In this world of same-day deliveries and endless phone upgrades, the idea of repairs seems unnecessary to some. To others, it’s a livelihood or a passion, and technology companies are making it harder and harder for these repairs to happen.
The Right to Repair is a proposed legislation movement that started in the United States in 2003 and spread to countries around the world. It would give technicians access to the correct materials they need for repairs.In 2013, the Digital Right to Repair Coalition formed and has continued to lead the charge in legislative efforts at the state level and around the world.
However, the Right to Repair is a somewhat controversial topic when thinking about it from a business perspective. Those on the side of companies may argue that selling products that are easy to take apart and repair could lead to reverse engineering of those products. Additionally, any faulty repairs made by technicians could be blamed on companies.
While this is a valid concern, we have never seen widespread issues in similar scenarios like car repairs. Companies will often sell components to any garage with a vendor’s license for cars.
A reason companies might do this is to encourage consumers to buy their newer products. This tactic is nothing new. For example, it’s been well documented that lightbulbs were built not to last so that people would have to buy them more frequently. This isn’t evil or sinister; it’s just a company trying to make money to pay themselves and their employees. At the same time, not everyone can afford a $1,000 phone if there are accidental breaks. That’s where local repair shops can make a difference.
Corporations have also been recently pushing a more eco-friendly claim with their products. However, if they do not support repairing instead of buying new, their words mean nothing as they generate more waste through their consumers.
Now the “Right to Repair” movement isn’t seeking to force corporations to invest millions into making devices more sturdy or having them release detailed schematics for all their products. All that’s being asked is that companies offer parts for sale and supply guides to open up devices.
Last July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order that will begin to help repair shops gain access to the necessary materials. However, the movement still has a long way to go before long-term protections are secured.
Whether you do the repairs yourself or take your devices somewhere to be repaired, we as consumers all deserve to have the right to repair. For more information on current legislation and pushes for reform, check out IFIXIT.com