California Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman on Wednesday announced her plans to introduce a California Right to Repair Act which she says will allow customers to choose a repair shop of their choice.
The Right to Repair Bill will require Apple and other smartphone makers to provide replacement parts, repair information and diagnostic tools to the owners of the devices as well as independent repair shops.
“The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence,” Eggman said.
Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste said smartphone manufacturers and home appliance makers are “profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks” while Kit Walsh, Senior Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the new bill is “critical to protect independent repair shops and a competitive market for repair,” which will lead to “better service and lower prices.”
California joins 17 other states that have introduced similar legislation, including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Apple and several other tech firms have lobbied against similar bills in other states. Apple told lawmakers in Nebraska that passing Right to Repair legislation would make the state a “mecca for bad actors.”
“Apple said we would be the only state that would pass this, and that we would become the mecca for bad actors,” Brasch, who is sponsoring the bill, told me in a phone call. “They said that doing this would make it very easy for hackers to relocate to Nebraska.”
On the other side of the battle, Right to Repair bills are endorsed by independent repair shops, repair parts supplier iFixit, and consumer advocacy groups.
Apple customers with products in need of repair are currently required to visit Apple retail stores or an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or mail the product in need of repair to an Apple repair facility. Repairs from unauthorized repair shops can void a device’s warranty.