Minnesota passes landmark right-to-repair law for electronic devices


Posts: 167   +1
The big picture: Minnesota Governor Tim Walz this week signed into law a new bill that gives consumers the right to repair their electronic devices and gadgets, albeit with a few exceptions. Minnesota is not the first U.S. state to pass a right-to-repair legislation for consumer electronics, as states like New York and Colorado have also passed similar legislation in recent years. Others, like Washington and Maine, have also proposed similar laws that would offer consumers the ability to repair their electronic gadgets and appliances.

The Minnesota law is part of an omnibus appropriations bill (SF 2774) that goes into effect on July 1, 2024, and contains a "digital fair repair" clause that covers most consumer electronics, except video game consoles, motor vehicles, medical devices, cybersecurity tools, residential energy storage systems, and farm and construction equipment. However, it does include most other household electronics, including smartphones, laptops, televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, smart home devices, and more.

The law requires electronics manufacturers to make repair tools and manuals available to consumers and independent repair shops so that they can fix broken devices without having to pay a premium to get them repaired from the company's own service centers. The law applies to all products sold on or after July 1st, 2021, and stipulates that the necessary repair tools and documents must be made available to consumers free of charge within 60 days. Not doing so will be a violation of the state's Deceptive Trade Practices statute, and will invite penalties.

Observers and right-to-repair activists believe that the Minnesota law is more comprehensive in its scope and scale than the New York statute that is slated to come into effect this July. Unlike the Minnesota bill, the one signed by New York governor Kathy Hochul last year left some right-to-repair advocates unimpressed, as it doesn't require manufacturers to sell consumers individual parts, nor does it let third-party repair technicians bypass software locks. It doesn't apply to devices sold before the law was passed either, making it much less comprehensive than what the activists were asking for.

Despite the slew of exclusions in the Minnesota law, it has, for the most part, been accepted warmly by right-to-repair advocates. One of them is Nathan Proctor, the senior director of U.S. PIRG's Right to Repair campaign. In a statement released this week, Procter said that the new legislation is the biggest right-to-repair win for consumers to date. According to him, "Repairs cut waste and save consumers money. It's common sense, and it is becoming increasingly clear that manufacturers' attempts to thwart repair will no longer be tolerated. Minnesota won't be the last state to codify that."

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Posts: 166   +219
So casually excluding everything that will have no doubt been lobbied out by the companies (the fact that farm equipment is mentioned is a very clear sign, as we know who likes to play that game), weakened bill as per usual....


Posts: 1,384   +2,621
My old folks have a 50" LG plasma that's been having power issues. Searches on line shows the most likely culprit (90% of the time from what I can figure) is the voltage regulator, a couple of resistors and a fuse on the power board.

I've got replacement parts coming and should show up early next week. I'll fix the issue myself. Granted the TV is 9-10 years old, so warranty is already long and gone, but it doesn't make sense to just toss out stuff with a simple fix. It'll cost me about $15 for the parts and maybe 60 minutes of my time (have to drive to the old folks to use the soldering equipment my step-dad has since I don't have my own) to see if this'll fix the issue. If it does, I'll have a new (to me) 50" TV I can use.

I don't need any company telling me what I can and cannot fix on my own. If I think it's something within my skillset, I'm going for it. Screw you companies and your rules/regulations about rights to fix...it's mine. I'll fix it if I damned well please, just like when I fixed the powerboard issue in a Samsung SyncMaster monitor about 7 years ago. Pulled it apart, replaced the bulging caps on it and she worked like new again!


Posts: 1,577   +2,388
I'm curious which citizens, if given a direct vote, would vote against the right to repair their own video game console and motor vehicle?

Or how their elected representatives are explaining their vote to the contrary to them?

A lot of corporate legal tweaking is harder to see because it involves arcane issues that are not normally part of most people's lives, they'd have no way to even know about it except for the unusual case where it happened to be picked up on by mainstream press, and even then it can be difficult to understand / easy to spin.

This feels like it could be an exceptionally good case study for political science research.


Posts: 153   +313
The video game console exception is a bit odd to me. Unlike phone manufacturers, console manufacturers make money off games, not hardware. Especially the minimal out of warranty repairs they do. Why stop repairs?


Posts: 284   +300
I live in Minnesota. I'm guessing you'll have to get a license to fix whatever it is to fix, then pay a state and city tax on the parts available only through specific vendors.


Posts: 30   +32
Which company paid them off on video game consoles?
Sony and M$, who else. But as been demonstrated by gamersnexus multiple times removing the warranty sticker dosent in fact void the warranty, atleast in the US. Just remember to wear gloves so you dont leave finger prints and grease on the insides.


Posts: 966   +747
I live in Minnesota. I'm guessing you'll have to get a license to fix whatever it is to fix, then pay a state and city tax on the parts available only through specific vendors.

I live here too, MN quietly becoming top 5 highest tax rate in nation. Sucks balls


Posts: 1,062   +522
Game consoles being excluded is kinda odd, they are actually pretty repairable and have decent part supplies available already. I guess not having to provide the parts themselves would be the largest motivations for Sony and Microsoft. But Microsoft's consoles since the xbox one have been pretty easy to work on, only improvement for repair they could all make it prob a daughter board for the HDMI connector. I will never understand how so many people break that port on a tv console but I get 1-3 calls a week asking if we fix HDMI ports on consoles.


Posts: 12   +2
I sincerely hope that more electronic devices become repairable because I am already ****ing fed up with Disposable Electronic Products.