Right-To-Repair: Consumers’ Device Repair Rights and Its Future

Let’s say you bought a laptop just a year ago for a huge sum of money. However, before the year has passed, there is a problem with the battery charge of the laptop. The battery condition is so bad that you have to run the laptop on charge all the time. 

In this you are deprived of the real benefits of using a laptop. That is, you can’t take the laptop anywhere. Instead of being forced to use it like a desktop computer. 

Again, you see there is no chance of putting a new battery in this laptop. But you have to work on the laptop outside the house. 

If this happens, you will be forced to spend a lot of money to buy another laptop, even though the previous laptop was working fine except for the battery problem. 

Many of us have had such experiences. Like a laptop, many people have to go through this experience when buying a mobile phone, car or any electronic product.

According to many, repairing electronic products is becoming difficult day by day. As a result, customers, buyers and consumers are becoming aware of their right to repair. And from this awareness the concept of ‘right-to-repair’ was born.

People’s movements to implement ‘right-to-repair’ policies are gaining momentum around the world. 

The concept of ‘right-to-repair’ is understood from its name. According to this concept, if you buy a product, you have the right to repair the product yourself or take it to a mechanic or mechanic of your choice.

People are becoming aware of ‘right-to-repair’ to give legal recognition to this right of product owner. 

Simply put, the customer’s right-to-repair is the right to change and repair any product he buys, such as cars, electronics or factory machinery. 

The reason for the awareness of this right is that many companies are currently imposing various restrictions on the repair of their products. It turns out that not all major brands of devices can be repaired. And everything that can be repaired, that too has to be repaired by going to their specific outlet. Also parts and software have to be bought only from certain companies. Many companies keep such conditions. 

However, the more countries around the world are becoming aware of environmental protection, the more progress is being made in the ‘Right-to-Repair’ movement. Many laws regarding this are being approved in the parliaments of different countries. 

Adoption of this right-to-repair policy across the world will have major implications for manufacturers and consumers.

That’s Why Right-To-Repair Is Important

The purpose of right-to-repair policy is to give the owner of the product and equipment the right to repair the equipment independently, so that the product can be used for a long time. 

Today, being able to repair products is becoming very important to consumers to ensure a sustainable, eco-friendly and equitable economy. Because if this right is possible, it will have a positive impact on the society and the environment.  

Right-To-Repair Movement Around The World

Many initiatives are being taken around the world to deal with product or device repair claims.  Consumers are becoming more aware of this right, especially in developed countries.  However, the impact of this awareness is also seen in other parts of the world.

In Europe

A proposal has recently come up in the legislature of the European Union. According to the proposal, the seller is obliged to repair or replace the defective product. Even if this proposal is passed, it will take 2 years for this law to come into force in the European Union. 

However, this proposal does not mention anything about third party or third party repair. But with the concept of right-to-repair, the customer should have the right to repair the device from wherever he wants. Otherwise it will be difficult for many buyers to get repairs from a particular outlet. 

The European Union was the first to discuss this consumer right. But now in other parts of the world progress is being made in realizing this right.

In North America

In the United States, efforts are being made to implement right-to-repair legislation primarily in technology, agricultural products, and automobiles. 

According to the report of the US Bureau of Labor, the cost of repairing vehicles in the country has increased by almost 20 percent in just one year. Consumers have to pay this extra cost mainly due to lack of vehicle information or data and non-availability of accident damaged parts.

To take these issues into consideration, proposals have been sent to Washington DC to approve two laws named ‘Repair Act’ and ‘Smart Act’. And the two laws have sparked quite a debate in that country. 

If the central government passes this law, it will not only reduce the cost to the motor vehicle users, but also the state governments will be likely to pass new laws regarding right-to-repair.

Massachusetts recently became the first US state to introduce a right-to-repair law to apply to the automotive industry. 

However, by the end of this year, the state of Maine is also supposed to pass the law on this matter. 

Tech giant Apple has agreed to pass a right-to-repair bill in California. Meanwhile, right-to-repair concepts are now being added to the automotive industry, along with agricultural machinery repair rights in several states, including Colorado. As a result this movement is getting bigger in size.

In all, only three US states have passed right-to-repair laws in 2023. However, more than 20 states have already introduced bills on this issue.

In Other Regions Of The World

Right-to-repair awareness is emerging in many regions on a small scale and in some cases. The law is passed. In 2021, right-to-repair legislation began to be discussed in India. Right-to-repair legislation was passed in the UK in the same year. 

Australia has also recently passed right-to-repair legislation to apply to the automotive industry.

How The Right-To-Repair Policy Will Affect Businesses

A right-to-repair policy is expected to affect many industries. Among these are household electronics, automobiles and agricultural machinery manufacturing industries. Right-to-repair will have the greatest impact on the home appliance or consumer appliance manufacturing industry. 

But right-to-repair will have a big impact on Apple’s business. Because Apple devices have their own charging ports and cables. They also specify the term of use of the software. This is how Apple incentivizes consumers to buy their newer models when problems arise with older products. 

As a whole, if the ‘right-to-repair’ law is created, many other companies like Apple will have to change this business method.

But there is another type of risk in enacting a right-to-repair policy. And that is cyber security. Tech companies will then need to address cybersecurity risks without mandating the use of their own software and hardware. Therefore, they have to find new and alternative ways compared to the present time.

How Right-To-Repair Laws Affect Product Design And Manufacturing

Such laws can have a long-term impact on product design, manufacturing, pricing, and product cancellation. Although these laws are being formulated keeping in mind the benefits of the consumers, it will result in a situation where the manufacturing companies will face new realities. 

As such, manufacturers may then compromise product quality. Because they can try to make up the income shortfall by selling bad products that could have been earned from repairs. Or companies may even increase the price of the product under the pretext of ‘free repair’.

New Opportunities ForCooperation

Support for right-to-repair laws is building primarily from consumers. Implementation of right-to-repair legislation could create many new areas of cooperation in new production systems. 

Among the brands that support the right-to-repair policy and make direct promises to make their products more durable and repairable, consumers are more inclined towards them. At the same time investors are also supporting them.

Considering all these things, it seems that right-to-repair legislation around the world is only a matter of time in the future. However, as a preparation for this, some additional steps must be taken by the organization. 

As such, technology companies must increase their focus on cyber security. One should see what kind of defects in their products require repair. They need to ensure that all parts needed for general repairs including software, semiconductor diagrams, data sheets or service parts are within easy reach. 

If these initiatives are taken, the companies will be able to guard against counterfeiting of their products, as well as in the future they will be able to run their business easily in accordance with the right-to-repair policy.

Companies that think about the future in this way will want to correct their mistakes first. 

Above all, manufacturers should design their products in such a way that product life and durability are increased and the need for repairs is reduced. In this way, the obligation to comply with the new rules will be reduced.

The Future Of Right-To-Repair

Although right-to-repair legislation is gaining popularity, its future is far from rosy. 

Hopefully, right-to-repair laws will be passed around the world. However, some factors may hinder the full implementation of such laws.

Also in the future there will be more concern about environmental issues like e-waste. And if right-to-repair is implemented, less e-waste will be generated. 

Final right-to-repair legislation will no doubt be based on a compromise between consumers and manufacturers. So that manufacturers can make products according to the needs of consumers, it will also be aimed at. 

All things considered, in the next few years we will see the implementation of right-to-repair laws in various parts of the world. 

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