In recent years you have probably heard the phrase “Right to Repair” being thrown around.
If you are not really in the know you may not understand what this means, so we will break it down here. Right to Repair is essentially allowing users of devices that they purchase the choice of choosing who repairs their devices should it break. The basics of the Right to Repair movement are as follows.
A. Devices being easily serviceable using basic tools, or have access to specialized tools
B. Parts being readily available to anyone willing to purchase them
C. Access to diagrams and schematics that show the basic assembly of the device
D. The right to chose who services your device
A great example of this is in the automotive industry. You can have your car serviced at any number of dealers, independent repair shops, or even do the work yourself. This is because the parts are readily available from any number of sources. Going back only 50 years to the early 1970s, you could buy an appliance be it a TV, Refrigerator, Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, air conditioner, or any other major appliance.
You would receive a schematic that would tell you exactly how that device is put together with all the part numbers and you could go to a hardware store to purchase the parts needed to repair those appliances. Even the computers that came out in the 80s and 90s came with these diagrams and schematics.
Let’s say your phone’s screen breaks making the touch function no longer work. You take it to a repair shop to get it fixed. They say they are not able to fix it because they are not able to get parts and you have to go to the manufacturer to get that fixed. You take it to the manufacturer and they say that it will cost the price of a new phone to replace the screen. So you decide to just buy a new phone. Well what happens to that old phone? It gets thrown away and goes into a landfill, just because it has a broken screen.
Now let’s roll back and say that the parts are available to that repair shop you took it to originally. You pay a small markup on the part, and the labor charge to actually repair the device. You leave the device for a few hours or days, and come back to a working device with all your information still on it. That would probably only cost you 30% of the price of a brand new phone. This is what Right to Repair is trying to make happen. To give independent repair shops access to parts, tools, and schematics to devices and make them serviceable.
There are a lot of independent repair shops that have to turn away business simply because they are unable to get new parts. Frankenstein Computers is included in that list. When it comes to certain devices, they can’t be repaired due to not having access to new or even refurbished parts. Why aren’t there even refurbished parts? Because the manufacturer goes after refurbishment companies and seizes their parts in order to shred them. These parts are perfectly repairable, or have serviceable components that can be salvaged and sold to repair shops to fix devices.
So what can you do to help with this? First and foremost, do your own research, this is a basic bare bones breakdown of what Right to Repair is all about. There are a lot of companies, primarily manufacturers, that are trying to stop this from passing. If this does not move forward with enough momentum you will soon see a lot of repair shops simply refusing service and referring you to the manufacturer.
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