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California Joins a Growing list of States Proposing 'Right to Repair' Legislation that Apple will no doubt Oppose

1 X cover right to repair


In February 2017 Patently Apple posted a report titled "Apple Set to Fight 'Right to Repair' Legislation in Nebraska." We noted in the report that the legislation would require Apple and other electronics manufacturers to sell repair parts to consumers and independent repair shops, and would require manufacturers to make diagnostic and service manuals available to the public. Nebraska was one of eight states that were considering right to repair bills; last month, Nebraska, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, and Wyoming introduced legislation. Last week, lawmakers in Illinois and Tennessee officially introduced similar bills. Now California is getting involved.


In a press release posted yesterday, assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) announced that she will be introducing the California Right to Repair Act. The legislation would require manufacturers of electronics to make diagnostic and repair information, as well as equipment or service parts, available to product owners and to independent repair shops.


Eggman wrote: "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.


People who can't afford the high price of manufacturer-based repair services are increasingly forced to prematurely replace durable goods, such as phones, TVs, and appliances. Repairing and reusing electronics is not only a more efficient use of the scarce materials that go into manufacturing the products, but it can also stimulate local economies instead of unsustainable overseas factories.


Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste added: "People shouldn't be forced to 'upgrade' to the newest model every time a replaceable part on their smartphone or home appliance breaks. These companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks as we become a throw-away society that discards over 6 million tons of electronics every year."


In recent months Apple has been hit with 60+ class actions for devising a product obsolescence scheme by purposely slowing Apple batteries in older iPhones. The commentary from Mr. Murray implies that not allowing consumers to repair their devices at a repair shop of their choice is another form of business model to force upgrades prematurely.


The assemblyman's press release further noted that Kit Walsh, Senior Staff Attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation stated that "The bill is critical to protect independent repair shops and a competitive market for repair, which means better service and lower prices. It also helps preserve the right of individual device owners to understand and fix their own property. We should encourage people to take things apart and learn from them. After all, that's how many of today's most successful innovators got started."


Maureen Mahoney, Policy Analyst for Consumers Union also added that "Consumers Union thanks Assemblymember Eggman for her efforts to ensure consumers have the choice to fix their own electronic devices or have them fixed by an independent repair servicer. Consumers are now being forced to go back to the manufacturer for even simple repairs or refurbishing, or to throw out the device and buy a new one. We look forward to working with Assemblymember Eggman to secure this important ownership right for consumers."


Emily Rusch, Executive Director of CALPIRG added to the press release by stating that "We should be working to reduce needless waste – repairing things that still have life -- but companies use their power to make things harder to repair. Repair should be the easier, more affordable choice and it can be, but first we need to fix our laws. Our recent survey, Recharge Repair, showed a surge in interest in additional repair options after Apple announced battery issues. The Right to Repair Act would give people those options."


The states proposing such legislation has more than doubled in the last year to 18 which now includes California, Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia.


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