Small Business

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Intellectual Property

 July 14, 2021

Big Tech Has New Competition: A New Rule Gives Consumers the “Right to Repair.” What Does This Mean for You?

Distraught teenager holding non-working, shattered smartphone

A new law in America will loosen the restrictions on your right to repair.

Currently, some of the biggest tech companies like Apple and Microsoft impose restrictions on who can repair certain tech products like video games consoles or cell phones. But that will most likely change soon.

A new rule is in the works that aims to stop manufacturers from limiting consumers and independent repair shops from repairing their products. What does this mean for Americans?

Who does this impact?

The anticipation is that the right to repair law will create:

  1. More competition in the market
  2. Lower repair costs for consumers and farmers
  3. Increased wages for American workers

So pretty much a win-win for everyone (besides big tech companies and large manufacturers), right?

A major group that will say a big “thank you” to this rule is farmers who are forced to face costly repair prices from big tractor manufacturers. Currently, many large tractor manufacturers like John Deere withhold the software that farmers need so that the farmers have no choice but to go to dealerships for even the most basic repairs. 

The order is anticipated to also boost agriculture with several other actions, including rules that allow farmers to sue large processors if they are underpaid or retaliated against. Other actions include restricting companies from labeling food “Product in USA” if it was produced overseas, even if processed in America. Who knew this was not a rule already?

The benefits and potential risks for consumers.

In short, tech repairs will be more affordable, and you’ll have more options in gaining the right to fix what you buy. Fair enough, right?

Big tech and manufacturers are however warning this could pose serious health and safety risks. They argue there’s a reason they require repairs go to them—installing batteries or modifying tractors incorrectly can lead to dangerous outcomes for both the consumer and the environment.

On the other hand, environmental activists say this could decrease waste because of how many consumers throw out their tech products because of the cost of repair.

Only time will tell how this will unravel, but the prediction is that this is, generally speaking, a positive change for consumers and farmers.

Have questions? Your provider lawyer is here to answer them.

To understand your consumer rights and how this change will affect you in greater detail, consult with a consumer rights lawyer who can help answer any questions you have.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield members through membership-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. If you are a LegalShield member, please contact your provider law firm for legal advice or assistance.

 

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