Opposed by Apple, 'right to repair' bills nonetheless pile up in state capitols

Posted:
in iPhone
Some 17 states have now introduced so-called "right to repair" legislation despite strident opposition from consumer electronics manufacturers, including Apple.




If passed, the laws would force manufacturers to provide essentials like repair manuals and spare parts to the public. Proponents argue that this would more readily allow individuals and small business to repair their own devices, potentially saving money and lowering their environmental impact.

Legislation is currently pending in Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, and Washington.

That's up from just five states last March. Lobbying group Repair.org puts that down to increased scrutiny thanks to recent issues like Apple's throttling of older iPhones with flagging batteries.

Apple, alongside a number of other firms, has stridently opposed this action. The company argues that repairs should be performed only by authorized technicians with the proper training to give consumers a consistent experience and protect the company's intellectual property.

Notably, Apple told officials in Nebraska last year that it would support right to repair legislation if phones were exempted.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    Expect phones in those states to blow up and burn people on a regular basis because of idiots performing their own repairs.
    andrewj5790magman1979lkruppracerhomie3JWSCwatto_cobraflaneur[Deleted User]jony0
  • Reply 2 of 25
    It seems to me that forcing Apple (and other manufacturers) to basically support repairs they have no control over will ultimately hurt Apple’s reputation—substandard repairs will negatively impact people’s perception of the product. Even if someone thinks a repair is good enough for themselves it still takes Apple’s control over their reputation out of their own hands. On the surface it seems like a nice idea to give consumers options, but it’s also questionable.
    magman1979lkruppracerhomie3JWSCchasmplanetary pauljony0
  • Reply 3 of 25
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,186member
    Expect phones in those states to blow up and burn people on a regular basis because of idiots performing their own repairs.
    And then of course they sue Apple...
    magman1979lkruppracerhomie3watto_cobramwhitechasmplanetary pauljony0
  • Reply 4 of 25
    As much as I would like to be able to fix my own stuff more easily, I wonder if this kind of legislation would provide incentive for manufacturers to make their products less fixable. That said, less fixable isn't necessarily a bad thing if it is more reliable (no need to repair) and can be recycled efficiently... That'll learn 'em!

    Slightly OT: I'm recalling in more than a few episodes of Star Trek TNG, some sort of super sophisticated device is cracked open in the field while the character is isolated from the ship, on some planet or in a cave, and it somehow gets fixed or modified to do something else -- by hand (and no repair manual)! Pretty good iFixit score I suppose.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 25
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,186member

    georgie01 said:
    It seems to me that forcing Apple (and other manufacturers) to basically support repairs they have no control over will ultimately hurt Apple’s reputation—substandard repairs will negatively impact people’s perception of the product. Even if someone thinks a repair is good enough for themselves it still takes Apple’s control over their reputation out of their own hands. On the surface it seems like a nice idea to give consumers options, but it’s also questionable.
    This will most likely be a primary argument against these bills. People like iFixit survive based on whether or not the bill passes. They couldn't care less about Apple's reputation, all they care about is selling tools and parts. 
    magman1979racerhomie3watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 25
    Fine. If the repairing third party entity assumes full liability. Also, the should be a differentiation between quality related repairs and safety related repairs. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 25
    clexmanclexman Posts: 166member
    Imagine how dangerous automobiles would be if they sold aftermarket parts to anyone. The public's perception of car brands would be negatively impacted.

    2,000 lbs of steel zooming down the road with brakes installed by someone with no training! It will be the end of the world as we know it!
    racerhomie3feudalistdurandal_1707
  • Reply 8 of 25
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    Expect J C Whitney type parts catalogs full of substandard knockoff parts from who knows where. Expect shade tree repair shops on every corner. But worst of all, if these bills pass, expect further government regulation of basic design forcing Apple and others to make their products easy to disassemble, mandating user replaceable batteries, mandating use of standardized fasteners, mandating 3.5mm headphone jacks. Of course repairs by a third party hole-in-the-wall will be cheaper then the authorized Apple repair shop so expect substandard repairs to escalate tremendously. Finally, expect innovation to stagnate as government regulations move to basically determine how a device is to look. And if you think I’m being overly dramatic about this you don’t know how bureaucrats and bureaucracies work. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 25
    Should automatically void the warranty to include any extra protection or support you purchased. Should also release the company from any liability for the device regardless of the cause. Repair the screen and the battery blows up, your fault, no matter what.
    watto_cobraberndogplanetary paul
  • Reply 10 of 25
    Expect phones in those states to blow up and burn people on a regular basis because of idiots performing their own repairs.
    Seriously??? I believe a watch batteries and hearing aids contain lithium ion battery and watch folks make it straight forward for me to change them. 

    Not to mention I am allowed to work on my own automobile.   Last I looked faulty automobile repairs have a far more troublesome safety record than do consumer electronics.  I have yet to see anyone crushed to death my their smart phone falling off the table during a repair gone wrong....

    feudalistdurandal_1707
  • Reply 11 of 25
    Look up Fair Phone. Made in Holland, sevicable by yourself. Great fun. https://www.fairphone.com/en/
  • Reply 12 of 25
    croprcropr Posts: 1,053member
    clexman said:
    Imagine how dangerous automobiles would be if they sold aftermarket parts to anyone. The public's perception of car brands would be negatively impacted.

    2,000 lbs of steel zooming down the road with brakes installed by someone with no training! It will be the end of the world as we know it!
    Well in the EU the automotive sector was forced to allow third party repair.   It did not lead to brake incidents like you describe.  Statistics show that the safety of the car is not impacted by third party repair.   But it did lead to lower repair prices.  So after all it was a good thing for the consumer who is now having the choice of going to a less expensive third party repair or to the official repair center, if he wants absolute confidence.

