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Rhode Island OEM parts bill speeds through House committee

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Announcements | Insurance | Legal
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The Rhode Island House Committee on Corporations unanimously approved Wednesday moving a bill to the House that keeps insurers from refusing the use of OEM parts on any vehicle between 48 and 72 months from the date of manufacture. 

SB2440 was introduced Feb. 12 and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee April 30. It passed in the Senate 33-4 on May 7. 

The bill quickly moved through the House committee on its first hearing with no discussion. However, the committee heard comments on a companion bill, H7264, in January. 

If passed by the House and signed by the governor, the bill would require insurers to use an OEM part if the repairer has written consent from the vehicle owner to do so. It would be effective Oct. 1. 

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. 

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.”

Auto Body Parts Association 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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