I’m sure many of you remember when getting something repaired was a fairly simple process, you just took it down to the repair shop. Even as computers gained in popularity, you could still take your PC down and have a local tech look at any problems.

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These days it’s not so simple. Your options for many items are limited to sending it back to the manufacturer or only taking the item to someone selected by the manufacturer. Not only can allowing a repair shop to look at your item invalidate your warranty, some devices will flat out shut down and refuse to work unless the repair person has access to special codes only provided by the manufacturer.

Just attempting to repair some items is actually a violation of digital copyright laws. Many times, manufacturers refuse to share the information that would make it possible for you or a repair shop to even attempt o fix an item.

Twenty-seven have proposed “right to repair laws.” Many bills would require electronics manufacturers to offer repair information and sell parts to repair devices.

Proponents of the legislation say it not only saves money, but reduces waste, and creates repair jobs in local communities.

Apple and other electronics manufacturers have resisted the legislation, saying it’s too easy for non-experts to damage the devices and that it compromises security. Car manufacturers have also gotten into the fray. Subaru disabled many features on its vehicles in Massachusetts after the state passed a right-to-repair law in 2020. 

But there seems to be a growing feeling that expensive items like smartphones should be repairable. Whether that will translate to these proposals becoming laws, remains to be seen. You can learn more about the fight for the right to repair and see a map detailing which states have laws at this link: https://www.repair.org/stand-up