Five U.S. states have recently introduced bills against authorized repairs, a business model used by some consumer electronics manufacturers interested in monopolizing repair services for their products. Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York have all introduced the so-called "Right to Repair" bills in January. The new legislation would force manufacturers to sell replacement parts for their products to third-party repair companies and make their service manuals and diagnostic tools available to the public. If passed, these bills will likely put a stop on repair monopolies nurtured by Apple and some other consumer electronics manufacturers in the country.
The proposed bills were modeled after a law passed in Massachusetts in 2012, the Motor Vehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act which affected the automotive repair industry in the U.S. in a similar manner in which state legislators are now hoping their bills will affect the consumer electronics repair industry. The 2012 law passed in Massachusetts set a precedent and is currently applied in virtually every state in the country as the automotive industry didn't want to resist the change and risk having to deal with 50 different state laws on automotive repair. Proponents of this type of regulation are now hoping that one of New York, Kansas, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Nebraska will pass its proposed bills by the end of the year and put an end to consumer electronics repair monopolies. The proposed legislation would affect manufacturers of all consumer electronics, from smartphones and tablets to computers, microwaves, and refrigerators.
This regulatory change is being advocated by Repair.org, an interest group formed by small repair companies which are claiming that their solution would not only bring down the cost of repairing consumer electronics but would also allow consumers to take matters into their own hands. Private individuals would have an easier time repairing their purchases on their own as all necessary diagnostic tools and service manuals would be available online and all replacement parts would be available for purchase. In addition to a decrease in repair prices, this type of regulation would theoretically reduce the amount of electronic waste as people would be less inclined to dispose of their broken electronics if they were able to repair them in a more efficient manner than they are now.