Everyone’s A Genius – What “Right to Repair” Laws Means to You and the Planet
The “right to repair” has been a heated debate in the world of personal tech devices since 2019, when computer and cell phone makers started restricting the consumers’ ability to have their devices fixed outside of manufacturer repair centers. A July 2021 Federal Trade Commission report said computer/phone makers “repair restrictions are steering consumers into their repair networks or to replace products before the end of their useful lives.”
In an abrupt about-face on repair rights, Apple will now offer some tools and parts so owners can repair their own phones, conceding to pressure from consumer groups, lawmakers who introduced bills in more than half the states and President Joe Biden. In a sense, Apple is giving people what they want while also trying to avoid government regulations. The self-repair tools and parts will first be available for iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 with availability for Mac computer repairs to come early in 2022.
Who Wants To Fix Their Own iPhone?
Most people don’t want self service repair options for their phone but they do want an affordable option to get back up and running quickly. They also don’t want to be forced to buy new when their gadgets start to age. At ClickAway, we’ve been repairing MacBooks since 2002 and fixing iPhones for the past 14 years. Get your parts from Apple and we can install them or have us do the whole thing. Finally, you can decide your device’s fate with repair rights granted. With ClickAway, you’ll have the confidence by knowing you have an OEM part from Apple and reliance you have a skilled technician doing the repair. Want to give self service repair a try? No problem, we are here to help at home repairs if you need us.
Apple’s announcement is welcome news but isn’t as comprehensive as the Right to Repair reforms being discussed in more than two dozen state legislatures. Just because a computer’s RAM is tired, doesn’t mean you should be forced to buy an entirely new computer. Soldered batteries and other components to a circuit board to prevent part swapping is unfair to the consumer.
The FTC report is lengthy but articles in the news about right to repair are shedding light. Here are some of the points against computer and cell phone manufacturer tactics these reports are stressing:
Tactics that make it difficult for customers to repair their products
Product design that complicates or prevents repairs
- Lack of parts availability and repair information
- Designed to reduce the safety of independent repairs
- A policy or statement that directs the consumer to the manufacturer’s network
- Application of patent rights and enforcement of trademarks
- Slander of independent repairs
- Slander of OEM part usage (read further down about laws that prohibit this practice)
- Software locks and firmware updates
- End user license agreement
Why are manufacturers trying to stop right to repair?
According to an article in California News Times in May, 2021, “Manufacturers have long argued that there are good reasons for at least some of these restrictions. These include intellectual property protection, cybersecurity, and possible safety risks associated with an independent repairer opening the device and replacing a failed part. But opens in a new windowFTC hasn’t bought it. “There is little evidence to support the manufacturer’s justification for repair restrictions,” he added, adding that “most” of the manufacturer’s explanations for repair restrictions are “not supported by records.””
What laws currently exist to allow consumers to repair their products?
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (1975 – Section 102(c), 15 U.S.C. 2302(c), prohibits product manufacturers from conditioning consumer warranties on the use of any original equipment part or service. A manufacturer can only deny warranty coverage if it can demonstrate that a non-original equipment part or related service caused a defect to occur in the original product. In the case of motor vehicles, new car manufacturers have ignored these conditions outlined in Magnuson-Moss. They have misled consumers to believe that they must have dealer service shops install only original equipment replacement parts or fear having their new car warranty voided. The FTC is calling for greater enforcement of this law and your ability to do at home repairs.
The FTC goes further and says to report skeptical manufacturer repair tactics at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. We’ll continue to keep you updated as laws concerning right to repair are enforced.