    I fail to see that giving the consumer the choice is a bad thing, whether it is about cars or smart phones


    muthuk_vanalingamgatorguysingularity
  • Reply 13 of 25
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    BubbaTwo said:
    Expect phones in those states to blow up and burn people on a regular basis because of idiots performing their own repairs.
    Seriously??? I believe a watch batteries and hearing aids contain lithium ion battery and watch folks make it straight forward for me to change them. 

    Not to mention I am allowed to work on my own automobile.   Last I looked faulty automobile repairs have a far more troublesome safety record than do consumer electronics.  I have yet to see anyone crushed to death my their smart phone falling off the table during a repair gone wrong....

    Agree. All FUD and commercial nonsense to have customers returning. If implemented right, replacing a battery can be made as risky as plugging in a lightning cable.
  • Reply 14 of 25
    cropr said:
    clexman said:
    Imagine how dangerous automobiles would be if they sold aftermarket parts to anyone. The public's perception of car brands would be negatively impacted.

    2,000 lbs of steel zooming down the road with brakes installed by someone with no training! It will be the end of the world as we know it!
    Well in the EU the automotive sector was forced to allow third party repair.   It did not lead to brake incidents like you describe.  Statistics show that the safety of the car is not impacted by third party repair.   But it did lead to lower repair prices.  So after all it was a good thing for the consumer who is now having the choice of going to a less expensive third party repair or to the official repair center, if he wants absolute confidence.

    I fail to see that giving the consumer the choice is a bad thing, whether it is about cars or smart phones


    And car mnfg have another trick here - they have these extended warranties, 2, 3 or 5 years after first two mandatory, usually free of charge but with one condition - you have to use only their service and in mandatory time intervals. VW, for example, have great one - allmost everything is covered including battery. They had some hard to repair models where you have to go to sevice just to change headlight lamp, but retracted after public started to mock them. 

    Regarding consumer electronics, repearability is declining for various reasons but quallity gone up. We have to find balance because there is no reason to attach screen in a way that you have to brake anything to change it, or battery, buttons and camera cover. It’s nonsense. 
  • Reply 15 of 25
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,404member
    This is one of those topics (hint: there are lots of such topics) where there are strong arguments both for and against. As a former Apple-certified repair tech, I can tell you unequivocally that Apple's trend of sealing things up (alongside other factors like using the best available parts) has **DRAMATICALLY** reduced the average need for repairs AT ALL over the course of the typical life of a device (barring user abuse, of course). BUT ... when something DOES go wrong that doesn't amount to "it fell down the stairs," then it is very, very difficult to repair, and that's highly annoying both for the owner and the guy who's job it is to try and fix it. See? Improved reliability overall, but more difficult to fix if a fix is ever needed. Two sides to the coin. Ultimately I think the strongest argument against "right of repair" is the security one. Unauthorized repair persons can QUITE EASILY put in either shoddy/dangerous parts or parts that compromise system security (the replacement Touch ID buttons being a notorious recent example). I do greatly respect the environmental aspect of those in favour of "right of repair," and as both a former tech and a user I would love it if it were easily to do the very basic upgrades (especially RAM) that some users want to do (though you'd be surprised how few buyers actually ever do those upgrades), but the risk of introducing a security compromise via hardware is a real threat that actually exists, so in the end you really want to limit who has physical access to your machine, and that precludes most sorts of repairs.
    entropys
  • Reply 16 of 25
    This is dumb. What happens when an average Joe tries to repair something and it goes badly wrong? Then is Apple going to be stuck trying to fix or have to provide a replacement device? Governments should stay out of this.
  • Reply 17 of 25
    My son-in-law recently had the battery replaced in his iPhone 6 at a local, while you wait shop. I asked if he had seen an improvement the performance of his phone, he said no. I suggested he installed a battery testing app, which he did. The app showed that his battery was at 69% efficiency after just a couple of months. This is what you get at non approved repair shops. 
  • Reply 18 of 25
    Fine. If the repairing third party entity assumes full liability. Also, the should be a differentiation between quality related repairs and safety related repairs. 

    Exactly.  As long as these bills don't make the manufacturer liable for botched repairs, and for damages due to those repairs, and as long as they don't require the manuals and tools be provided for free, I don't really have a problem with this.  After all, it's not like they can stop anyone from repairing a device; the most they can do under U.S. law now is void the warranty, and for most things, they can only void the warranty for that particular repair.  If something else goes wrong, unconnected with that, the warranty still applies.


    clexman said:
    Imagine how dangerous automobiles would be if they sold aftermarket parts to anyone. The public's perception of car brands would be negatively impacted.

    2,000 lbs of steel zooming down the road with brakes installed by someone with no training! It will be the end of the world as we know it!
    See above.  If the repairer is 100% responsible for the repair, then I'm fine with it.

    edited January 2018 BubbaTwo
  • Reply 19 of 25
    I want to repair my dishwasher but Whirlpool refuses to give me a technical manual for it. I suspect this legislation would change that. They told me only authorized service centers can have that information.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 25
    This is dumb. What happens when an average Joe tries to repair something and it goes badly wrong? Then is Apple going to be stuck trying to fix or have to provide a replacement device? Governments should stay out of this.

    I don't think Apple would be held responsible if third party repair messes up with the device. I remember someone sharing the link for the contents of this proposal earlier. We need to read it before commenting based on the title of this article.


    Edit: It was @SpaceRays who shared the link earlier. http://nebraskalegislature.gov/FloorDocs/105/PDF/Intro/LB67.pdf I would request all of the people to go through this before commenting on this topic, because many questions/concerns are already addressed in the proposed bill.

    edited January 2018 avon b7
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