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Right to Repair Electronics

November 16, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Eleni Bickell

Executive Summary

Currently, digital devices and machines can only be repaired by technicians licensed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or with parts available through exclusive manufacturer networks. The proposed “Right to Repair” (R2R) legislation in Missouri requires an OEM to make diagnostic, maintenance, and repair equipment available to independent repair providers or users. R2R legislation requires that OEMs provide independent repair providers and users with the required practical tools to repair digital devices such as laptops, phones, and printers in a timely and reasonable manner. Over the last three years, 27 states, including Missouri, have seen R2R legislation be proposed or adopted.

 Highlights 

  • Granting access to electronic and medical devices expands consumer options for repair, but some of the methods of access could violate liability laws. 
    • State and federal lawmakers have enacted R2R legislation in the domains of electronics, agriculture, medical devices, home products, and the U.S. Military.
    • Federal agencies are expanding the list of products and services that are allowed to be fixed by third-parties, including cars and medical devices. 
  • Device manufacturers from technology, agriculture, and medical device industries oppose R2R legislation.
  • Because existing restrictions make electronics, or their repair, more expensive, it is likely that low-income populations and minorities are affected more by a lack of R2R legislation than the general population.

Limitations

  • Research on the effects of R2R legislation on low-income and minority populations is lacking.
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