Right to reparation could be demanded nationwide with presidential decree

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  • President Biden is preparing an executive order that would require the FTC to create rules on the right to redress.
  • It would allow you to repair your phone or PC yourself, or at an independent repair shop.
  • The order could be issued in a few days.

If you have dreamed of a day when you could repair your own devices (or take them to independent stores) with no warranty hassle, you might get your wish soon. Bloomberg has learned that President Biden will soon issue an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission to create right to redress rules that would apply nationwide.

The Right to Repair Order would let the FTC set the specific rules, but Biden would focus his attention on phone makers, farm equipment and defense contractors, according to Bloombergthe sources. The White House has not confirmed the details of the order, but economic adviser Brian Deese said the executive’s decision would lead to “more competition”, lower prices and higher wages.

Any FTC command would take some time to implement. If national rules on the right to repair are adopted, companies might not be allowed to void your warranty or otherwise punish you for unofficial maintenance. The rules could also prevent companies from limiting access to necessary repair tools. However, the measurements may not make repairs easy – you may still have to deal with glue and sealed batteries.

The order would come after many governments tried to implement (and sometimes succeed with) their own right to redress measures. While state legislatures have largely failed to implement remedial rights into law (sometimes because of the lobbying), the European Commission is considering instituting rules that would impose broader repair options for phones, PCs and tablets. A US-wide bill would effectively replace states and replicate at least part of that EU approach.

Expect strong resistance from tech companies. Apple, Google, Microsoft and others fought hard against the right to repair bills. The companies claim that these measures would facilitate the scam of intellectual property, increase security risks and even harm users through botched repair attempts. Not that these arguments would have much impact at the FTC. It’s likely to move forward regardless of what the companies want, and it’s only a matter of time before you run out of repair options.

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