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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

What is 'Right To Repair' and How Does it Affect You?

As technology devices become more difficult to repair as well as an increasing amount of electronics that are ending up in our landfills, a grassroots movement called 'Right to Repair' has been growing, especially in Europe, to encourage big tech companies to make your devices much easier to fix. This movement is getting legs as New York State recently passed a right-to-repair bill. The goal of this movement has three goals. First, to increase the availability of parts for your tech devices. Second, it gives you the right to open your devices to fix them or to replace items like batteries. Finally, to keep independent technology shops open. As a regular user of technology, why should you care about this movement, and how does it affect you? Read on to find out more.

There has been a trend in recent years that tech devices, as well as home appliances, have gone from break/fix to break/replace. Take for example older cell and smartphones had the ability to have the battery replaced without tools. Same thing with laptops. If we go a little further back in time, remember the old Chilton's automobile repair guides?

There are several ways companies sabotage the repair process.

  1. Apple devices are notoriously hard to repair as MacBooks use hex screws which make it almost impossible to take apart. iPhones, iPads, and iMacs use double-sided tape to seal their devices. If you attempt to take them apart to repair them, you risk damaging the screens of these devices.

  2. Windows manufacturers have moved to an all-in-one model with computers that are similar in design to Apple's iMacs. While these devices look pleasing and eliminate the need to have an additional computer tower and fewer cables, these devices are hard to take apart to do simple repairs.

  3. Home appliances that used to last decades are built to last only a few years. Additionally, if your appliance breaks down, you could be waiting weeks to get parts for those devices.

  4. Many of the items that are manufactured have a short shelf life, which means parts for these devices are only available for a short time.

  5. Planned obselence. Many computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets are retired too soon because big tech companies release operating system updates that render a device unusuable. The reality is, many of these devices can run the newer operating system updates, but the updates are designed to detect older equimpment and deny any changes made to those devices.

The move from the repair of devices is simple: It makes companies more money to have devices that are impossible to repair. As a consumer, you are more likely to purchase a new device if you encounter an independent shop that takes weeks to repair your laptop or smartphone. Are you really going to wait a month if you have a home appliance that's on the fritz and the parts are on backorder? The story that manufacturers use is that they are trying to keep consumers and independent shop owners safe from problems and dangers that can occur when attempting to perform repairs as well as keeping consumers safe from cyber threats that can occur when taking a device to a repair shop. While it's true there is a risk of electrical shock from computer repairs and appliance repairs, there is a minimum risk of experiencing a cyber breach when repairing.

In the end, the right to repair devices will save people money and it will help protect our environment. We can keep manufacturing devices at this high rate. Also, it will be easier for repair companies to get your devices repaired in a timely manner.

Hopefully, this has given you an explaination of right to repair and how it impacts you. If you need further assistance, please reach out to me with any questions you might have. I am always happy to help!

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