March 8 (UPI) — A California lawmaker plans to introduce a bill that would require smartphone manufacturers to make diagnostic and repair information available to consumers and independent outlets.
Democratic Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman says smartphone manufacturers withhold information on their devices so that consumers can’t get them repaired when they slow down or break, forcing them to buy upgrades. Her bill would require manufacturers to make parts and diagnostic manuals available to the public in order to fix the devices when needed.
“The Right to Repair Act will provide consumers with the freedom to have their electronic products and appliances fixed by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, a practice that was taken for granted a generation ago but is now becoming increasingly rare in a world of planned obsolescence,” Eggman said in a statement.
In addition to saving consumers’ money, proponents of the bill says it can stimulate local economies by selling parts and repair services, as well as cut down on environmental waste by reducing the need for resources and rare minerals needed to manufacture electronic devices.
“People shouldn’t be forced to ‘upgrade’ to the newest model every time a replaceable part on their smartphone or home appliance breaks,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste. “These companies are profiting at the expense of our environment and our pocketbooks as we become a throw-away society that discards over 6 million tons of electronics every year.”
Seventeen other states who have introduced similar legislation,including Washington, Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia.
But manufacturers have fought the bills and used lobbying efforts to defeat similar legislation on grounds that giving repair information would reveal trade secrets.