As reported on Wired.com (link below) the the FTC recently voted to enforce laws around Right to Repair, ensuring that consumers will be able to repair their own electronic and automotive devices.
The vote comes days after President Biden signed an executive order aimed at promoting competition in the US economy. The order encouraged the FTC to create new rules that would prevent companies from restricting repair options for consumers.
“When you buy an expensive product, whether it’s a half-a-million-dollar tractor or a thousand-dollar phone, you are in a very real sense under the power of the manufacturer,” says Tim Wu, special assistant to the president for technology and competition policy within the National Economic Council. “And when they have repair specifications that are unreasonable, there’s not a lot you can do.”
During the comments portion of the hearing, a representative for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute claimed that “Right to Repair legislation fails to consider consumer safety and environmental protection with respect to our industry’s products … as an example, it would allow for modification of and tampering with safety controls of powered lawn mower blades required under law by the CPSC, as well as emissions controls required under law by the EPA.”
The commission said it would investigate repair restrictions both as potential violations of antitrust laws and from a consumer protection angle. The FTC is also encouraging the public to report warranty abuse—as defined by the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which prohibits manufacturers from telling consumers that a warranty is voided if the product has been altered or tampered with by someone other than the original manufacturer.
Jessa Jones, a repair expert who runs a business in upstate New York called iPad Rehab, and who claims to have fixed over 40,000 iPhones, urged the FTC to take the enforcement of the existing regulations seriously.
“Despite the anti-tying statement within the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, there’s still rampant disregard of the FTC rules,” Jones said during the public comments portion of the meeting. “Consumers and manufacturers alike still believe that you can void a warranty simply by opening a device.”
Read the entire story here.
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