Illinois House passes bill requiring ‘time guides’ for automobile warranty work opponents say increases consumer costs

(The Center Square) – The Illinois legislature is advancing a bill requiring manufacturers to use a “third party time guide” when calculating what to pay automobile dealers and mechanics for warranty work.

Proponents say it properly pays mechanics for their work. Opponents say it will increase consumer costs.

State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr., D-Elwood, is carrying House Bill 3940.

The measure would prohibit unlicensed dealers from selling vehicles. Independent dealer Marc Pacconi, owner of Sports and Imports in Springfield, said that will cut down on “title jumping,” or unregulated transfers.

However, he said another element of the bill requiring third-party time guides to be used in calculating maintenance work will cost.

“Anytime the government gets into something it’s increased costs, yes,” Pacconi said. “The regulations will definitely have a cost for the dealer.”

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association President Mark Denzler said third-party time guides are meant for older vehicles that take more time to complete work. He said those guides are not meant for work covered by a manufacturer’s warranty, and the mandate will increase manufacturer costs by 50 percent.

“Manufacturers have estimated this will be a cost of about $225 million a year that ultimately is going to be passed on to consumers in higher prices,” Denzler said.

Before passing the bill Wednesday, Walsh said he hosted a call with the Chicago Car Dealers Association and a mechanic’s union that supports the bill and manufacturers that oppose the bill.

“I’ll be frank with you, it didn’t go well,” Walsh said. “There was a lot of yelling and screaming and talking over each other to where I had to stop the opponents numerous times.”

State Rep. Steven Reick, R-Woodstock, said the groups need to work this out, not the legislature.

“I don’t see any reason why the General Assembly has any business getting into this issue until they can actually sit down, act like adults, get in a room and come up with an agreement,” Reick said.

Other opponents worried the move could lead manufacturers to take away incentive programs in Illinois, pushing consumers to other states for vehicle purchases.

The measure is now in the Illinois Senate.

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