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California enters Right to Repair movement with new proposal

By Cal Jeffrey ยท 11 replies
Mar 8, 2018
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  1. Right to Repair legislation has been sweeping the country. It has become something of a movement spurred on by worldwide lawsuits and controversy over the practice of planned obsolescence. So far 18 states have introduced Right to Repair bills.

    California is the latest state to get on board yesterday when it announced the California Right to Repair Act. The bill is being proposed by Democratic Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, who believes consumers should have the right to choose where to have their devices repaired.

    “The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence,” said Eggman.

    Silicon Valley, which is located in California, is deeply opposed to such legislation making the introduction of the bill somewhat ironic. Big tech firms including Apple, Microsoft, AT&T, and others have vehemently contested and lobbied against similar proposals in other states.

    One would think that such a law would not have much chance in California. However, other than Turkey, California is the only place where electronics manufacturers are required to service devices for at least seven years as opposed to five years everywhere else. This is reflected in Apple’s own support policies.

    “Apple has discontinued hardware service for vintage [five- to seven-year-old] products with the [exception of] products purchased in the state of California, United States, as required by statute.”

    So a Right to Repair law would be in line with the stance that California lawmakers have already taken in in the past.

    Seventeen other states have been considering similar proposals including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia. Right to Repair proponent iFixit reported last year at this time that there were only eight states considering such laws. So it would seem the movement is picking up traction.

    Lobbying efforts by big tech in other states have been staunchly opposed Right to Repair. The rhetoric has been bombastic. For example, MacRumors reports that in Nebraska, Apple claimed that Right to Repair laws “would turn the state into a ‘mecca for bad actors’ making it ‘easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska.’”

    The lobbyists claim that safety and security issues are their primary concern. However, when pressed none of the companies have been able to provide reasons why safety and security would be at risk.

    Legislation like this tends to be a long process, so California voters are not likely to see it on ballots any time soon. It will, however, be interesting to see how hard Silicon Valley pushes back against this bill in its home state.

    Permalink to story.

  2. seeprime

    seeprime TS Guru Posts: 268   +257

    I anticipate Apple to begin a campaign of donating to every CA state rep to keep the repair cash rolling in. We might be seeing a news article soon that CA now understands the importance of Apple controlling the quality of repairs on devices they sell. Donations and a round of golf and drinks can change quite a few weak minds.
    senketsu and avioza like this.
  3. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,591   +571

    Shouldn't even need a movement. The folk that need a "movement" are the anal's that make the decision to prevent repair.
    Shotgunnner likes this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 10,797   +4,605

    I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. If the phones were made repairable, parts would not be available (or only available for a short time). It's not like PCs where if a component is bad and you can't get a replacement, you have the option to upgrade. If a component in a phone goes bad and you can't find a replacement, you still have to replace the whole phone. So in essence it doens't matter if phones are repairable. By the time you need to repair the phone, you will never find the part.
    EClyde likes this.
  5. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,618   +987

    I dislike more regulation but I would rather see mandatory reporting of the availability of repair information/service manuals , and capacity for user replacement of batteries & other components than a law forcing repair. If some company wants to sell you a very, very expensive doodad which costs the earth to repair, that is their business - but this should be freely disclosed before the sale.

    It then becomes the role of iFixit and Consumer Reports to keep watch and make (sometimes odious and negative) comparisons.

    As a free market consumer, you should be fully allowed and permitted to make lousy choices - just as any commercial enterprise not in an oligopoly or monopoly position should be allowed to offer abysmal customer service and arrogant advertising and inflated prices.

    Time has come for "Full Truth in Advertising". Such as:

    "The A**ole doodad is priced at the very very high end of the market to feed your ego and impress those with whom you interact while allowing us to rake in the shekels. We have injected each doodad with a special quick hardening epoxy which makes it absolutely impossible for anyone to repair the doodad. In keeping with that feature of the doodad, there is absolutely no information about repair, as it is impossible for anyone to use it. Should you experience a warranty covered failure, we will happily send you a brand new doodad as you paid us enough for 6 of them with your initial purchase. If it is a non-covered failure, we will happily replace the doodad for 92% of MSRP and call it a repair. Thank you for buying A**ole brand doodads."

