When your car has a problem, your instinct is probably to take it to the mechanic. But when something goes wrong with your smartphone – say a shattered screen or a depleted battery – you’ll wonder: “Is it time to buy a new one?”

That’s because as well as our customers ’electronics have become as important as they have become, however, the idea of ​​tech repair is still not planted in our collective consciousness. Studies have shown that when tech products start to fail, most people tend to buy new things instead of fixing old ones.

“Repairs are inconvenient and difficult, so people don’t look for them,” said Nathan Proctor, director of the US Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy group working on legislation to make tech repairs more accessible. “Because people don’t expect things to be repaired, they change things when it comes to repairing things.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. If the cars in it were more practical, many of us could retain our car products. If we all had more access to parts, instructions and tools to revive products, repairs would be easier and less expensive.

This base is at the heart of the “Repair to Repair” Act as a proposed part of a law that activists and tech companies have been fighting for almost a decade. Recently, right-wing repair supporters had two big wins. In May, the Federal Trade Commission released a report explaining how tech companies were hurting competition by banning repairs. And last Friday, President Biden issued an executive order that included a directive to the FTC to limit how tech manufacturers could prohibit repairs.

The FTC is due to meet next week to discuss new policies on electronics repair. Here’s what you need to know about the fight for your right to fix gadgets.

The law, previously proposed in about two dozen states and now being debated at the federal level, would require tech and device manufacturers to provide anyone with the tools, instructions and parts needed to fix their smartphones, tablets, computers and refrigerators. , As well as other products.

It will be a big shift. Technology companies currently only provide service equipment and parts to a network of officially approved partners, including service centers such as Best Buy and some independent repair shops, including major brands. These official partners generally follow strict rules, including the use of genuine parts purchased directly from the manufacturer, so customer costs may be higher than repairs performed by unauthorized repair centers.

By making resources more widely available, unofficial repair centers can more easily compete to reduce costs. And that would make repairs a more lucrative option than buying a new gadget.

Tech products are among our most expensive household purchases, and their prices keep rising. Not long ago, a high-end smartphone was priced at 50,650. Today, the new Apple Pal and Samsung phones start at $ 700 and $ 800.

U.S. According to a study by the Public Interest Research Group, the average household saves 330 a year if it repairs products instead of replacing them, adding 40 40 billion nationwide.

By prolonging the life of your gadgets, you will be able to make even more use of the energy, metals, plastics and human labor invested in making the product.

There are many hurdles to repairing consumer electronics that can scare him.

  • Basic repairs, such as replacing a broken screen or a broken battery, are not easy. Modern gadgets are so thin and tightly glued together that they usually require special tools to move forward in the open. Buying genuine parts is also not straightforward – for example, you can’t go to the Apple Pal or Samsung website to order a replacement screen or battery.

  • Improving basic components is also becoming impractical for unauthorized repair shops, especially with Apple Pull phones. Many of the key components inside the new iPhone, including cameras, batteries and screens, require proprietary software software tools to get the job done, independent fixers said.

  • Going to Apple Pall and Micro .ft retail stores and authorized repair shops is an easy option, but the cost there can be so high that you might just be willing to buy a new device. When I took my wife’s iPhone to the Apple Plus store this year, I was quoted a a 280 to replace the broken touch-screen, which is about 40 percent of the price of a brand-new iPhone. I turned the other way instead.

Independent fixers gain access to equipment, parts and instructions for repairs when devices register in partnership with tech companies to become authorized service centers. But Kyle Wines, chief executive of Ifixit, which publishes a free instruction guide for people to reinstall their gadgets, said many independent fixers were shut down by the terms of the contract to become authoritative.

One of the requirements to become an authorized Apple bridge repair center includes detailed service records, including customer names, product serial numbers, and mailing addresses. This information must be provided to the information bridge in the event of an information date to verify that the repair is being performed properly. Even if a repair provider terminates its contract with Apple Pal, it must agree to continue sharing this information with the company for two years.

There is also the issue of price. Shakeel Tayyab, an independent fixture in South San Francisco, said he charged customers lower prices because he had obtained authoritative parts from defective gadgets through channels such as Ka ract Nara Electronics Refurbishers. (He charged પત્ની 180 to fix my wife’s iPhone screen, slashing the Apple Play Store by 100 dollars.)

Mr. Tayyab said that if he became an authorized provider, he would follow the rules, which could result in an increase in prices for his customers – something he said he did not want to do.

Apple Play declined to comment. It cites a news release stating that there are 1,500 authorized, independent repair centers in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Apple Pal, Microsoft .ft, Amazon and Google have all contributed to the lobbying efforts against the Right-to-Repair Act. The most common argument is safety – the idea that people with access to repair and diagnostic tools can make illegal repairs and steal people’s data.

Technet, a trade group representing N Paul, Google, Amazon and others, said starting repairs could put customers at a disadvantage.

Allowing a third party of sensitive diagnostic information, software, software, tools and parts to averaged third parties would endanger the security of consumers’ devices and put consumers at risk of fraud, Technet executive Carl Holschhauser said in a statement.

But the FTC concluded in its report that “there is weak evidence to support manufacturers’ justification for repair restrictions.”

When your car breaks down, you can take it to the dealership’s service center or get a potentially cheaper service at an independent mechanic. Mostly, the car is more customized than the rear parts, and basic maintenance and repair jobs like changing oil or replacing a cracked windshield do not require special software.

In 2012, Massachusetts enacted a proper-to-repair law for om tomobiles, and ma tomakers agreed to adopt the law’s requirements across the country. As cars developed to rely more heavily on computers, the law helped independent mechanics to make specialized tools and instructions widely available for repairs.

“When your car breaks down, you know exactly what to do,” Mr. Proctor said. “You find a mechanic, you pay, and he’s back. If you don’t like your mechanic, you’ll find another. Or you can go to the dealer if you want. “

In other words, buying a new car is the last resort. And buying a new phone can be one too.