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Oregon State Legislature passes landmark right to repair bill

Oregon’s right to repair bill is the first-of-its-kind to include a provision to restrict parts pairing

Salem, OR. — Consumer Reports applauds the Oregon State Legislature for passing a landmark right to repair bill today  (Senate Bill 1596), which requires consumer electronics and household appliance manufacturers to provide documentation, tools, parts or other devices or implements for the purpose of diagnosing, maintaining or repairing consumer electronic equipment. Consumer Reports provided testimony to support the bill in both the House and the Senate. This bill is also the first in the nation to prevent the practice of software parts pairing. It passed 42 to 13 in the House today.

The bill will head to Governor Tina Kotek, and Consumer Reports urges her to sign it into law, giving Oregon the strongest right to repair law in the nation. If signed into law, Oregon would be the first in the nation to prevent parts pairing, and would extend the right to repair phones, tablets, and other digital devices to more than 4 million people. 

Parts pairing refers to a manufacturer’s practice of using software to identify component parts through a unique identifier. Manufacturers can use parts pairing to prevent access to repair or confuse the consumer about a third-party repair’s efficacy. As consumers increasingly purchase products with a software component and those products are connected to the internet, a lack of clarity around repair rules can mean that these devices exist in a gray area where even after a consumer purchases a product, the manufacturer retains control and ownership of it. 

Justin Brookman, director of tech policy at Consumer Reports, said, “At Consumer Reports we have supported legislative efforts to protect a consumer’s right to repair their own products because doing so reduces waste, saves consumers money and offers consumers more choice when it comes to maintaining their expensive gadgets and appliances. 

“With software becoming an essential element in today’s products, Consumer Reports backs laws that prevent software from becoming a tool to enforce manufacturers’ monopolies on the repair process. Consumer Reports thanks Senator Janeen Sollman and Representative Coutney Neron for championing this bill and their leadership in shepherding it through the legislative process.”

Oregon joins New York, California and Minnesota which all have passed right to repair laws within the last two years. Consumer Reports has also incorporated the right to repair into its 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. 

Contact: cyrus.rassool@consumer.org