Eighty-four percent of Americans said they agreed with a policy to require manufacturers to make repair information and parts available either to independent repair professionals or to product owners, according to a 2021 survey by Consumer Reports.
Consumer groups have been battling for decades for the right to repair.
Two positive actions have occurred recently on this issue:
New York became the first state in the country to enact a digital right to repair law late last year. It gives New York consumers the right to fix their electronic devices by a repair servicer of their choosing rather than being forced to go through the device manufacturer.
The law will save New York consumers money, provide them with more convenient repair options, and cut down on waste.
Similar bills are pending in states throughout the country and Congress is considering a Digital Fair Repair Act.
The American Farm Bureau Federation and John Deere signed an agreement about the agricultural right to repair on Sunday.
“This could be a significant step forward,” said Devin O’Reilly, right to repair campaign director for PIRG, a public interest group. “If Deere truly provides farmers and independent mechanics with the same repair materials that its dealers have, then we would shout our praise from the rooftops.”
However, O’Reilly said the agreement contains limited enforcement mechanisms and the best aspects of this agreement could get lost in the legalese.
He said state legislators should move full steam ahead with their right to repair bills and not view the agreement as a sign that the problem is solved.
“They should continue pushing Right to Repair legislation until every farmer in every state with every brand of equipment can fix every problem with every tractor,” O’Reilly said.
For more information, see “What Is Right to Repair?” on iFIXIT website.