St. Paul, MN — The Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate approved key right-to-repair legislation this week as part of a larger omnibus bill (SF 2744).
The right to repair language is endorsed by Consumer Reports (CR) and based on CR’s model legislation. Minnesota’s legislators in both chambers have now passed the most comprehensive right to repair legislation in the United States.
The larger bill must go through several steps before it makes it out of the legislature and goes to the governor. If the governor signs the bill into law, Minnesota consumers would have the right to fix—or have an independent repair shop of their choosing fix— a wide variety of products that rely upon digital electronics to function in whole or in part, rather than being forced to go through the device manufacturer. The bill covers not only consumers’ phones, tablets, and laptops; it covers smart appliances, business computers, and other kinds of electronics as well.
“The Digital Fair Repair Act will ensure that Minnesotans have the ability to exercise their full traditional rights of ownership over products they purchase, including the right to get those products repaired. We are thrilled that Minnesota is taking such a strong stance for consumers, and this offers a powerful model for other states and Congress to follow. We thank Senator Kupec, Representative Fischer, Chair Stephenson and Chair Klein for leading the fight for the right to repair in Minnesota. We urge the legislature to preserve the right to repair language as it completes this bill and sends it to the governor,” said Laurel Lehman, policy analyst for Consumer Reports.
Right to repair legislation has gained support in a number of states as manufacturers have made it difficult to make what should be simple repairs on their expensive devices. These manufacturers have restricted access to basic diagnostic information, tools, and replacement parts needed to make repairs. These tactics force consumers to rely on the manufacturer or its hand-picked servicers. Without competition and choice, repair costs get inflated. Sometimes the manufacturer even refuses to repair the product at all, forcing the consumer to throw it away and buy a new one— especially frustrating amidst chip and mineral shortages and other recurring supply chain shortages.
CR has long supported the right to repair. In addition to supporting similar bills in states around the country, CR has incorporated the right to repair into the Digital Standard, a set of best practices that CR uses to evaluate the privacy and security of software, digital platforms and services, and internet-connected products, as well as to help influence the design of these products.
According to a nationally representative survey carried out by Consumer Reports in November-December 2021, 84% of Americans said they agreed with a policy to require manufacturers to make repair information and parts available either to independent repair professionals or to product owners.
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