During an opening At the commission’s meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission unanimously voted to enforce laws regarding the right to repair, ensuring that American consumers will be able to repair their own electronics and automobiles.

the FTC the approval of the rules is not a surprising result; the issue of the right to redress has been remarkably bipartisan, and the FTC itself published a long report in May which blasted manufacturers for limiting repairs. But the 5-0 vote signals the commission’s commitment to enforcing both federal antitrust laws and a key consumer warranty law – the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act– when it comes to repairs of personal devices.

The vote, which was led by new FTC chairwoman and well-known tech critic Lina Khan, also comes 12 days after President Joe Biden signed a broad decree aimed at promoting competition in the US economy. The order was aimed at a wide range of industries, from banks and airlines to tech companies. But one party encouraged the FTC, which operates as an independent agency, 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 unreasonable repair specs, there’s not much you can do. “

Wu added that Right of reparation has become a “visceral example” of the enormous imbalance between workers, consumers, small businesses and large entities.

Steady job

The FTC vote is another victory for the Right to Repair movement in the United States, which has been led by advocacy groups like the American Public Interest Research Group, as well as private companies like I fix it, the California-based company that sells gadget repair kits and publishes repair manuals for DIY enthusiasts. Proponents of the right to repair have long argued that consumers should have access to the tools, parts, documentation and software necessary to repair the products they own, whether it is a smartphone or a smartphone. ‘a tractor.

These groups are also quick to report instances where large manufacturers block or limit independent product repair options, or force consumers to return directly to a manufacturer, who then charges extra for a fix. And it’s not just about fixing a broken glass on a smartphone or fixing an insanely small smartwatch: at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020, medical device engineers started talking on the dangers of not having access to tools to repair critical devices, such as ventilators, in times of crisis.

As more and more products are designed with internet connectivity, from smartphones to refrigerators to cars, the issue of repair rights has become increasingly complicated. Repair advocates say consumers should have access to all data collected by their personal devices, and independent repair shops should have access to the same software diagnostic tools as “authorized” stores.

“I urge the FTC to use its regulatory authority to strengthen basic consumer and private property rights, and update them for the digital age, as manufacturers seek to transform hundreds of millions of homeowners. technologies into tenants of their own property, ”said Paul Roberts, Founder of Securepairs.org, during a public comment section of today’s FTC meeting. “A digital repair right is an essential tool that will extend the life of electronic devices. “



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