The right to repair refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own posessions. The right to repair concept originated in the automotive industry, but has since spread throughout various industries and sectors such as household appliances, farming and consumer electronics.
Over time, as products and technology have become more complex, manufacturers have implemented systems to restrict third-party repair, meaning consumers can only get their product repaired or serviced via the manufacturer directly. Manufacturers limit the availability of spare parts and intentionally make it difficult or impossible for third parties to repair or service their equipment. This is regarded as anti-competitive action.
Examples In the farming industry - many farmers that had purchased John Deere tractors later found out that they could not legally get their equipment repaired anywhere other than a John Deere repair centre, where they would be charged double, versus what an independent repair centre would charge.
In consumer electronics - Apple do not sell replacement parts for their devices. They also serialize many of their components so that if the device detects that a part has been replaced, it will give the user an error message or even cease functioning entirely.
In the automotive industry - car manufacturers such as Tesla implement measures to prevent mechanics from running diagnostics on their vehicles.
This inefficient model enables providers to increase profit by relying on high failure rates of their products and technology - meaning poorer quality of service for users at a greater cost.
These measures repeatedly leave consumers and business owners at a loss.
For Us, As An Independent Electronics Repair Centre The right to repair is a critical movement for our industry.
If you've ever had your phone, tablet or computer repaired, this affects you.
Electronics manufacturers are making it increasingly difficult for their products to be repaired by serializing parts to make components irreplaceable.
Thus, when a part fails, the consumer is left with no choice but to pay an extortionate fee to the manufacturer for repair, or to buy a brand new device.
What should be a £30.00 - £60.00 repair, is more often becoming a ~£1000 new phone.
The end result is shorter product life-cycles, which means greater cost to the consumer, massive environmental damage & e-waste, and increased gains to large corporations at the expense of small businesses and the repair industry.
Why You Should Care Would you buy a car if you couldn't replace the tyres?
We must protect our consumers rights - If you cannot choose to repair something that you have bought; you do not own it; you are renting it until it breaks.
Universal access to product manuals, schematics and spare parts.
Products that aren't intentionally designed to be difficult or impossible to repair.
Removal of warranty stickers, so that opening a product doesn't void manufacturer warranty.
Reparibility scores labeled on products, so consumers can make buying decisions based on how easy and cost-effective it is to get their products repaired.
Extending the product life cycle of appliances and electrical goods is a huge economic and environmental win. We should not be disposing of and replacing perfectly good appliances that require a simple repair.
"We deserve the right to repair the things we own, and so does the environment"
A tremendous video by Marques Brownlee, featuring Louis Rossman, about the current state of technology and right to repair legislation.
See how manufacturers such as Apple, Tesla & John Deere restrict and punish consumers for modifying their products: