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Right to Repair Electronics

April 11, 2022
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Elena Bickell

Executive Summary 

Currently, digital devices and machines can only be repaired by technicians licensed by the original equipment manufacturer or with parts from exclusive manufacturer networks. Right to repair (R2R) legislation requires that manufacturers provide independent repair providers and users with the required information to repair digital devices in a timely and reasonable manner. Over the last four years, 27 states, including Missouri, have proposed R2R legislation. There are three bills in the Missouri Legislature (HB 2141, HB 2402, and SB 1086) discussing the right to repair and The Missouri Right to Repair Digital Electronic Equipment Initiative may appear as a ballot initiative during the November 2022 elections. 

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.

 

This Note has been updated. You can access the previous version here (published in November 2021).

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