FTC concludes manufacturer repair restrictions harm consumers

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 82
    BittySonBittySon Posts: 67member
    avon b7 said:
    This is an important first step and is good news.

    We'll see what comes of it but it is about time that manufacturers began improving their designs to make things easier to repair or upgrade. 

    Oh, don’t forget easier to hack, plunder and sabotage.  I’m very satisfied that Apple builds highly secure products that others can’t easily access even in their physical possession.  The focus of the US Government should be on encouraging companies to more fully lock down their hardware and software. 

    Beats
  • Reply 22 of 82
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    glennh said:
    This sounds like the government is getting into the business of telling manufacturers how to design their products so that others can make a living repairing them. So much for innovations and trade secrets! 

    Yeh, true....  But, as always, when something is broke, government steps in to fix it.   That's their job.
  • Reply 23 of 82
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    ...companies like Apple negatively impact consumers and small businesses. ...

    The report, "Nixing the Fix: An FTC Report to Congress on Repair Restrictions (PDF link)," was fulfilled at the direction of Congress and takes an in-depth look at the right to repair issue with a concentration on phone manufacturers and carmakers. Findings were issued to Congress with unanimous consent from the FTC.

    ... the report reads. "Repairs today often require specialized tools, difficult-to-obtain parts, and access to proprietary diagnostic software. Consumers whose products break then have limited choices. Furthermore, the burden of repair restrictions may fall more heavily on communities of color and lower-income communities. Many Black-owned small businesses are in the repair and maintenance industries, and difficulties facing small businesses can disproportionately affect small businesses owned by people of color."
    So the FTC has unanimously stated that Apple's (and other companies') restrictions on third party repair "may fall more heavily on communities of color and lower-income communities." So the FTC has unanimously declared that Apple's restrictions are racist. Wow. The FTC has opened my eyes.

    LOL....   "racist"
    So, you put words in their mouths that they didn't say -- and then condemn them for saying (your) words!

    But, that's how it works when you start with hatred of something (in this case government) and then have to create reasons to justify your hatred.
    edited May 2021 addicted44apmillerchemengin1
  • Reply 24 of 82
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    citpeks said:
    I do my own maintenance and repairs on my own stuff, like cars, and generally support the principle of repairable goods.  There is a lot of stuff that's disposable nowadays because consumers only look at price, not quality, and that discourages well-engineered, durable, and repairable products which would have higher costs.

    On the flip side, I also recognize that there are limits to what can feasibly repaired, and this movement, particularly as it relates to electronic devices, has veered into dogma, not unlike the zealotry surrounding open source software a while back, lacking both nuance and pragmatism.
    There's always a flip side to these dogmatic discussions.   Here is Steve's take on open vs closed architectures.   He realizes that his way is not the only way.  But he thinks that it is the best way.  But, he does not disrespect those with opposing, but logical opinions.




    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 25 of 82
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 826member
    glennh said:
    This sounds like the government is getting into the business of telling manufacturers how to design their products so that others can make a living repairing them. So much for innovations and trade secrets! 

    "Governments" have been doing this for decades, with cars, for instance.

    Don't like governments telling manufacturers anything? Next time your device stops working under warranty, make sure you pay the manufacturer full price, because the only reason the warrant exists is thanks to the government. Next time you want to return something, don't, because returns exist because of government regulations (for example, it's very difficult to impossible to return, or repair under warranty, products in a country like India, where the government does not require these things).

    You know that you can be an Apple fan without accepting everything they do as gospel, right?


    muthuk_vanalingamBeatsapmillerGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 26 of 82
    longpathlongpath Posts: 386member
    If replacement parts meet or exceed Apple specifications, and installation techniques are equal better, then it’s all fine and good; but this decision, as was already pointed out, means that second hand items either have to be regarded as less trustworthy, or the consumer needs to be able to evaluate the condition of the internals of a device. Ironically, given the argument of the FTC, this burden would seem to fall squarely on the very population segment that the FTC purports to be concerned about. Conversely, in the used automobile market, it is feasible to check compression on the engine, and to check the onboard diagnostics either for codes or indications that the computer was recently cleared/reset, and the means to perform these tests are readily available. I am fearful that governments will stunt innovation or create security holes by requiring some standardized diagnostic solution; but without such an option, verification of the condition of second hand computers, which smartphones definitely are, becomes an undue burden on the very people such efforts are meant to aid. A person who can only afford a 2nd hand iPhone ought not to have to worry about 3rd rate parts in their new acquisition.
    BittySonroundaboutnow
  • Reply 27 of 82
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    BittySon said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is an important first step and is good news.

