The Right to Repair movement is growing quickly all over the world. Currently, 25 U.S. states and several countries are seeking to create laws assuring that consumers have not only the right, but the ability to make repairs at home or in the office.
My dad had a tool to fix and repair every appliance and every car we ever owned growing up. As technology has gotten more advanced, it has gotten harder to do it yourself and keep your vehicles, computers, cellphones, and appliances in working order. Companies like Apple, John Deere, and others make it nearly impossible with every new iteration of devices companies produce to repair items yourself.
Vice reports that Kerry Maeve Sheehan, the U.S. policy lead for the repair community iFixit, said, "Right to Repair is unstoppable and coming to a state near you. Lawmakers everywhere are seeing that Right to Repair is common sense: You buy a product, you own it, and you should be able to fix it. With 25 states considering Right to Repair legislation in the U.S., it’s only a matter of time before Right to Repair is the law of the land."
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Right to Repair is a major issue on a grand scale that goes further than just repairing our iPhone screens at home. During the Covid-19 pandemic, many states were having issues getting life-saving ventilators repaired quickly or at all. Even though most of the repairs were minor and could've been done by hospital staff, they were forced to wait on company technicians to come to them during a pandemic to repair the life-saving devices. With this in mind, the states of California SB 605 and Hawaii SB 760 are working on getting the right to repair legislation on the books.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies were forced to shut operations down. This caused many people to try to repair things themselves or via local repair vendors. Apple shuttered many of their repair centers which made it nearly impossible for anyone to get their pricey gadgets fixed. Many took their still under manufacture warranty items to local repair shops throughout the country due to wait times being 8 weeks or more.
The States of Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Washington state are all working on broadening laws to most of the items we use every day.
This has not just been an issue for America. Many European Union countries are also supporting the right-to-repair and are pushing manufacturers to make repairs easier and more affordable. Gordon Byrne, executive director of Repair.org, said recently, "We see and feel the momentum building, “Legislation is moving not just in the United States but also around the globe. The time for manufacturers to get on the right side of their customers, and history, is now."
It might be time to dust off my dad's old tools and get to work around here.