News Release

Consumer, farmer, and disability advocates call on legislators to protect Coloradans’ right to repair

Six of the top ten companies that made what Coloradans tried to fix in 2020 put up unnecessary barriers to repairing their devices
For Immediate Release

CoPIRG joined the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union, and 50 independent repair shops and farmers across the state to support Right to Repair and HB21-1199, a bill that would make it easier for consumers and independent repairers to repair their electronics.

“Fixing your stuff saves you money and is good for the planet,” said Allison Conwell, advocate with CoPIRG. “Unfortunately, many manufacturers put up unnecessary barriers to fixing our electronics, contributing to the fastest growing waste stream on the planet and costing the average Colorado family over $300 per year to replace electronics that could be fixed if not for these barriers. Right to Repair would provide consumers much-needed relief, especially after many budgets have been tightened due to the pandemic.”

Right to Repair is the principle that people should be able to fix their devices on their own or take them to someone they trust to fix it. HB21-1199, the Consumer Digital Repair Bill of Rights, would require Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to make parts, physical and software tools, diagnostics, and repair manuals available to consumers and independent repairers for the same prices as they are already made available to authorized dealers. 

CoPIRG also released a report showing over 1 million unique users in Colorado accessed iFixit.com, just one of the many websites that offers guides, videos and tutorials to consumers and professional independent repairers on how to fix everything from vacuums to cars to cell phones. Cell phone repair guides were the most popular. The most common repair searched for was battery replacement. Six of the top ten manufacturers of the consumer electronics Coloradans tried to fix in 2020 put up unnecessary barriers to repairing their devices. 

HB21-1199 encompasses much more than computers, cell phones and tablets. The bill would also give farmers access to the software codes needed to recalibrate their machinery and people who need electric wheelchairs the parts they need to replace their batteries. 

“Companies opposing Right to Repair and this bill say that it’s dangerous for us to be able to fix our electric wheelchairs. What’s really dangerous is one of our members going 63 days without his electric wheelchair because the manufacturer would not let him or his son replace the batteries on it. We need our legislators to stand up for our right to repair our durable medical equipment,” said Julie Reskin, President of the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition. 

“We need to fix our equipment as soon as possible,” said Ben Rainbolt, Vice President of the Rocky Mountain Farmers’ Union. “When small things break and we have to depend on the dealer to fix them, our members have waited days for the dealer to get to them, meaning they lose time and money as their equipment lies broken in the field.”

According to the analysis, What are Coloradans Fixing 2021, The top ten devices that Coloradans are trying to fix are: 

Since eight of the top ten were consumer electronics, the report analyzed the most sought after fixes for just consumer electronics and found that the battery was the number one sought after fix followed by the screen, forcing a restart, the hard drive, and the logic/motherboard. 

Despite the best efforts of websites like iFixit.com to provide Coloradans with the tools and knowledge to repair our stuff, some manufacturers create unnecessary and unwarranted barriers, especially in the world of consumer electronics. 

Barriers to consumers to easily fix their electronic devices include:

  • Limiting a consumer or even a professional independent repairer from accessing the tools, parts, schematics, or software needed to perform simple repairs.
  • Only making parts available to their own repair staff even if you wanted to pay fair market value to fix your stuff
  • Limiting important manufacturer information that would allow consumers to make easy fixes to their phones

An analysis, combined with expert advice from Repair.org, of the eight consumer electronic companies that made the top ten list of companies’ that produced things Colordans tried to fix, found that some of them do not sell the parts or tools necessary to repair their devices to the public. 

  • HP, Lenovo, and Dell provide manufacturer parts for sale, and provide free access to repair schematics and diagnostic software, and therefore make manufacturer-quality independent repair largely accessible to Coloradans.
  • Apple along with Samsung, Sony, Microsoft, SharkNinja, and Nintendo frequently do not offer the parts, tools, schematics, and information necessary to repair their devices for sale to consumers, thereby making manufacturer-quality independent repair inaccessible to Coloradans.

“Limiting consumers’ ability to access the parts and information necessarily makes repairs more difficult, and in some cases impossible. That’s wrong. Coloradans are showing that they want to fix their stuff, but right now many manufacturers don’t make their stuff easily fixable or provide the parts, tools, or information necessary to people who want to fix their stuff. Every Coloradan should have the right to repair their things,” said Conwell.

HB21-1199 will be heard in the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on March 25th at 1:30pm. 

“We urge the Committee to put consumers and the environment first and vote Yes on this bill,” finished Conwell.

 

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