PC & Mobile technology
14.10.2023 13:33

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Right to Repair Made Statutory in California

Right to Repair Made Statutory in California

In the past, we've reported on consumers' rights to do-it-yourself repairs on products ranging from phones to cars, which has become increasingly difficult to do over the past year. In the US state of California, however, the situation is changing for the better.

California passed a landmark law requiring tech companies to provide parts and repair manuals for smartphones seven years after they were released.

The legislative proposal was adopted unanimously in both the Assembly and the Senate. California, the hub of America's tech sector, has become the third state to pass a right-to-repair law. The latter gives consumers access to replacement parts – up to three years for devices costing between $50 and $99, and seven years for devices costing more than $100. The law applies to devices sold in 2021 and later.

Similar laws have been passed in Minnesota and New York, but none with as long a time frame as California. This is a huge victory against the biggest tech companies like Apple, John Deere and the like who lobbied hard against the passage of this bill. They argued that an easy fix would compromise their intellectual property and accelerate the development of counterfeits. With the new law, California also wants to reduce the amount of electronic waste. Until now, users were often forced to buy a new device because a repair was not available or was not financially feasible. From now on, tools and spare parts will be freely available.

Experts warn, however, that the law is not perfect. Certain components, such as the battery, are tied to the unique identity of the device, which means that the use of substitutes outside of the original manufacturer's jurisdiction will often not be feasible.

The European Union is preparing a similar law, but with the promise of up to 10 years of free access to spare parts and easy repair.

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