Colorado 'right to repair' bill dies despite public testimony

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in General Discussion
The Colorado House Business Affairs & Labor committee in March shot down a so-called "right to repair" bill that would have forced companies like Apple to allow users to fix their own devices without voiding warranty.

Repair


Colorado legislators convened to discuss the proposed law on March 25, reports Vice. Despite a gathering of business leaders, disabled right to repair advocates, and a 9-year-old environmental activist, the bill (PDF link) failed to pass.

The bill itself was short on detail, but did paint in broad strokes the rights consumers should have when it comes to repairing purchased equipment.

"For the purpose of providing services for digital electronic equipment sold or used in this state, an original equipment manufacturer shall, with fair and reasonable terms and cost, make available to an independent repair provider or owner of the manufacturer's equipment any documentation, parts, embedded software, firmware, or tools that are intended for use with the digital electronic equipment, including updates to documentation, information, or embedded software," the proposal said.

A lone member of the committee voted in favor of the proposal, with 12 voting to indefinitely postpone a vote, the report said. Those who voted against said the bill was too broad and left key questions unanswered.

"I still have a lot of questions. I still have a lot of concerns," said Rep. Monica Duran (D), who voted against the measure's passage.

Committee members raised concerns commonly cited by companies as reasons to not adopt right to repair policies. For example, legislators brought up safety issues related to fires caused by the improper installation of batteries. Separately, Shannon Bird (D) used Apple's software licensing policy as an example of the authority companies have over the use of their products, arguing against claims that strict repair regulations amount to an industry monopoly.

"Apple Music is different than purchasing a CD," Bird said. "I have a hard time believing that we would call it Apple having a monopoly on its own product."

Others combined the issue with the wider smartphone market, saying right to repair would result in higher handset costs, the report said.

Public testimony included statements from wheelchair users who have been negatively impacted by manufacturer rules restricting third-party repairs, and a 9-year-old environmentalist who argued against "use and replace" practices.

Apple is aggressively lobbying against right to repair initiatives that have popped up across the U.S., maintaining that authorized servicing of its products is important for customer safety and environmental sustainability.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,150member
    Change needs to come in small digestible pieces. A vague bill is almost always going to die because it opens the door to unintended consequences and a very real possibility of businesses not being able to adhere to the breadth of the requests. No matter how wonderful an idea, it must be enacted in a way that does not levy significant harm on the businesses these same consumers rely on. 
    planetary paulviclauyycmaximarawatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 458member
    As good decision.
    maximarawatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,744member
    Right to repair in compact consumer electronics is a lost cause.  The products are evolving towards more and more integrated components.  The industry is already at SOCs.  Eventually, smartphones will just be a solid block of circuitry, a screen, and a battery.  The screen might even become just part of the circuit block.  This is the direction that product economics and technology dictate for smartphones to continue getting more powerful while maintaining their compact size.

    bloggerblogwilliamlondonmaximarafastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 16
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,699member
    Fix their own devices without voiding the warranty?

    Nope. If you break it, you  bought it. 
    williamlondonpscooter63watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 16
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,531member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Fix their own devices without voiding the warranty?

    Nope. If you break it, you  bought it. 
    Absolutely. The whole notion of an end user fixing most any of Apple’s current sealed and glued together products themselves without voiding the warranty seems totally bizarre. 

    I have no doubt that a select few people can absolutely do it with the right equipment, but the vision of some dude armed with a Weller 140 watt soldering gun peeling back the screen on an iPhone 12 to replace an internal component is the stuff of nightmares. 
    edited April 6 williamlondonfastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,004member
    I remember my C64 having a paper seal on top of a screw that allows access to its innards that read “Broken seal voids warranty“. 

    My favorite quote from this article is:
    "I have a hard time believing that we would call it Apple having a monopoly on its own product."
    pscooter63watto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 7 of 16
    fred1fred1 Posts: 750member
    What about some sort of certification for repair professionals? It would help allow quality control and not give everyone the right to take things apart.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 16
    nicholfdnicholfd Posts: 519member
    fred1 said:
    What about some sort of certification for repair professionals? It would help allow quality control and not give everyone the right to take things apart.
    That's what Apple's repair program small shops (don't remember the name) is - they have to get certified & purchase genuine Apple parts from Apple.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 16
    maximaramaximara Posts: 304member
    dewme said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Fix their own devices without voiding the warranty?

    Nope. If you break it, you  bought it. 
    Absolutely. The whole notion of an end user fixing most any of Apple’s current sealed and glued together products themselves without voiding the warranty seems totally bizarre. 

