What Is The Right To Repair, and Why Do We Care?

When gadgets and technologies first gained popularity, it was easier to mend broken electronics, either on your own or at an IT hardware repair shop. However, manufacturers have recently made it more difficult if not impossible for users to debug and repair their gadgets on their own; even IT repair experts find it tough to fix some faulty technologies and gadgets. This act is an infringement on every user’s right to repair and if we don’t take steps to stand against manufacturers’ tactics, our right to repair will gradually fade off into thin air. Read on for more details about the right to repair and why it matters (both personally and professionally).

What Is The Right To Repair

The Right to Repair is a global movement that gives consumers the right to fix purchased electronics; it’s the right that allows gadget users or owners to take control of their devices and technologies. In other words, if your device or technology needs repair you can have it done by anyone else aside from the manufacturer. Though this right has not been listed in the Bills of Rights, it’s only technical for the person that purchases a product to have the authorization to fix it or remodel it to their taste. But, to be honest, most of us do not understand that we have no other options than to contact our device manufacturers for repairs. 

Let’s make it a little clearer! Take a look at your smartphone, gaming device, or even your television, if they get damaged, can you fix them yourself? Or can you trust your repair shop to fix it well? I bet your answer is “no”. This leaves you with one last option; contact your manufacturers to schedule an appointment for your repair. However, if the Right of Repair is passed, it means that manufacturers must allow customers access to diagnostic software, spare parts, firmware, service manuals, and other materials needed by consumers to adequately diagnose and repair their technologies independently.

The Current State Of The Right To Repair

The Right to Repair movement has caught the attention of several lawmakers in various countries. Due to this, bills have been passed to legalize the law but various terms have restricted the legalization of the right. However, some states have passed laws like the Right to Repair while others have not; some states have specific rules about what types of devices qualify for repair rights while others don’t. Furthermore, some countries have restricted the Right To Repair to professional IT repairs only. 

Therefore, to further give this global movement more momentum, every customer must support the movement by sharing their thoughts and concerns. This way, customers won’t be forced to seek costly repairs offered by manufacturers and we all won’t be easily cajoled into buying new devices or technologies whenever our old ones get damaged.

Reasons to Support the Right to Repair

Save Money

Most people plan their monthly spending and an unexpected broken gadget can disrupt the plan. But if you could fix the damaged device yourself or at a local repair shop, it’ll cost you less and it might not disturb your planned funds. On the other hand, since manufacturers are aware that their products can only be repaired by their technicians, they often charge more for repairs. In addition, if you have an older model of the gadget which the manufacturer’s technicians are unfamiliar with, your gadgets could be termed obsolete and you could be advised to buy a newer model which would cost much more than you bargained for.

Protect the Environment.

The e-waste generated worldwide hit a record high of 60 million metric tons a few years back. This means that the more old gadgets we dispose of, the more we contribute to the increasingly growing landfill. Thankfully, there are effective ways to protect our environment from such waste and one of them is by repairing old gadgets so that they can stay in use. This will ensure that people are not buying new electronics every time they break their old ones.

Job Opportunities

The more customers are obligated to contact manufacturers for repairs, the more local independent technicians lose their clients. But if the bill to the Right To Repair is passed, independent technicians will have all the materials needed to fix new model devices correctly and they will retain their clients and gain more clients.

We hope this post has given you an overview of what the Right to Repair is and why it’s important. Therefore, make sure to play your part in reinforcing the movement.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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