Federal Trade Commission Enters Fray Over Right To Repair

(PatrioticPost.com)- The Federal Trade Commission just entered the years-long debate over consumers’ “right to repair” – an issue relating to restrictions put in place by device manufacturers over unauthorized repairs of their devices. The report revealed the huge costs created by manufacturers who limit their customers’ ability to repair their own products.

A good example of where “right to repair” comes into play is Apple’s AirPods, the wireless earphones that contain small rechargeable batteries. Those devices are expected to last roughly 18 months before they have to be replaced. However, if Apple made it easy for batteries to be replaced, then customers would not have to pay another hundred dollars – or more – to replace them.

Another good example is Microsoft’s Surface Laptop range. If customers choose a laptop with the “alcantara” fabric cover over the keyboard, it means that the laptop can never be opened up for repairs without tearing the fabric – which cannot be replaced. Once the battery in these laptop dies, the laptop needs to be replaced.

In the new report, titled “Nixing the Fix: An FTC Report to Congress on Repair Restrictions,” it’s revealed how several intentional design choices have been made by big tech manufacturers to make repairing devices difficult. It also revealed how tech companies didn’t provide evidence to support their claims that the right to repair would diminish their ability to innovate.

How would putting a plastic or removable back on smartphones, for instance, stop tech companies from innovating? That’s all it would take to allow users to replace the batteries of their iPhones, the same way users did during the BlackBerry era.

“There is scant evidence to support manufacturers’ jurisdictions for repair restrictions,” the report concluded.

The damning report, which you can read here, could be a warning shot to Big Tech – and could soon force them to rethink how they make devices entirely.