Senator Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) has introduced Senate Bill 983 to disrupt the lack of competition in the consumer repair market. This effort is supported by consumer advocates, environmental advocates, and the repair community.
California has long required that manufacturers of consumer electronics and appliances provide repair services through their own authorized networks, but limits on who can access the appropriate tools and parts, and the information and software to repair devices, has stifled the market. When consumers can choose to fix the things they own or take them to a local, regulated independent repair shop, they have the opportunity to extend the life of their property rather than replace it.
“The ability to fix the things that we own, through our own hands or those of a trusted independent repair shop, should not be a controversial or partisan issue,” Senator Eggman said. “Improving the access to replacement parts and the safety of repairs with appropriate service documentation will give consumers the choice to save some money and keep their electronics and appliances a little longer before they must be replaced.”
Pressure has been building for many years on ensuring the Right to Repair from consumer advocates, shareholders, state legislatures, and in Congress, and now President Biden and the Federal Trade Commission have joined the call to reduce the barriers to repair.
“We get rid of some 46,000 cell phones every day in California, that’s just absurd,” said Sander Kushen, Advocate for CALPIRG, who is backing the bill. “And it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The companies that make so many of our products no longer give us what we need to fix them, and the result is extra cost for consumers and toxic electronic waste.”
“The forced obsolescence of unrepairable products forces consumers to spend money to replace expensive electronics and appliances that could otherwise continue to work for decades,” said Nick Lapis, Director of Advocacy for Californians Against Waste, a co-sponsor of the bill. “This not only places a financial burden on consumers but also drives unsustainable mining and extraction that has a tremendous environmental impact up and down the supply chain.”
Maureen Mahoney, Senior Policy Analyst at Consumer Reports, a co-sponsor of the bill, added: “When consumers buy a device, they should be able to fix it or have it fixed by the repairer of their choice. That’s why we’re supporting Senator Eggman’s bill, which would guarantee this right to repair for California consumers, giving them more choices for repair, and helping them to save money and reduce waste.”