    When businesses are forthright, more power to them...Caveat Emptor works if information is not hidden or fraudulent.

    ps I read too many copies of Mad magazine as a kid.
  6. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,193   +2,429

    That's the problem, manufacturers weren't allowing 3rd parties to make replacement parts nor would they sell the individual parts themselves. They have the parts, they just don't want you to have access to them. In addition you see ridiculous screw types and excessive glue to make devices hard to repair.

    I like the idea but I doubt we will ever see companies be this honest about their products.
    EClyde and cliffordcooley like this.
  7. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,618   +987

    Let Consumer Reports and iFixit report 'accurately' what kind of dolts they are and market forces will (eventually) correct it. So really important to protect that kind of free speech.

    ps My current set of screw drivers is approaching 100 - bits and sizes - appliances to welding machines. Buy once, fix again and again. Especially proud of the 45 year old GE dryer.
  8. Danny101

    Danny101 TS Guru Posts: 529   +202

    We can't keep continuing to throw away electronic items and not expect a problem. Recycling is a joke, because investigations have shown that many items still end up in landfills. Only power users need the latest to play with their data. Most people can use their current devices for many years. With the roll-out of 5G, there will be an explosion of internet connected devices which will be further complicate the situation.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
    regiq likes this.
  9. skipmichael

    skipmichael TS Enthusiast Posts: 46   +19

    How about this.... Don't buy apple..
    Danny101 likes this.
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,931   +3,304

    Well, I think We've learned from other articles this week, if you're going to "exercise your right to repair", then you probably shouldn't do it at Best Buy.:eek::D

    It would seem people are too stupid in general, to realize that the more you miniaturize a device, the harder it will be for human hands to repair. With the level of micro-miniaturization in today's devices, you pretty much have to consider the device itself, to be, "a part". Apple however, takes that one step beyond anything resembling concern for their customers, by not even making their phone batteries user replaceable.

    Accordingly, if you're going to buy a device you know is ultimately going to be a throw away, why do people insist on buying the most expensive one they can lay their hands on? I mean really, a $300.00 Motorola will last as long as an iPhone.

    So, you go out, and piss your money away on the most expensive throw away product you can find, then start whimpering about it a few years later. It seems to me, this issue with difficulty repairing Apple's devices is certainly not even close to, "big news".

    For example, the "Apple Mini", cute little buggers, are they not? Well, the tops had to be pried off them. In fact, there were tutorials on the web how to do so. They weren't engineered for "ease of repair", and Apple wasn't really in compliance with universal PnP with that junk. Gosh, (IIRC), that trash was around well over a decade ago.

    Now you're telling me you couldn't see the, "that junk can't be repaired", writing on the wall, as you bellyached for "smaller, lighter, faster", and "more stylish" product.

    I think the public should, at long last, shut up, and take the medicine they clamored for, and so very justly deserve.:'(

    Aw, your status toy, the one you're so completely addicted to broke? Shut up, throw it away and go more deeply into hock to buy another, more expensive, and even less repairable one. You'll be the envy of every yuppie and hipster on the block. (y):cool: That's really what it's all about, isn't it. Tim Cook sends his regards.:p
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2018
    senketsu and Danny101 like this.
  11. senketsu

    senketsu TS Guru Posts: 821   +553

    A lot of parts are made available by people and companies that buy old or broken phones in bulk and them take them apart for any good parts (Shenzen, China comes to mind, they say you can find any phone part there). Or Apple could make them, but there is more markup on labour than parts so that is why they don't like this proposal.
  12. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 203   +80

    A decade ago EU made cellphone makers use microUSB for charging instead of a different plug for every model. It shouldn't be a problem to make main parts (battery, screen, mobo) replacable again - it was like that for years.

    Don't boundlessly believe in the invisible hand of market. Consumers are not rational (captaincranky voiced that in his post) and profits ultimately come from the difference in knowledge between the manufacturer and the consumer (that's why Cycloid Torus' idea, however nice, can't happen).
    So it's good to have places like techspot that help making rational consumer choices:)

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