests on being a respected source of information and a trusted and audible voice for the small businesses we represent.
An agreement which reinforces that independent repair facilities will continue to have access to the same diagnostic and repair information that auto manufacturers make available to dealers, should be applauded rather than draw criticism from right to repair advocates.
As an association who directly represents collision repair businesses, access to critical repair information is a non-issue for our members.
Well-trained, well-equipped independent collision repair facilities are not struggling to gain access to the data or tools they need to fix the vehicles properly. Instead, what those businesses struggle with are insurance claim settlement practices that place economic pressure on consumers and independent businesses and discourage the use of available repair data, procedures, and prescribed tools to accomplish a proper repair.
Right to repair and consumer advocacy efforts should be as, if not more concerned about ensuring the repair information that is already available to the industry is utilized to properly indemnify consumers for safe repairs.
From our experience, automakers have worked closely with the independent collision repair industry to develop repair opportunities with an emphasis on upholding quality and safety standards through a commitment to training, equipping, and performing repairs as intended by the vehicle engineers.
SCRS entirely supports the belief that consumers should be able to choose quality repairs, performed in accordance with the specific procedures detailed by the vehicle engineers, with the confidence that all of the specified repairs were performed. Consumers should have the right to be able to do so at the thousands of independent repair facilities that have invested in the training, equipment and skillset development necessary to meet the demands of increasingly complex and sophisticated vehicles.
— Aaron Schulenburg