Repairing something that’s broken might seem like a very simple logical process. But depending on which one of your possessions breaks down, the process of getting it repaired can get complicated. In fact, there is an entire legislation in the US called the Right to Repair.
This little-known but important bill covers a lot of consumer rights, as well as regulations on how companies can operate post-sales services. If you haven’t had the time to acquaint yourself with this fairly new legislation, here’s everything you need to know about it to understand and ensure your rights as a customer.
What Does the Right to Repair Cover?
The Right to Repair legislation is a fairly new one that was passed in 2019, a few months before the Covid 19 pandemic started. This is a comprehensive legislation that deals with repair coverage for a large array of products, ranging from smartphones to farming equipment. The legislation was initially drafted after many electronic and gadget manufacturers started problematic practices.
In a nutshell, the legislation deals with a customer’s right to repair the products that they purchased legally from any service provider of their choosing. The legislation also mandates manufacturers to make product information, parts, and tools available; OS unlocking and ensuring changes in product design that allows for repairs.
Currently, the bill has been passed and implemented in 28 states as of 2021 with bipartisan support. If you own a Mac, then this is very good news for you. If you find your computer slow and freezing, you no longer have to take it to an official Apple servicing center to have it checked and repaired.
Product manufacturers that have products that are difficult to repair, such as laptops and smartphones, often take advantage of legal loopholes and the customer’s lack of product knowledge to tack on extra costs for repair.
The most egregious offender is Apple, which has over the years degraded its battery life by forcing iOS updates which became a central point for the customer rights movement, leading to the legislation. The new legislation has forced Apple and many other big-brand companies, including car manufacturers, to make services more affordable and transparent.
They have done so by allowing third-party vendors to conduct repair and servicing of their products. It also ensures that manufacturers have to design their products in such a way that it doesn’t hinder software or hardware repairs.
How Does This New Legislation Affect Consumers?
This new legislation has a significant impact on customers in many ways. These days, most electronic products and gadgets are designed in such a way that it’s impossible to repair them without permanent damage. This forces customers to be at the mercy of the manufacturers who are the only ones capable of dismantling and repairing the device properly.
One of the biggest problems with this monopoly is that manufacturers often charge an arm and a leg to get your broken device up and running again. The Right to Repair legislation ensures this doesn’t happen anymore as you can get your device repaired for a more reasonable and affordable price. This also directly leads to fewer product returns which is actually a win for manufacturers.
Manufacturers often use underhanded tactics to force customers to turn to them when things break down by using proprietary parts, providing no repair manual or documentation, or simply welding or gluing parts together.
Since the pandemic, more and more consumers and customers are taking things into their own hands when it comes to repairing things. With the pandemic-driven inflation severely restricting everyone’s finances, this legislation will definitely prove beneficial in the years to come for both consumers and certain industries.
Depending on which state you live in, there is still a massive war being waged by many corporations against this legislation. With major corporations like Facebook, Toyota, Verizon, and more lobbying against it, there are still many states that have yet to adopt this legislation. But considering more than half the country has already adopted it with unilateral support, the future looks bright.
Stepping Into the Future
The Right to Repair bill is a very important piece of legislation that will be remembered as a nod to customer rights. The legislation has already benefited thousands of customers since it was introduced in 2019, and will only continue to help more in the years to come. So show your support for this bill if it hasn’t been adopted in your state already and join millions in their fight to break the tech monopoly.