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What is right to fix;  How this is a big win for buyers and planet Earth

From smartphones to air conditioners and refrigerators, modern life is incomplete without electronics. But like all things, electronic devices break down – and fixing them becomes a challenge.

Recently, Apple’s decision to introduce a self-repair program that allows customers to repair their Apple products using genuine Apple parts, tools, and manuals was seen as a major step towards the warranty of the product. “Right to repair” electronic products.

What is the “right to repair”?

The Right to Repair provides consumers of electronic products with the parts, tools, and service information they need to repair the products they purchase. The right to repair does not oblige, as many critics often claim, consumers to repair their products themselves.

Companies, especially those that make tech equipment and machines, have been accused by activists, consumers and third-party repair technicians of intentionally making repairs more difficult.

Companies like John Deere, which makes tractors, have been sued by customers over the company’s restrictions on letting consumers repair their vehicles. Apple, which notoriously prefers to replace repairs, has been criticized for providing poor repair services and preventing consumers from repairing devices themselves.

“Manufacturers would rather sell you their latest models than fix your old electronics, so they strive to make repairing their products either too expensive or too impractical,” write Kyle Wiens and Gay Gordon-Byrne, CEOs of iFixit and executive director of repair. .org, respectively.

Why is the right to repair important?

The right to redress is important for consumers as well as for the environment. With more easily repairable devices, frequent repurchases of many electronic products will be reduced. This can save consumers large sums of money over the life of the devices. Right of repair legislation also often addresses issues of enforced obsolescence, where manufacturers intentionally design products with a limited lifespan with certain design choices.

Since most of these products would previously have gone to landfill, the repair right also reduces the amount of electronic waste. As electronic gadgets dominate everyday life, electronic waste keeps on increasing.

In addition to reducing the generation of electronic waste, the right to repair also improves the recyclability of electronic products. Recycling electronics is often an arduous process as the tools to easily open devices are not provided by the manufacturers, and schematics are also rarely shared.

What is being done to promote the right to redress?

Countries are increasingly aware of the restrictions that manufacturers place on consumers to repair the products they own. The UK recently introduced new legislation to legally oblige manufacturers to make spare parts for products available to customers for the first time that such a requirement arises. The United States Federal Trade Commission, under the Biden administration, has also been investigating issues related to repair restrictions since July.

(Edited by : Shoma bhattacharjee)


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