Today, when the keyboard on your laptop malfunctions or the charging port on your phone stops working, you’re only left with one option – take the device to an authorized dealer and pay for the service centre to repair it. It’s expensive, costly and something that should change. But with the right to repair legislation becoming more popular across England and the United States, such changes might happen sooner than expected.
It’s very hard for me to recall when I last tried to repair anything. Perhaps it was a PC upgrade on my laptop, but it has been over 5 years since I tried to replace or swap a major component or fix my PC, let alone repair my iPhone’s speaker.
What Is A Right To Repair?
The right to repair is the movement for creating government legislation that will allow businesses and consumers to modify or repair their own commercial and consider equipment and devices. This is against the old practices of tech companies requiring businesses or consumers to use their offered services. Also, it advocates and is still pushing for manufacturers to offer service manuals so that people or small repair shops have all information required to perform repairs.
Although this is a global problem, the main debate over such an issue is centered in European and US countries. Therefore, for instance, if you damage your Samsung, apple, and smartphone you might have to seek help from authorized service centers to repair your smartphone, else they will not honor the warranty claim. In few cases, some companies even issue scary messages saying the warranty becomes invalid when a person uses third-party parts on the devices.
Why Do People Need The Right To Repair?
Many products are not easy to repair. It might be impossible to open some products without completely destroying them, especially the wireless earbuds, although at times people come up with novel solutions.
For unknown reasons, manufacturers use different tricks to make the repair more difficult, like gluing parts together, failing to publish proper repair documentation and the use of proprietary screws. More websites have been developed over the past few years to provide product repair documentation and “teardowns”.
It’s an undisputed fact that increased reparability will see a reduction in e-waste. Any manufacturer who cares about the environment should make it easier for consumers to repair their devices.
Take Apple Inc. for example, this is exactly how things play out with this tech giant. While Apple boasts of having a Genius Bar for repairing their devices, not every town in the UK has a functional apple store. It gets worse if you travel to rural areas where you might have to drive several hours to find one. After many years of discussion, apple ultimately opened its phone tools and parts in 2019 to third-party repair shops. This expanded to Mac computers in 2020, but the company still makes laptops that can’t be easily repaired or upgraded by buyers. The right to repair will ensure that companies like Apple make those repair tools and parts, alongside documentation available to all consumers.
What you should know about right to repair. (2021, July 15). Wirecutter: Reviews for the Real World. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/what-is-right-to-repair/
Why you should care about your right to repair gadgets. (2021, July 14). The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/technology/personaltech/right-to-repair-iphones-android.html
Bartz, D. S. (2021, July 6). Biden seeks to lift limits on farmer deals with meat processors, tractor makers. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-biden-sides-with-farmers-over-right-repair-tractor-software-battle-2021-07-06/