Why the Free to Repair Bill is Important to Us All

Why should you care about New York's Free to Repair bill? Let me tell you why....

The Fight For Control

Today we visited one of our favorite YouTube channels (Louis Rossman) and we came across a topic that is near and dear to our hearts and gets our hackles raised: The fight for our right to repair everything we own. This shouldn't be an issue at all but in the last five years, this topic has been kicked into turbo.

What is Free To Repair?

You can see where I have touched on this subject in the past by visiting our E-cycling articles listed below. I will try not to repeat too much of what I touched on in those two articles but here is the heart of the issue at hand:

As articulated by Louis Rossman: “Do you want to own your devices or just rent time on them?”

Louis Rossman lives and works in Manhattan and he provides a valuable service to Apple users.  He does what Apple refuses to do....he brings their broken Apple products back to life and saves their data.

The Fair Repair Act has been kicked around the New York state capitol for a year now and it is down to two remaining weeks left to get it out of committee and presented for a vote. If no action is taken, then everything goes back to square one.

What would the Fair Repair Act do? It would require electronics manufacturers to make available the necessary information and parts to repair a device.

Why is a bill in New York important to people in other states? If the bill passes in New York, it could open doors for owners of electronic devices across the country. If repair information is available in New York, then it will be easier to provide that information in other parts of the country. The Motor Vehicle Owner's Right to Repair Act that was passed in Massachusetts in November of 2013 caused the bulk of the automotive industry to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in early 2014. This Memorandum caused the vehicle manufacturers to meet the new requirements for repair in all 50 states.

For this very reason, there are tons of Apple lobbyists traveling the halls of the New York state capitol making sure that the Fair Repair Act never sees the light of day.

Recently, Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing, made the following comment: “There are over 600 million PCs in use today that are over five years old. This is really sad, it really is.”  To me, this is an elitist remark. I have computers that are 5 years old running Windows 7 and 10 and others running Linux that are extremely productive and up-to-date. I do not see the benefit of replacing an entire computer just because the short lifetime warranty has played out. Especially when those computers cost over a thousand dollars.

For those of you who are comfortable with leasing a computer or smartphone, I do not  want to take away your ability to do that.
However, for those who...

  • Want a computer that can be repaired locally.
  • One that does not need to be sent off to a repair facility where all data will be lost.
  • Maybe just want a computer that isn't hindered by an unreasonable warranty. (You know the type where the repair never quite fits the warranty parameters, and the actual repair will be very costly)

I want those people to have that choice as well.

The only way to preserve that choice is to vote with your dollars. Look for products that can be repaired locally. For instance, HP just released a new enterprise class tablet that is very “repair friendly.” Ifixit has even rated the HP Elite x2 1012 G1 at 10 out of 10 for repairability. That is what I want to see in a device that costs over a thousand dollars.

What all of this boils down to is this:

If you spend your hard earned dollars on a device that you depend on daily, don't you want to own it? If you are only going to be allowed to lease it (meaning that you can't make any significant alterations or do any repairs) then wouldn't you expect to pay less for it?

For a more extensive explanation on why we should be free to repair the devices we own, please check out the Louis Rossman video mentioned above. Louis does an incredible job of explaining the ethics of the situation.

If we lose the freedom to repair our devices then we don't really own them. This would be like a car that you couldn't change the oil or tires....you would be forced to buy a new one instead.

Free to Repair is very important to us all.


Check out these other articles on Free to Repair and E-cycling:

Why E-cycling Matters, Part 1

E-cycling Matters, Death of a Repairman, Part 2


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