    I have no doubt that a select few people can absolutely do it with the right equipment, but the vision of some dude armed with a Weller 140 watt soldering gun peeling back the screen on an iPhone 12 to replace an internal component is the stuff of nightmares. 
    Look at how many products in your homes have that "No user serviceable parts inside" label.  The "9-year-old environmentalist" is a real hoot.  The people who wrote this thing couldn't get an actual environmental expert (Doctorate or higher) to talk in support of it?  This reminds me of a old cartoon I saw years ago:

    Man (working on old tube TV): Oh I can fix it myself as I know what to do. (zap)
    Man (now in front of golden gates): Uh what happened. St. Peter?!
    St. Peter: You couldn't fix yourself because you didn't know what you were doing.
    edited April 6 watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 16
    fred1fred1 Posts: 750member
    nicholfd said:
    fred1 said:
    What about some sort of certification for repair professionals? It would help allow quality control and not give everyone the right to take things apart.
    That's what Apple's repair program small shops (don't remember the name) is - they have to get certified & purchase genuine Apple parts from Apple.
    And this wasn’t good enough for Colorado? It seems like a good compromise between only Apple Stores being allowed to do repairs and anyone who wants to. Of course even now no one is stopping me from opening up my iPhone to see what’s inside - as long as I’m willing to void the warranty. It just means that I can’t come to my senses and ask Apple to do it the next time under warranty. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 16
    Interesting set of comments. But after the phone is out of warranty companies should not place active barriers to a few simple fixes. I am talking about putting serial numbers on batteries that need to be registered by special software.  If I have two phones with different issues, I can't swap parts to make one work. I have laptops that are still quite useful 8 or 9 years old. I can swap in a new battery and it is good enough for the kids.  But the latest laptops register the serial numbers of those also. I may not be the typical user, but I do have the skills to do this. Even the glued in batteries may be a pain, but something I can do.  I already have a job and don't want the expense of becoming a certified tech for multiple different companies. The Colorado law may have had issues, but I do support the right to repair, especially if it is out of warranty. Don't lock me out of my own devices.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 12 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,243member
    markatlnk said:
    Interesting set of comments. But after the phone is out of warranty companies should not place active barriers to a few simple fixes. I am talking about putting serial numbers on batteries that need to be registered by special software.  If I have two phones with different issues, I can't swap parts to make one work. I have laptops that are still quite useful 8 or 9 years old. I can swap in a new battery and it is good enough for the kids.  But the latest laptops register the serial numbers of those also.
    As someone who has replaced non-user replaceable components in my Macs after they were out of warranty, I'm confused by this.  I managed to track down companies who were clearly selling the same components used to build Macs and replaced them without any problems.  I never bothered to look at any serial numbers, just part numbers.  Would that not still be possible?

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 16
    In the new devices, the operating system verifies that the serial number of components matches what was supposed to be there. So if you have 2 identical iPhones with different problems, you will not be able to swap parts without authorization from Apple. If they want to play that game while under warranty, I could understand that. But once it is out of warranty and they declare the machine obsolete, it becomes a brick once that battery is no longer useful. It is the taking active steps to prevent owners from working on their own out of warranty items that makes me unhappy.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 16
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,243member
    markatlnk said:
    In the new devices, the operating system verifies that the serial number of components matches what was supposed to be there. So if you have 2 identical iPhones with different problems, you will not be able to swap parts without authorization from Apple. If they want to play that game while under warranty, I could understand that. But once it is out of warranty and they declare the machine obsolete, it becomes a brick once that battery is no longer useful. It is the taking active steps to prevent owners from working on their own out of warranty items that makes me unhappy.
    It seems like they need something similar to what cellular companies do with SIM-unlocking once the subsidization period is up.  That said, if there's a way to do it, people will figure out how to do it themselves (as has been done with SIM-unlocking).  But I think the number of people who would go to that trouble isn't large enough to be concerned with it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 16
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,340member
    Broadly speaking, I'm generally for right-of-repair for things that can be safely and effectively repaired. For me like 99.8 percent of consumers, this translates to "I want to be able to take my [old mac, lamp, lawnmower] to a nearby service shop that has skilled, certified techs that can do upgrades and/or whatever level of repairs/parts-swapping needed to make it function again."

    My support of that sort of "repair" -- hobbyist tinkering and/or certified tech shops not necessarily owned by the company that made the thing -- comes to a cold hard stop the minute we're talking about a device that stores personal and/or sensitive information.

    I do not want "Bob" from "Old McDonald Computer and Oven Repair" to have access to the Secure Enclave in my iPhone, full stop. I especially do not want a lower price to tempt me into using a "repair" place that may use counterfeit/altered parts to fix my iPhone, or secretly sells my business or personal data to hackers/Russia/Facebook to supplement their "repair" income.

    It is possible for me to obtain and install some third-party parts for my 2012 MacBook Pro, like the battery or replacement RAM/storage, maybe even the fan. I have done those kind of repairs myself. The Windows/PC market has a far greater variety of DIY repair parts since the industry is so standardized, and again that's fine for the tiny minority (and it is TINY, but of course they don't think it is) of PC users who actually do some of their own repairs on their desktops. Laptops require far too much skill for almost any sort of untrained person to do much more than swap out RAM or an SSD, and that seems to me to be the right level of "consumer" access to parts.

    This is not the world of your handyman grandfather from the 1950s who could fix almost anything wrong with his old car. Other than the part-swap level of replacing things (which isn't really "repair" IMO), modern devices are too complex and have too much risk to leave "repairing" them to untrusted and/or amateur folk.
    pscooter63muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Several people here talk like they are being paid.  Nobody is telling you that you MUST fix your own anything. But I object to companies preventing me from doing it after it is out of warranty. I paid for it, it really isn't yours if they use an electronic lock to prevent access. I would rather keep it out of the trash and have the option of repair myself. I have replaced countless screens and batteries that are the most common issue.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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