California 'Right to Repair' Legislation Would Force Gadget Makers To Provide Repair Details And Parts

Phone Repair

California is attempting to push through legislation that would requires smartphone makers and other electronic gadget manufactures to provide consumers with diagnostic and repair information, as well as equipment or service parts. The proposed "Right to Repair Act" is in response to the growing difficulty of do-it-yourself repairs, both on the part of product owners and independent repair shops.

"The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence," Eggman said.

There are multiple angles being considered here. One is that manufacturers typically charge a high price to repair products, whether it is a busted display on a smartphone or a failing power board in a television. In many cases, customers ended up purchasing a brand new product and prematurely retiring their broken one, rather than having it repaired (or fixing it themselves).

Tying into that is the added waste that comes from discarded electronics that might have otherwise been salvaged. Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste, notes that "companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and pocketbooks as we become a throwaway society that discards over 6 million tons of electronics every year."

California is not alone in its mission to make repairing electronics a more feasible option. There are 17 other states that have introduced similar legislation, including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia.

We will have to wait and see how manufacturers respond. In the meantime, iFixIt is an excellent resource for learning how to repair various electronics and often posts informative teardowns of different gadgets. It also sells a bunch of specialized tools for electronics repair.

Thumbnail/Top Image Source: Pixabay via Bru-nO