I am sure that you already know this, but the newly released iPhone 13 has new technology that will make repairing a mobile phone more difficult. To maintain all the features of the iPhone 13 clients will need to take their handset to an Apple authorised repair centre. If consumers use an unauthorised repairer, they take the risk of losing some features and functionality. These changes do not just apply to broken mobile phones and handsets, it applies to all manufactured products, vehicles, and equipment. Increasingly manufacturers are making it more difficult for consumers to choose where they take their broken devices to get it repaired.
There is a group that is called the ‘right to repair’ movement. They are encouraging a holistic reform of consumer, competition, and environmental law. This will ensure recognition of consumers’ ‘right to repair’ goods. That means that they wouldn't have to throw them out and replace them or pay the high price of repair with the original manufacturer.
You know the idea that equipment used to last many more years than it does now... Well, this addresses that too with an emphasis on the notion that we have a right to repair our 'stuff'. The movement also talks about the major barrier to repair being the discontinuation of parts that can be used to repair. As consumers, your customers are being pushed to using only authorised repairers. It may be argued that this continues the practice of putting money into the pockets of huge, multinational organisations. These authorised repairers can charge whatever they deem is the right price. They have no more competition.
Unfortunately, this would mean that mobile phone purchases will be every other year or annual because any repairs with the original manufacturers will be too costly.
This then leads to environmental issues. We covered why repair is better than replacing mobile phones in an earlier BLOG. You can find out more about that here. In short, repair means:
- less landfill
- less harmful gases produced because of less manufacture
- lower carbon footprint
Some US states, Canada, and areas of the EU have already legislated in this matter. They are forcing manufacturers to repair goods and to enable consumers to have items repaired at an outlet of their choosing.
Recognition of the right to repair in Australia would mean joining a movement that is gathering momentum across the globe. It would help develop a culture of responsible consumption and production in Australia. And allow the thousands of small independent repairers to continue to earn a living.
The right to repair doesn't just cover mobile phones and other electronic devices, it includes equipment of all types. This would help protect consumers from those organisations willing to capitalise on their position. They would have a monopoly.
As a nation and as part of a global community, Australians are concerned about the sustainability of the products they buy. We are becoming more aware of the need to reuse and repurpose goods to keep them out of landfills.
It makes sense to us all to be able to repair and maintain the things we buy. We understand that this is a better option than replacing every couple of years.
Some of the things that the "Right to Repair" movement supports are:
- Everyday consumers have been raising concerns about barriers and cost of repairing phones and tablets for years
- Independent motor vehicle repairers have been lobbying for greater access to repair information and spare parts.
- Farmers are increasingly concerned about restrictions that are being imposed on them for repairing expensive agricultural machinery and equipment.
Of course, one of the major issues being faced is that the companies spend millions developing these new and improved products. What the 'Right to Repair" movement are lobbying for is for major corporations to share their advances and the technical information. This would be required by any unauthorized repairers if they are to undertake their normal work of repairing equipment that is broken. They would need this so they can access the information needed to restore the functionality of a broken mobile phone.
The movement is asking for set enquiries to be held that would look at the potential benefits and costs associated with the 'right to repair'. This would include current and potential legal implications. Bringing new laws is not without cost and this needs to be looked at. Draft reports have been drawn up and released and so now we wait to see what happens next!
OEM Pro supply repairers across Australia with OEM parts. We will continue to support all consumers rights to choose who repairs their broken mobile phones and all other equipment. Cars, televisions, vacuum cleaners are all covered by these actions, and we watch to see the developments over the coming months. It is important that consumers not be forced one way or the other, but instead have the option of cost-effective repair or to purchase new.