    We'll see what comes of it but it is about time that manufacturers began improving their designs to make things easier to repair or upgrade. 

    Oh, don’t forget easier to hack, plunder and sabotage.  I’m very satisfied that Apple builds highly secure products that others can’t easily access even in their physical possession.  The focus of the US Government should be on encouraging companies to more fully lock down their hardware and software. 

    I don't see why you are trying to refocus the debate.

    The conclusions were clear. Current policy is harming consumers and the manufacturers themselves weren't able to provide clearcut reasons to defend the current situation.

    I doubt you can either because you have offered nothing to support your claim.

    What does 'easier' even mean in this context?

    Easier than a brand new product from Apple shipping with a x.0.0 release?


    MplsPchemengin1
  • Reply 28 of 82
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    People will be looking for black and white, all or nothing answers on this.   But that's bullshit.   The only answer is:  "It depends!"

    First you start with the question of:  
    "Should it be repairable or disposable?"  
    Answer:   It depends.  Making an Apple Watch repairable would detract from its ability to do what it was designed to do.  But, making a desktop computer repairable would not detract from its functionality in any meaningful way.

    Then, for those things that can & should be repairable the question becomes:
    "Who should repair it?"
    Contrary to what this commission said, Apple retaining control of its equipment provides them and its customers with an assurance of reliability, dependability and stability.  If you buy an iPhone, even a used one, you have some assurance of what you are getting.   Can it be done the other, open, no restrictions way?  Yes, of course it can and there are countless examples of that.  But Apple's closed system, while highly restrictive also offers advantages to its customers.

    It depends.

    Take laptops:  Two high end, high quality laptops take exactly opposite approaches to the question:   A Lenovo Thinkpad is highly repairable and they not only design and build it that way but provide detailed instructions (down to which screw goes in which hole) on how to do it.   Conversely, a MacBook is mostly disposable.  While I personally do not think that is necessary or desireable, as long as the customer knows the difference (repairable vs disposable) then leave it to them.  (Unfortunately, few customers understand the difference and its ramifications).

    Is the answer a repair-ability score or label (Like a nutrition label) the answer?  In that case, the Thinkpad would get an 8 out of 10 while the MacBook would get a 2 out of 10.

    But, there is another aspect to it:  Those two questions ("Should it be repairable?" and "Who should repair it?") interact with each other.  Right now, if your Apple Watch or Airpods malfunction Apple simply sends you a "refurbished" replacement.   But, once they start making a product repairable (saw their MacBook) then third parties will start making the parts and mom & pop stores  with self proclaimed experts will try to install those parts -- and the reputation of the product declines.   By soldering & gluing everything together in their MacBooks, Apple avoids that problem.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 29 of 82
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 11,421member
    applguy said:
    Does a Tesla fall into the category of consumer products? 

    Very interesting question:
    Should an owner be allowed to replace a worn out component (say a motor or brake pad) on their Tesla?
    and, if so:
    Does that mean that an owner should be able to tinker with the self driving module of the car?   I would not want to share the road with car being driven by a unit my neighbor "fixed" or reprogrammed.
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 30 of 82
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,386member
    I for one eagerly look forward to an iPhone that has socketed RAM, CPU, a wire wrapped backplane, and six user replaceable D-cell batteries to make it through until lunch, when I can attach a pair of jumper cables to recharge it from my car so it will have enough charge to last until I get home. If it breaks at least I know I’ll be able to take it down to the local Firestone garage and have them check the alternator and weld on some new shocks. 
    GRKostur
  • Reply 31 of 82
    GRKosturGRKostur Posts: 4member
    I am glad that my equipment is repaired by factory trained technicians using factory approved parts. One of my friends had a third party technician replace his iPhone 6 OEM battery with an after market battery and now he has no end of problems now with the iPhone. Apple won’t fix it and I don’t blame them, they are not responsible for someone else playing amateur repair tech. 
    JFC_PA
  • Reply 32 of 82
    BeatsBeats Posts: 3,073member
    avon b7 said:
    This is an important first step and is good news.

