On Tuesday, Nov. 14, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and iFixit, leading members of the Repair.org coalition, delivered a petition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling for the agency to initiate a rulemaking in support of Right to Repair.
In their petition, PIRG and iFixit, both members of the Repair.org coalition, asked for a new rule using the FTC’s Section 5 authority, to address the following consumer expectations:
- Consumable components that are guaranteed to wear down, such as batteries, ought to be replaceable and readily available throughout a product’s usable life span.
- Components that commonly break ought to be replaceable and readily available as repair parts.
- Consumers should be able to choose to take damaged products to a repair shop of their choice, or perform a repair themselves.
- When a manufacturer discontinues support for a product, its key functions ought to remain intact, and an independent repair shop ought to be able to continue to perform repairs.
- Identical components from two identical devices ought to be interchangeable without manufacturer intervention.
- Independent repair shops should not be required to report customers’ personally identifiable information to the manufacturer.
Additionally, the groups called for the FTC to create a repair scoring system. The idea is to show consumers how repairable a product is at the point of sale, like an Energy Guide rating for repair. Already in place in other countries, such a score incentivizes manufacturers to make more repairable products, as consumers do tend to prefer repairable products. The value of these scores is explored in U.S. PIRG Education Fund’s report “Failing the Fix.”