Today, the New York State legislature passed an electronics Right to Repair bill: As of mid 2023, manufacturers who sell “digital electronic products” in New York will have to make parts, tools, information, and software available to consumers and independent repair shops. We still await a final signing by the governor, but advocates don’t expect a challenge. . . .
For independent repair shops, this news is huge: Independent shops will finally be able to compete with manufacturers, resisting the repair market consolidation manufacturers have created by restricting access to parts and tools. In a recent California survey, 59% of independent repair shops said they might have to close their doors without the passage of Right to Repair.
For the rest of us, the passage of this bill means that repairs should become less expensive and more comprehensive: People who want to fix their own stuff can. And your repair experience should improve even if you’re intimidated by the thought of cracking open your laptop or phone (Don’t be! You’ve got this! We can help!). Where before, manufacturers could push consumers to use manufacturer-authorized shops, now they’ll have to compete. Independent repair shops are often able to do repairs the manufacturer told a customer were impossible. Every day, microsolderers like Jessa Jones’s crack team of former stay-at-home moms breathe life back into devices authorized repair shops had written off as dead.
Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of the Repair Association, said, “Every consumer in New York is going to benefit from this landmark legislation. We’ll all be able to fix the stuff we like, stop being forced to buy new things we don’t want, and make it possible for the secondary market to provide high quality options for reuse.”
This bill covers most products containing electronics, but has some notable carve outs. It does not include motor vehicles (these are already handled by a national Right to Repair agreement between the automakers and the aftermarket), home appliances, medical devices, public safety communications equipment like police radios, agricultural equipment, and off-road equipment. We expect to see future legislation address these sectors.
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