    We'll see what comes of it but it is about time that manufacturers began improving their designs to make things easier to repair or upgrade. 


    Can’t wait for removable battery, upgradable ram, flimsy case on my iPhone!!

    Cant wait for every pawn shop in the country to have a dark iPhone/iPad repair shop in the back!!
    JFC_PA
  • Reply 33 of 82
    GRKosturGRKostur Posts: 4member
     "Many consumer products have become harder to fix and maintain," the report reads. "Repairs today often require specialized tools, difficult-to-obtain parts, and access to proprietary diagnostic software. Consumers whose products break then have limited choices. Furthermore, the burden of repair restrictions may fall more heavily on communities of color and lower-income communities. Many Black-owned small businesses are in the repair and maintenance industries, and difficulties facing small businesses can disproportionately affect small businesses owned by people of color."

    This is disappointing! Is everything thing today going to be adjudicated based on how it effects one part of society versus other without offering up proof?  Is there some statistical evidence to show this effects one community more than another? 
    JFC_PA
  • Reply 34 of 82
    apmillerapmiller Posts: 35member
    I’m really surprised at the Anti-right to repair comments I see here (& related article on A.I.)  No one is forcing you to use an independent repair shop, or buy a used product that might have been repaired by the same.  Just watch a few videos by Louis Rossmann, where he explains the nuances of this issue in detail, with many examples. Laws can be written that protect manufacturers patents and trade secrets, but also allow repairs to take place, saving consumers money, and reducing E-waste. Although the FTC mentions manufacturing choices that make repair or upgrades more difficult (but not impossible, like glued cases & batteries, or soldered on RAM or SSD’s etc), the odds of them forcing Apple, etc. to make them easily swappable again is extremely unlikely. (Apple can cite faster IO speeds - as with M1 chips -  or fewer connection failures for those decisions.) There are many other areas of low hanging fruit, like equal access to OEM quality parts, circuit board schematics (as often included with your furnace or clothes washer), etc. that don’t threaten manufacturers’ legitimate concerns. I get not liking the government to force businesses to do things against their bottom line interests, but remember big corporations are not necessarily your friend either. Are you so anti-government that you don’t see the need for any regulations?
    muthuk_vanalingamjcs2305chemengin1
  • Reply 35 of 82
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,339member
    Beats said:
    avon b7 said:
    This is an important first step and is good news.

    We'll see what comes of it but it is about time that manufacturers began improving their designs to make things easier to repair or upgrade. 


    Can’t wait for removable battery, upgradable ram, flimsy case on my iPhone!!

    Cant wait for every pawn shop in the country to have a dark iPhone/iPad repair shop in the back!!
    There was no problem with removable batteries in the first place. Give me cheap recycled plastic over glass any day.

    These are situations that can be designed for. There is no requirement for glass backed phones, and nano coatings for internal components have been around for years. Technically speaking gaskets aren't even necessary.

    They aren't even a guarantee of water ingress protection either. 

