During the open At Wednesday’s meeting of the commission, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously voted to enforce laws surrounding repair rights. Customers will be able to repair their own electronic and automotive devices.
Support for the FTC’s rules is not a surprising outcome; The issue of the right to repair has been significantly bipartisan, and the FTC issued a lengthy report in May itself that manufacturers banned repairs. But 5 to 0 votes indicate the commission’s commitment to enforcing both the federal antitrust law and the main law surrounding consumer protection – the Magnusson Moss Warranty Act – when it comes to personal device repair.
The vote, led by new FTC chairperson and well-known tech critic Leena Khan, also comes 12 days after President Biden signed a comprehensive executive order promoting competition in the US economy. The order addresses various industries ranging from banks to airlines, tech companies. But part of it encourages the FTC, which operates as an independent agency, to create new rules that prevent companies from restricting repair options for customers.
“When you buy an expensive product, let it be, whether it’s a million-dollar tractor or a thousand-dollar phone, you’re in a very real sense under the manufacturer’s power,” says Tim Woo, the president’s special assistant. For technical and competitive policy within the National Economic Council. “And while they have repair specifications that are unreasonable, there’s not much you can do.”
Wu added that the right to repair has become a “visual example” of the enormous imbalance between workers, consumers, small businesses and large companies.
The FTC vote is a U.S. This is the second victory of the Right to Repair movement in, led by advocacy groups such as the US Public Interest Research Group, as well as private companies such as California-based company Ifixit, which sells gadget repair kits. Publishes repair manual for DIY tincture. Proponents of the right to repair have long argued that consumers should have access to the tools, parts, documentation and software needed to fix the products they have, whether it’s a smartphone or a tractor.
These groups also speed up instances in which large manufacturers block or limit options for independent product repairs or force customers to return directly to the manufacturer, who then charges a premium for the fix. And it’s not just a matter of fixing broken glass on a smartphone or repairing an impossibly small smartwatch: During the height of the coronavirus epidemic in the spring of 2020, medical device engineers began talking about the dangers of not having access. In times of crisis, repair equipment for critical devices such as ventilators.
As more products are made through internet connectivity – from smartphones to cars to refrigerators – the issue of repair rights has become increasingly complex. Advocates for the repair say customers should have access to all data collected on their personal devices, and independent repair shops should have access to the same software software diagnostic tools that are in “authorized” stores.
“I urge the FTC to use its rule-making power to strengthen basic consumer and private property rights, and to update it for the digital age, as manufacturers seek to turn millions of technology owners into tenants of their own property.” During a public comment section of today’s FTC meeting, Roberts, founder of SecurePiers.org, said “the digital right to repair is an important tool that will extend the life of electronic devices.”