Washington, DC — Consumer Reports has endorsed the Fair Repair Act, introduced today by U.S. Rep. Joseph Morelle of New York. This is the first bill in Congress that would guarantee consumers the right to have their electronic devices fixed by a repair servicer of their choosing — or to make their own repairs, if they can.
“We are thrilled that Representative Morelle has introduced this landmark bill,” said Maureen Mahoney, senior policy analyst for Consumer Reports. “It would ensure that consumers have real choices for fixing the devices they own, which can give them more convenient options, save them money, prevent waste, and help protect the environment.”
The Fair Repair Act is based on model legislation developed by Consumer Reports and other allies in the right-to-repair effort. This 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 those 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. This year, right-to-repair bills have been introduced in 27 states.
“The Fair Repair Act will help restore consumers’ ability to exercise their full traditional rights of ownership over products they purchase, including the right to get those products repaired — even as technology evolves,” said George Slover, senior policy counsel for Consumer Reports. “We look forward to working with Congressman Morelle and others to advance this important consumer legislation.”
Consumer Reports has long supported this right to repair. In addition to supporting similar bills in states around the country, Consumer Reports 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.
This new federal legislation is the latest in a series of important developments on the right to repair. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a landmark report, Nixing the Fix, which explores how repair restrictions hurt consumers, particularly low-income consumers and communities of color. And earlier this month, the New York State Senate advanced the Digital Fair Repair Act, S. 4104, also based on CR’s model legislation, becoming the first legislative body in the United States to pass such a measure.
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