    Phones don't need to be waterproof anyway. Splash proof is more than enough. 


    edited May 2021 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 36 of 82
    apmillerapmiller Posts: 35member
    GRKostur said:
    I am glad that my equipment is repaired by factory trained technicians using factory approved parts. One of my friends had a third party technician replace his iPhone 6 OEM battery with an after market battery and now he has no end of problems now with the iPhone. Apple won’t fix it and I don’t blame them, they are not responsible for someone else playing amateur repair tech. 
    Your choice. Your friend was unlucky. There probably was nothing for Apple to “fix”. Most likely needed another new battery, which Apple should have put in for $60. Apple actually charges a reasonable price now for replacement batteries, if you want it done by them. As a “amateur repair tech”, I’ve replaced several past warranty broken screens and batteries for myself and friends that worked fine, saving many hundreds of dollars over an Apple repair, or new iPhones. Thanks to ifixit, many iPhone and MacBook the repairs are doable. If you have a product failure under warranty, by all means get Apple to fix it. Of course Apple can refuse to “fix” any damage done by a repair shop either before or after the warranty. No one would expect otherwise. Let us have the choice: Do I put a new battery in myself for $20-30, or buy a new $800-1,200 iPhone. Hmmm. Not a hard choice. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 37 of 82
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,391member
    There are bigger risks than improper repairs causing batteries to exploded. One issue is that giving everyone access to schematics to repair violates IP protections and opens the door for even more counterfeiting and let’s competitors steal faster. The other issue is that unverified shops will have access to the device with your most sensitive information including passwords, access to banking and financial data, the protection device  in the 2 step verification systems in use out there so they can easily change passcode etc...

    There are a multiple reasons Apple does what it does, including why it doesn’t want to talk a lot about why they do some things. It’s safer for everyone if the criminals aren’t alerted to certain ideas, so they don’t know to focus on them. 
    GRKostur
  • Reply 38 of 82
    GRKosturGRKostur Posts: 4member
    apmiller said:
    GRKostur said:
    I am glad that my equipment is repaired by factory trained technicians using factory approved parts. One of my friends had a third party technician replace his iPhone 6 OEM battery with an after market battery and now he has no end of problems now with the iPhone. Apple won’t fix it and I don’t blame them, they are not responsible for someone else playing amateur repair tech. 
    Your choice. Your friend was unlucky. There probably was nothing for Apple to “fix”. Most likely needed another new battery, which Apple should have put in for $60. Apple actually charges a reasonable price now for replacement batteries, if you want it done by them. As a “amateur repair tech”, I’ve replaced several past warranty broken screens and batteries for myself and friends that worked fine, saving many hundreds of dollars over an Apple repair, or new iPhones. Thanks to ifixit, many iPhone and MacBook the repairs are doable. If you have a product failure under warranty, by all means get Apple to fix it. Of course Apple can refuse to “fix” any damage done by a repair shop either before or after the warranty. No one would expect otherwise. Let us have the choice: Do I put a new battery in myself for $20-30, or buy a new $800-1,200 iPhone. Hmmm. Not a hard choice. 
    Your point is valid, it was my friend’s choice not to let Apple replace the battery.  I do think your last sentence was disingenuous “ Let us have the choice: Do i put a new battery in myself for $20-30 or buy a new $800-1200 iPhone. Hmmm. Not a hard choice.” You glossed over the spectrum in between those points by not including having Apple replace the battery for $60 or should i try to replace the broken screen with a screen i bought on ebay which may or may not last, or maybe i should purchase a refurbished iPhone from Apple that has a guarantee, to buying a new Apple iPhone.   
    edited May 2021
  • Reply 39 of 82
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 755member
    Cutie named “reports” get the credibility they deserve: zero. 
  • Reply 40 of 82
    larryjwlarryjw Posts: 943member
    avon b7 said:
    This is an important first step and is good news.

    We'll see what comes of it but it is about time that manufacturers began improving their designs to make things easier to repair or upgrade. 

    There is definitely a balance to be made between robotic assembly (with likely far higher reliability) and assembly that people can do. Then add to problem of recycling and waste. 

    Stuff that can't be repaired increases the discard as waste, and harms the planet and ecosystems. 

    Just looking at "right to repair" does not take into account these other important goals. 

    There is no question that items that cannot be repaired does not harm business -- there's would be no business to harm. That is, it makes such businesses irrelevant. Is that okay? Would it be a viable business if these products failed more often? I'd say yes, but is that where we should be expending our efforts? 
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