The “Right to Repair” movement has been brewing for several years and appears to have finally come to fruition. Landmark legislation was passed throughout Europe earlier this year, which caused the movement to gain further traction in the United States. Although the Right to Repair is not a new concept in America, half of the nation has laws either in place or in the works to guarantee consumers the right to repair their goods rather than simply replacing them when they break.
Of course, this does not merely mean they are allowed to fix things that break. This also requires that manufacturers jump through certain hoops to be able to sell their products and not be in violation of the law. Right to repair legislation requires that manufacturers not hold a monopoly on fixing their products. Meaning they would have to allow smaller retailers and specialty stores to have the ability to fix product problems for them.
Furthermore, the legislation imposes the idea that large manufacturers use simple parts that can be easily replaced instead of very specific, brand-specialized parts that have formerly only been produced by and for the company or product necessary. In short, right-to-repair laws are intended to make lives easier for consumers and small businesses but may cause the production element to be more difficult for big brands in the short term.
As previously mentioned, a large portion of the country has been working for years to put these laws into place on a state level. Yet, it was not until last year that there was a proposal to push the right to repair as a nationwide law.
Many states who have been pushing for widespread right to repair laws have instead narrowed their focus to one area in hopes of success. For example, California currently has a proposed bill with the goal to win the right to repair medical equipment. Other states have tried a different approach. They have set up multiple bills, each targeting different fields. Hawaii is one of these states. They have pushed one bill for medical equipment, another for all non-car devices, and another still for consumer products, such as cell phones.
It is estimated that as a nation, the U.S. would save roughly $40 billion annually if the right to repair laws went into full effect. This would translate to roughly $330 per family annually. The current state-specific laws in place and possible legislation for enactment can be looked up at the sources below.