Megan Williams
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Dec, 22

Right To Repair Explained

Many people may have heard of the right to repair movement happening in several parts of the world, while not fully understanding what this entails. As the world moves forward into a new technological age, ownership of items is becoming a tricky topic in a lot of sectors. In previous years, when buying a car, the car would be completely yours.

Now with software ownership taken into consideration, the lines of what you owned are being blurred. With a lack of ownership comes difficulty in servicing and repairing the things you are meant to own.

Why Right To Repair Matters

A company retaining rights over its software is typically not seen as a problem, even if this software is running a physical item you own. The main problem comes in when manufacturers push for hardware control through the software, for the device to be unserviceable by anybody except the original manufacturer.

It may seem like a somewhat dystopian idea, but it is already happening today. The main goal behind this is to create a monopoly on the repair industry, allowing for a large additional revenue stream, and to allow manufacturers to decide when the appropriate end of life should be.

What Right To Repair Entails

When looking at an overview, there are a few different prongs when it comes to right to repair, some of which make sense and some seeming only made to turn a profit.

Honouring Warrantee – Right to glotech appliance repair includes that manufacturers would need to honour warranties even if there has been a previous repair by a third party. This may be difficult to track and enforce, as a manufacturer will reserve the right to deny a repair under warranty if the previous failed repair has only done more damage.

Safety – Safety is difficult to quantify. In the likes of Tesla being against the right to repair, it completely makes sense. An untrained person attempting to make a repair on a Tesla battery pack is a possible fatal accident waiting to happen. With safety being justifiable, other companies like Apple are trying to jump on the same trend, claiming safety issues. When it comes to small technology the likes of which Apple makes, an unprofessional repair does not carry the same risk as what a Tesla battery pack would.

Cost – One consistence with all the companies fighting against right to repair is the consistent revenue stream supplied by providing repairs.

There are situations when fighting against the right to repair does make sense, however, these situations are relevant to only a few companies. On the grand scheme, it seems the only real reason some companies are fighting the change is to secure additional profits through expensive repair programs.

Why It Is A Problem?

A lot of consumers may not mind a company owning the rights to their devices. Apple is a good example here as they provide after sales service in every country in which they operate, if the after sales service is any good or not, is another conversation to be had, but it is there.

There are other brands who stick to the same philosophy, who don’t have the network to support customers.

Future Motion is a great example of how the repair monopoly has not been thought through properly. Future Motion provides electric skateboards in America known as the OneWheel, but also export throughout the world. Being an electric skateboard, the battery pack will have a limited lifetime. No matter, battery packs are easy to replace.

The OneWheel battery pack is simply made of 15x 18650 lithium-ion cells, cells which are easily available at virtually any electronic store in the world. Except when replacing these cells, consumers will be locked out of the OneWheel until it is returned to the factory to have it re-enabled. This leaves some international customers having to pay for shipping, which could exceed the initial purchase price, just because Future Motion does not want to allow third party repairs.

No Simple Answer

Unfortunately, unlike the outcomes of the games at Big Dollar Online Casino it seems that there is no one simple ruling that will fit for all companies. All companies involved are trying to push for the safety argument when for most, safety is just not relevant. The right to repair movement pushes onwards to hopefully a better future where we can do what we want to do with the products we own.

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