RIGHT TO REPAIR 2019

2019 has been another year where significant change has been noted.

Right to repair laws, also called fair repair laws, typically require manufacturers to publish repair manuals and sell the parts, diagnostic software, and tools needed to fix their products. The primary idea is to ensure consumers can repair their own devices, or pay an independent outfit to do so. Simply put, these bills argue that you bought the device, and you should be able to repair it.

Back in 2012, Massachusetts led the way on right-to-repair reform with the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, which was signed into law in 2013 and mandated that automakers make available the parts and information necessary for repairs—a major victory for consumers. 

The Massachusetts’ Digital Right to Repair act would require electronics manufacturers to make available diagnostic, service, and repair guides. Manufacturers would also be required to sell parts and tools required for service and repair, while also being prohibited from blocking repairs on a software or firmware level.

EVGA is a well know graphics card manufacturer. EVGA allows a customer to replace the thermal material on a card’s cooling system. EVGA will even send a customer new thermal pads if requested. If successful, the company and the consumer both win as there is no additional action needed. RMA is expensive and both EVGA and the customer would prefer to avoid it due to the cost. Unfortunately other graphics card vendors will refuse warranty for thermal problems or repair.

Two years ago the American Farm Bureau Federation, an influential political organization representing farmers, officially endorsed right to repair legislation.

None of the legislation is intended to hurt corporate secrets. The goal is simply to reduce the amount of waste.

Unlocking mobile phones was a big change for the industry. The bring your own device market has exploded due to the unlocked phone. This has brought lower cost services to consumers which is a success. New phones are still available but now the true prices are shown.

Apple reduced the price for new batteries for existing older phones. Prices vary depending on the model of phone. Watches also can have new batteries installed.

Apple also now has allowed more smaller independent shops to buy tools and parts. For example, Best Buy can now repair iPhones for customers.

Looking ahead the right to repair campaign is now growing world wide. The amount of waste has been reduced and it’s already having a measurable impact. In Europe. over $200 million a year are being saved and over 1 million tons of oil reduced.