In the past, maybe you have listened to our Renegade Repair podcasts, or you have read our articles about e-cycling and the Right to Repair bill. Today I am taking my level of “renegade repair” to a higher level. This page is now the home for our news concerning your right to own the devices you purchase. Many of you may not understand the importance of this right until you start looking for someone to fix your $1,800 Macbook Pro. At that time, you will see that Apple has designed it so you have to go to them for repairs and you have to pay dearly and lose data even though you have a warranty.
I will explain in greater detail how and when Apple changed their idea of repair in an upcoming article. Until then, here is a little about why we stopped working on phones:
1. We couldn’t bear to see another phone that we had worked so hard on reviving from the dead... be put into a back pocket as it was leaving the shop knowing full well that it was about to be sat upon and flexed. That’s like leaving the hospital after a quadruple bypass and going straight to an all-you-can eat buffet followed by smoking a full pack of cigarettes. Would you do that? Of course not! Don’t sit on your $700 phone.
2. We were tired of running the risk of Apple shutting us down or even worse ICE agents showing up at our shop to confiscate “counterfeit” parts. You see, many repair shops around the country were shut down by Operation Chain Reaction. This was a sting executed by no less than 16 different governmental agencies. Many small mom and pop and micro business iPhone repair shops were raided by ICE agents accompanied by Apple employees. Shop owners watched while Apple OEM parts that they had bought in good faith from American vendors were confiscated as counterfeit without explanation. (To date, I can’t find where the vendors were raided...curious.) Not all parts were counterfeit, many were parts from stock overruns and others were used, working parts removed from recycled phones. If Apple wants to kill the third-party repair shops, they now have the government behind them. The whole thing sounds very Orwellian to me.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just Apple that is putting planned obsolescence into hyper drive; HP now has printers that have secret features that make printing impossible with after-market or third-party ink. The HTC One is designed to be impossible to fix. The Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is nearly impossible to fix without breaking the screen and to replace a broken screen, you run the risk of damaging no less than 3 other very important components in the repair process. Needless to say, the Pro 3 and 4 do not repair well. As much as I harp on Apple for producing its exorbitantly high priced disposable devices, the Surface Pro is right there with them. $800 is not a price I would pay for a disposable computer. Especially one with screen glass that is .4mm thick (similar to the thickness of 4 human hairs).
So as you can see in the examples above, companies are using poor hardware and tricky software to keep you from owning your devices. HP is not the only company that is hobbling its printers with software. Epson programs many of their printers to stop working after a planned number of copies. How many copies? No one knows. Also, everyone is aware of the crazy issue of printer ink costing more than a new desktop printer. This problem alone contributes to the insane amount of desktop printers in landfills across America.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just phones and computers that are the offenders here. In 2015, the John Deere corporation told the Copyright Office in Washington D.C., that farmers don’t own their tractors, instead farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.” (The farmers might as well be driving around a copy of Windows 10 on wheels.) This is because John Deere has attached proprietary software to nearly every part of their tractors. The farmer and his local mechanic can’t touch the tractor without threat of a damaging lawsuit brought upon them by John Deere. Many other corporations jumped on the John Deere bandwagon hoping to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to aid them in their quest to make planned obsolescence king.
So, here we are today at the proverbial fork in the road. Which path are you going to take? For those who wish to follow us down the path of freedom and renegade repair, we will continue to give you updates on how the Right to Repair bills are doing across the nation. Currently there are 8 states discussing versions of the bill but none have passed them. Yes, we recently saw where Massachusetts passed a bill that opened up automobile repair rights across the country and we are hoping for an outcome similar to this concerning electronics.
Until then, check back here for our tally on the good, the bad, and the ugly of planned obsolescence. We will cover anything that falls under the repair umbrella. That covers washers and dryers to electric cars. Yes, this may spell trouble for us as a business but I’m tired of standing silent while the landfills grow high with toxic materials. Meanwhile, good electronics, that could serve new purposes, are going to waste.
Join us in our Renegade Repair Alliance!