California is to consider a law that would give customers the right to get gadgets fixed by somebody other than the manufacturer. The Right to Repair Act would mean repair guides and any proprietary tools would have to be publicly available.
While similar measures are already under consideration in 17 other states, California could be the most significant, not just because of its size but because so many tech firms are based there. That includes Apple, which has publicly criticized the concept, particularly when it comes to phones.
The California proposal is spearheaded by assembly member Susan Eggman who says that as well as boosting consumer power, the move would benefit local businesses and reduce environmental damage from people giving up on gadgets as being unaffordable to repair.
Eggman hasn’t published her proposed bill, but based on her press release it likely contains some of the key points that appear in similar bills elsewhere. This includes repair guides, tools and service parts being available both to owners and independent repair guides. Normally such bills say the manufacturer can make only a reasonable charge for supplying the materials.
Even if any state does pass such a law, it wouldn’t necessarily override terms and conditions that void a product’s warranty if they are opened up by somebody not authorized to do so by the manufacturer.