Right-to-repair is getting closer in the US, but critics say it will harm consumers

The CEO and co-founder at iFixit, the CEO, said that no country has ever been able to successfully implement a right–to-repair law. He says that the United States is now in a strong position to secure right-to-repair legislation, thanks to a Presidential executive order, and the intense pressure from consumer advocates. The Federal Trade Commission released a policy statement last week committing to prioritize aggressive action against manufacturers that impose unfair repair restrictions. This announcement was made days after President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the FTC to do this. Kyle Wiens stated that while the U.S. passed right-to repair legislation, it does not apply to the auto industry. VPN Deals: A lifetime license for $16, and monthly plans starting at $1. & More "The only reason that your local mechanic is able to get information from Ford about how to fix cars is because there are existing right-to-repair rules," he stated. "(Other legislation) would make a huge impact (in a variety industries), and that's why we need to level out the playing field. He says that the goal is to create a new law that covers technology manufacturers in a broad range of industries, including banking, tech platforms and labor markets. 27 states are currently considering some form of legislation for this year. However, what these states have done doesn't necessarily mean that it will be approved and made into law immediately. He said, "This is an ongoing battle that has been going on for a while." "Manufacturers are locking out people from their products more often. This is a crucial trend and where technology will go in the future. Either we intervene now and say that things must be repaired, or manufacturers can use new techniques to lock people out of their repair environment.Source: PRIGAlthough the right-to-repair movement has been around since the 1990s, Massachusetts passed a ballot initiative in 2012 that allowed consumers to fix their cars themselves or have it repaired by a mechanic. The manufacturer must provide all information, parts, tools, and other necessary materials to repair your car. The right-to-repair legislation, which would apply to all technology companies, allows consumers to modify and repair their technology with the help of the tools they need. This would mean that Big Tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung will have to make their repair manuals public, and sometimes sell parts to fix products. The new law would allow you to easily fix the most advanced Android devices. France has a right to repair standard. But it is not enough.Source: GoogleWeins points out that Apple's default is to "totally lock out people" and that other manufacturers are following that path. Weins states that as of right now, no country has been able adopt appropriate right-to-repair laws. He also says that France has created a standard that can help consumers but it is not enough. France is the only country that currently requires device manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft to provide better support and transparency for their products. France's repairability rating law mandates that all companies evaluate their products and then declare a score. This score is then monitored by France’s regulator. Companies use "detailed spreadsheets" to compile the score. It covers five categories worth 20% each: documentation, disassembly and availability of spare parts. Price of spare parts and product-specific assets. Kyle Wiens states that France is doing something really cool and is leading the way. Wiens stated that "What France has done is really impressive and they are leading in the way." Samsung conducted a study and found that 80% consumers would buy a device with a higher score. This is definitely a positive sign. In an interview, Carl Szabo (Vice-President and General Counsel of NetChoice), an industry group whose founders are Google, Facebook and Amazon, said that no country has figured out right to repair. He said that he believes it's not an important issue for other countries to call for it and/or recognize the potential consumer harm. Consumers could be hurt by right-to-repair, which lawmakers must understandSource: Android CentralSzabo was a former Republican-led FTC commissioner Orson Swindle. He explained that while the right to repair initiative and any legislation that could extend it to other devices are important, lawmakers must understand the potential harm consumers could inflict on themselves if they attempt to fix their phones by themselves or allow an unlicensed dealer to do so. Let's say that my father's Samsung phone screen has broken. I take it to the mall, and pay someone to fix it. The phone then starts to malfunction a few weeks later. Is it your fault? It's possible to say you won't buy a Samsung phone again, but it could have been Samsung's fault and the repair shop. He said that if the manufacturer proves it is a failure, they will have a strong defense. "But" he added.Right-to-repair critics claim that companies will deny additional warranty claims simply because they can't show the product was not tampered with.He pointed out that mandating access to the supply chains is not the same thing and that the discussion about failure to repair something should be included if right-to-repair legislation has been introduced. In Forbes, Tim Bajarin (chairman of Creative Strategies) adds to the discussion, noting that he supports the FTC making it easier to repair smartphones and other complex tech devices. I don't think it is wise to extend it to users. It is possible for companies to make products more complicated than those who attempt to fix the device. He states that if someone attempts to repair their phone themselves and fails, the FTC must "explain in detail" the answers to specific questions. Who is responsible for fixing the device? What happens if the device is damaged in the repair attempt? Which responsibility should the manufacturer of the device be held responsible for, if any? The FTC ruling will override any company warranty policies. How can manufacturers compensate for losses incurred by unauthorized dealers who fix products?Source: Hayato Huseman / Android CentralMany people who disagree with the right to repair legislation argue that manufacturers lose money by not allowing consumers to fix their products directly. Wiens stated that in such a situation, companies should sell their intellectual properties. Sell parts to make money. He said that you can sell the tools and enjoy the benefits of customer goodwill. "For example, Samsung should make parts. They also need to make it affordable. Part of the problem is that while some shops can get parts from Samsung, the costs for repairs are prohibitive. While Samsung can make it hard to repair certain products, Wiens pointed out that Samsung's Galaxy Buds are an excellent example of a simple fix. He said that Samsung's Galaxy Buds feature a removable battery. "It's very simple and easy to change the battery, and that's what we love about it." It's a great design, and it receives good reviews. It is comfortable and easily repairable. The AirPods receive a zero rating, while the Buds are rated an eight. Szabo is a strong believer in the right-to repair movement, but mandating companies to disclose intellectual property does not "match the reality." "(iFixit is a wonderful website. You can find out how to fix your Samsung device right away by going there. He said that the whole website was built on telling people how to repair their devices, even if they don't have those manuals." "So, the argument that there is an information gap doesn't match reality, especially for consumer-sided device because of websites such as iFixit, YouTube videos, or Reddit." To level the playing fields, legislation allowing right-to-repair must be in place