In the US, electronics ‘right to fix’ gains traction from FTC

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FTC: Less than two weeks after US President Joe Biden asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to draft new rules that guarantee US citizens the “right to fix,” the agency responded on Wednesday. ) with a series of measures to restore this traditional right.

As a starting point, the five FTC commissioners unanimously approved a policy statement supporting the “right to fix.” As it is the body responsible for civil antitrust control and consumer protection, this means intensifying inspection and creating new regulations.

A well-known critic of big technology companies, FTC President Lina Khan said it is important to remove any kind of restriction on the right of consumers to repair their products. For her, such limitations increase costs, create electronic waste and restrict the activity of outsourced workshops.

What can the FTC do?

Asked by the Washington Post about practical steps the FTC could take to secure Americans the right to repair their cell phones, computers, video games or tractors, Khan explained that the agency already has the tools to remove illegal restrictions on repairs. For her, today’s declaration “commits us to move forward on this issue with new vigor.”

While the commission did not specifically name any particular company, the practices criticized point to companies such as Apple, Samsung, and tractor maker John Deere. These are practices such as glued components, limited access to spare parts and restriction to diagnostic software.

This is not to say that companies have to rethink the manufacture of their products. However, the FTC’s new stance may discourage manufacturers from designing items that in any way frustrate the right to repair. The agency can also create rules so that independent repair shops have access to tools currently only available in official stores.

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