The US state of New York passes world's first 'right to repair' law for digital electronics

The US state of New York passes world's first 'right to repair' law for digital electronics

Fair Repair Act: The U.S. state of New York recently passed the Fair Repair Act.

Key Points:

  • According to US’s Fair Repair Act, manufacturers must provide repair manuals, equipment, and supplies to independent repair shops and not just their own stores or partners.
  • This provides consumers with the right to repair and refurbish their purchased goods.
  • Independent repair businesses will finally be able to compete with manufacturers if they have access to the necessary tools and service instructions.
  • The rationale behind the “right to repair” is that the individual who purchases a product must own it completely.
  • This means that buyers must have the ability to fix and change the product however they see fit in addition to being able to utilize it.

What are the concerns of the manufacturers?

  • While the right to repair is a victory for consumer rights, privacy, security and quality concerns along with blatant intellectual property (IP) rights violations of the manufacturers cannot be sidelined.
  • Manufacturers claim that allowing the user and outsider repairs could have a negative impact on the product's quality and functionality.
  • They are so terrified that they include terms in the warranty that expires when the device is fixed by a third party.

Right To Repair in India:

  • Monopoly in the repair industry violates the 2019 Consumer Protection Act's "freedom to choose" for customers.
  • Consumer disputes jurisprudence in the country has also partially acknowledged the right to repair.

For instance - In India, currently, there’s no legislation or any provision dealing with ‘Right to Repair’ but in Shamsher Kataria v Honda Siel Cars India Ltd (2017), the Competition Commission of India ruled that restricting the access of independent automobile repair units to spare parts by way of an end-user license agreement was anti-competitive.

Provisions in Other Countries:

Many nations have taken steps, implemented regulations, and even attempted to enact laws that recognize the "right to repair" to reduce electronic waste. Some jurisdictions offer limited scope for exercising the right to repair.

  • The UK also introduced the path-breaking “right to repair” which came into force on July 1, 2021, and made it mandatory for manufacturers to make spares available to both consumers and third-party repair technicians.
  • The remaining European nations will abide by EU laws and rules.
  • The manufacturers have two years to make the necessary changes and follow the new laws.
  • The legislation is considered a positive step in minimizing e-waste by encouraging gadget repair instead of dumping in the scrap.
  • The Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act, 2012 requires automobile manufacturers to provide spare parts and diagnostics to buyers and even independent third-party mechanics.
  • France requires manufacturers to display a repairability index on their products which consist of five parameters.
  • This helps consumers understand whether the products are repairable, difficult to repair, or not repairable at all.
  • The duration of imposing product liability may differ depending on the product and its longevity.

Which state of the United States recently pass the Fair Repair Act?
A) New York
B) Chicago
C) California
D) Florida