The Federal Trade Commission today unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and even government entities from fixing their own products. The policy statement adopted today is aimed at manufacturers’ practices that make it extremely difficult for purchasers to repair their products or shop around for other service providers to do it for them. By enforcing against restrictions that violate antitrust or consumer protection laws, the Commission is taking important steps to restore the right to repair.
In May, the FTC released a report to Congress that concluded that manufacturers use a variety of methods—such as using adhesives that make parts difficult to replace, limiting the availability of parts and tools, or making diagnostic software unavailable—that have made consumer products harder to fix and maintain. The policy statement notes that such restrictions on repairs of devices, equipment, and other products have increased the burden on consumers and businesses. In addition, manufacturers and sellers may be restricting competition for repairs in a number of ways that might violate the law.
“These types of restrictions can significantly raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close off business opportunity for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs, and undermine resiliency,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said during an open Commission meeting. “The FTC has a range of tools it can use to root out unlawful repair restrictions, and today’s policy statement would commit us to move forward on this issue with new vigor.”
In the policy statement, the Commission said it would target repair restrictions that violate antitrust laws enforced by the FTC or the FTC Act’s prohibitions on unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Commission also urged the public to submit complaints of violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits, among other things, tying a consumer’s product warranty to the use of a specific service provider or product, unless the FTC has issued a waiver.
The Commission voted 5-0 to approve the policy statement during an open Commission meeting live streamed to its website.
MacDailyNews Take: People will get hurt (especially by damaging batteries during attempted repairs), components will break in inexperienced hands, devices that could have been repaired by capable, trained, experienced hands will instead be destroyed then landfilled, and Apple will get blamed for it all.
This is not a “we want to make a profit on battery replacements” issue. Apple has and makes more than enough money on myriad other products and services.
This is a safety issue.
Scams abound in the unauthorized iPhone battery business and theses batteries are capable of doing much damage if not properly handled and installed.
Do you want to be trapped aboard a jet plane at 30,000 feet when Joe Six Pack’s self-replaced no-name battery inside his shitty Android phone decides to spontaneously combust?
Until reasonable safety and security concerns can be laid to rest, we cannot support blanket “Right to Repair” legislation. The recent shelving of such legislation in Ontario and California suggest that legislators aren’t entirely convinced on the matter of “Right to Repair,” either.
Ontario’s ‘Right to Repair’ bill killed after big tech lobbying including Apple – May 3, 2019
California pulls its right-to-repair bill following pressure from Apple, other firms – May 1, 2019
Why Apple doesn’t want you repairing your broken iPhone or iPad yourself – July 12, 2017
Apple lobbying against ‘Right to Repair’ legislation, New York State records confirm – May 18, 2017
Apple fights against ‘right to repair’ – April 20, 2017
Apple fights ‘right to repair’ proposal; warns Nebraska could become a ‘Mecca for bad actors’ – March 10, 2017
Apple fights tooth and nail against ‘right to repair’ laws – March 8, 2017
Right-to-Repair is ridiculous – February 16, 2017
Apple said to fight ‘Right to Repair’ legislation – February 15, 2017