The term “Right-to-Repair” has a dynamic history. It refers to the legal rights of owners to modify and repair devices such as cell phones, computers, and automobiles. Thus, it has a global impact. Whether it’s consumers or repair shops, they all benefit from it in one way or another.
This statement is rooted in a few months ago when the right-to-repair movement held ground in the USA. Soon the United Kingdom and other participating countries will also follow the law trails. With one year of implementation time, it will be fully effective in the US.
Before discussing the law and the range of electronic devices it covers, let’s look at the brief history of the right-to-repair movement.
Right to Repair Movement: How It All Started
This movement simply comprised a single idea, “If you own it, you should have the right to repair it by whoever you want, and wherever you want”. That’s all!
The repair movement’s advocates in the USA (members of the Right to Repair association) highlighted this issue a few years ago. They were striving to have the right to repair implemented as soon as possible. Thus, they presented and explained it as the fair repair act in New York. According to this each device owner will have the right to its device repair.
Kyle Wiens, the owner of iFixit, is also one of the prominent and pioneer advocates of this right. Kyle foresaw the problem of repairs when he encountered customers having problems with their devices. There was no proper way to fix these faulty devices, especially cell phones. If they tried to fix the device then according to the manufacturer’s policy, it would void their warranty. The only option was to get the phone fixed by its manufacturer. And that required spending a lot. So instead of fixing their phones, customers preferred buying a new device due to the price hike.
So, Kyle wanted a solution to this absolute madness. He started by presenting a friendly proposal to Apple and other big manufacturers to provide them the data and tools to fix their devices as all people cannot afford to send their phones to Apple stores for repair. However, Apple did not show much concern which led Kyle to take the concern lawfully, and the right-to-repair movement was born.
What Is Right to Repair and What Points Does It Cover?
On June 3, 2022, the New York State Legislature passed an electronic right-to-repair bill. And what it means is shown in the image below.
This law accommodates cell phones, laptops (consumer electronics), and farming equipment. However, medical equipment, public communication, and home appliances are still under consideration in the US Senate.
Though oppositions have filed plenty of counter-arguments to nullify this legislation like safety and copyright reasons. This rebuttal heeded nothing as far now. So Apple decided to side with the Right to Repair Law instead of opposing it. This is a win-win situation for both parties. And it’s well-known that where Apple goes, others follow. With that said, this law bears no obstacle so far.
Recently, Samsung and Apple introduced self-repair programs which provided consumers access to their tools and information to perform repairs. So it is a step forward through progress but still, it didn’t fulfill the purpose.
Anyway, every tech company eventually has to bend down to the right to repair 2023 legislation by choice or by law. It’s better if it goes by choice as Kyle was proposing earlier.
A Trump Card for Repair Businesses
The right-to-repair law holds concrete importance in ending the monopolistic behavior of cell phone companies. Especially Apple which has made it nearly impossible to repair their devices.
This is splendid news for the independent repair shops. Now the market will not be dominated by the 2% chunk which includes these big tech companies. This law will help break the resistance of these companies by giving them access to their parts and tools for the repair job.
The repair business has a lot of potential. How many times do you remember having fixed your favorite watch, home appliance, or cell phone from a nearby repair store? Every time you face an issue you tend to take it to your nearby shop for repair and viola it’s brand new again. Ever since these modern tools and complicated devices came in, you have been tricked into using their services. On the other hand, your neighborhood repair shop can repair the unrepairable!
With the right tools, one can repair a broken phone error-free. It is extremely helpful for the people that need repairs there and then. For instance, farmers can have a malfunctioned tractor and if not repaired, their crops could suffer. With the manual and tools provided by the manufacturer, they can repair it themselves or call a technician from nearby. And just like that, the job is done in minutes instead of sending it back to the manufacturer.
Thus, the right-to-repair law restores the faith of consumers in independent repair shops by providing them with the tools and data to work with. This law empowers the repair business to do their job more efficiently and consumers to save their money.
Whenever someone faces any issues while using their device, they visit a repair shop, making them highly demanding. And with the right-to-repair movement, it would be very helpful for repair business owners to
Attract More Customers: Repair shop owners can fix any phone, irrespective of its manufacturer such as Apple, Samsung, or Lenovo. So, there will be chances of more customers visiting the shop.
Enhanced Profitability: More customers means there will be more chances of generating more revenue, ultimately increasing profitability.
More Job Opportunities: With the right to repair, companies can no longer preserve the right to themselves. So owners can visit any repair shop. With increasing demands, there will be more job opportunities for skilled labor, including repair technicians.
And being a repair shop owner, one may come across several challenges such as managing inventory, employees, cash flow, etc. So, using a repair shop software such as RepairDesk is a must. Having this system in the shop, repair businesses don’t have to worry about missing calculations or any human errors.
In the beginning, when I meant globally it covers everybody in the tech chain including manufacturers, distributors, and consumers. I wonder why big tech companies are extremely resistant to this idea of independent repair. This right itself opens a great set of opportunities for them like manufacturing machinery for the repair business, providing instruction manuals, and collaborating with them.
In this modern era, where advancements in technology should be a blessing for the masses, it’s turning into a curse. It is due to the acts of tech companies which is causing unnecessary fatigue to the consumers. That’s why the right to repair is a critical right for society. It is providing opportunities to all the adversaries in the tech funnel especially repair businesses and consumers.