Companies like Apple and Microsoft are updating policies as ‘right to repair’ spreads

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Having trouble replacing a cell phone battery? It’s not at all like changing the batteries in your flashlight. In a recent webinar hosted by consumer group CALPIRG, iFixit, a do-it-yourself repair website, showed what a cell phone owner has to go through.

“In order to get into the phone to access the battery, you have to remove the back, remove the front. It’s a huge amount of work to get to the battery,” says iFixit’s Kyle Wiens. “It’s a bit like having a car where you have to remove the engine to change a tire.”

Consumer group CALPIRG is working to change this by supporting Right to Repair legislation. He set up a repair bulletin. Some of the biggest companies don’t get Aces.

“They will make it difficult to get to the parts you need,” says Sander Kushen of CALPIRG. “They could make it very difficult to even take your device apart, so the process of opening it can be very difficult and they may just demand and allow access to their authorized repair shop.”

VIDEO: Right to Repair bill could save families $330 a year, supporters say

Susan Rakov lives in Santa Barbara. She says “Right to Repair” could have helped when her dryer stopped working and the repair technician said it would cost hundreds of dollars just for parts.

“I said to the guy, ‘There has to be another way, there has to be another way’, and he said, ‘Well, I could put a hole in the front of the dryer'” , she says.

He did, and four years later the dryer is working just fine.

The idea of ​​requiring companies to make parts, tools and software available to buyers and third-party repair shops is gaining ground. Even President Joe Biden tweeted about it.

the tweet read in part“When you own a product, you should be able to fix it yourself. That’s why I included ‘right to repair’ support in my executive order. Now companies like Apple and Microsoft are changing their policies …”

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Apple declined a service request, but pointed to this webpage and the company’s changing policy for consumers to access parts, tools and manuals. The new policy will come into effect later this year.

Microsoft also declined an interview, but sent a written statement that reads in part: “We are committed to designing our products to deliver what customers need and want in a premium device and that includes increased repairability…”

Again, CALPIRG’s Sander Kushen: “It’s an issue people are concerned about on both sides of the aisle, and you know, how they should love it, if you own something, you should be able to fix it. “

Check out more stories and videos from Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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