California Introduces ‘right to repair’ bill for Electronics

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Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman has announced that she will be introducing the California Right to Repair Actt, joining 17 other US states with similar legislation on the table.

The legislation would require manufacturers of electronics to make diagnostic and repair information, as well as equipment or service parts, available to product owners and to independent repair shops.

Eggman said,

“The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence,”

People who can’t afford the high price of manufacturer-based repair services are increasingly forced to prematurely replace durable goods, such as phones, TVs, and appliances.

Repairing and reusing electronics is not only a more efficient use of the scarce materials that go into manufacturing the products, but it can also stimulate local economies instead of unsustainable overseas factories.

Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste said,

“People shouldn’t be forced to ‘upgrade’ to the newest model every time a replaceable part on their smartphone or home appliance breaks,”

“These companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks as we become a throw-away society that discards over 6 million tons of electronics every year.”

Apple, one of the main targets of “right to repair” bills, has in the past voiced opposition to such government action, arguing the legislation would expose industry secrets and could create security and safety issues for existing customers.

The company contends its products should only be serviced by qualified technicians, a stance that irks third-party repair firms.

Kit Walsh, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation said,

“The bill is critical to protect independent repair shops and a competitive market for repair, which means better service and lower prices. It also helps preserve the right of individual device owners to understand and fix their own property,”

“We should encourage people to take things apart and learn from them. After all, that’s how many of today’s most successful innovators got started.”

Conducting repairs through authorized outlets like Apple stores and vetted shops provides customers with a consistent experience, while an authorized repair network helps the company control and protect its various hardware platforms, Apple has previously said.

Maureen Mahoney, Policy Analyst for Consumers Union said,

“Consumers Union thanks Assemblymember Eggman for her efforts to ensure consumers have the choice to fix their own electronic devices or have them fixed by an independent repair servicer”,

“Consumers are now being forced to go back to the manufacturer for even simple repairs or refurbishing, or to throw out the device and buy a new one. We look forward to working with Assemblymember Eggman to secure this important ownership right for consumers.”

Emily Rusch, Executive Director of CALPIRG said,

“We should be working to reduce needless waste – repairing things that still have life — but companies use their power to make things harder to repair. Repair should be the easier, more affordable choice and it can be, but first we need to fix our laws,”

“Our recent survey, Recharge Repair, showed a surge in interest in additional repair options after Apple announced battery issues. The Right to Repair Act would give people those options.”

California joins 17 other states who have introduced similar legislation, which includes: Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia.

 

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