June 18, 2021

Here's some hopeful news for consumers: The right-to-repair movement has made it to Congress. Yesterday, Rep. Joseph Morelle of New York filed legislation that would make it easier for consumers to fix their own broken gadgets without being locked into paying manufacturers. Via Gizmodo:

If passed, the Fair Repair Act would require manufacturers to give device owners and third-party repair shops access to replacement parts, diagnostic information, and tools needed to repair their electronics. To date, most right-to-repair legislation has been introduced at the state level, but this bill would establish a nationwide standard.

“For too long, large corporations have hindered the progress of small business owners and everyday Americans by preventing them from the right to repair their own equipment,” Morelle said in a statement Thursday. “It’s long past time to level the playing field... and put the power back in the hands of consumers. This common-sense legislation will help make technology repairs more accessible and affordable for items from cell phones to laptops to farm equipment, finally giving individuals the autonomy they deserve.”

Under Morelle’s bill, the Federal Trade Commission would be allowed to penalize companies found in violation of the legislation. Penalties could include forcing manufacturers to pay damages or give refunds to customers.

How does the corporate repair monopoly work? For instance, a farmer owns a John Deere tractor:

And of course we're not supposed to fix our own cars anymore:

Right to repair affects more than you think:

Not everyone's good at it, of course. But a lot of people are:

Can you help us out?

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