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Rhode Island Senate passes OEM parts bill

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Insurance | Legal
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Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Senate passed a bill that keeps insurers from refusing the use of OEM parts on any vehicle between 48 and 72 months from the date of manufacture. 

S2440 requires insurers to use an OEM part if the repairer has written consent from the vehicle owner to do so. 

Rhode Island already gives vehicle owners the same rights for vehicles less than 48 months old. 

The bill was introduced Feb. 12 and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee April 30. It passed in the Senate on May 7. 

In March, Jina N. Petrarca, an attorney for Petrarca & Petrarca Law Offices, gave testimony during a Judiciary Committee in support of the bill. 

“This bill is about consumer protection and choice,” Petrarca said. “Choice is the best form of competition.” 

Petrarca said the bill keeps Rhode Island law current with the trends. She said vehicle owners are maintaining vehicles for longer.

Consumers could also argue that if their vehicle came in for a repair with an OEM part, the only way to make them whole would be to install an OEM part, Petrarca said. 

Currently, the bill is waiting to be added to the House Corporations Committee calendar. A companion bill in the House, HB7264, stalled in committee soon after introduction in late January. 

When asked about the companion bill by Repairer Driven News, Petrarca previously said “It is a consumer protection bill that gives consumers a choice and is trying to keep pace with trends in extended years of average lease terms and financing as well as the number of years people are keeping their vehicles.”

The Auto Body Parts Association’s Executive Director Edward Salamy submitted a letter to the House Committee on Corporations opposing the companion bill.

“This extends the already stringent four-year restriction on aftermarket parts currently in place, which is the longest such restriction in the country,” the letter says. “This will only further impact the wallets of Rhode Island drivers with higher vehicle repair costs, increased insurance premiums, and longer repair times.”

Salamy expressed concern about the potential consequences the bill could have on the association’s members and the Rhode Island automotive industry.

“By limiting consumers to car company branded parts, it would result in higher costs for consumers,” the letter says. “The absence of aftermarket parts reduces competition, allowing car companies to set pricing without incentive for affordability.”


Feature photo courtesy of pabradyphoto/iStock

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