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FTC needs your help in enforcing right-to-repair laws

right to repair
Posted at 9:51 AM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 15:12:03-04

Phone manufactures do their best to make it incredibly difficult for third-party repair companies to purchase parts and even access repair manuals, meaning the cost consumers pay to repair their cellphones goes up.

But all of that might change thanks to the right-to-repair movement that is gaining national attention.

Nathan Proctor is a right-to-repair advocate with U.S. PIRG. For years, he's been pushing for consumers to be able to do whatever they please when it comes to repairing electronic equipment like cell phones.

"The problem is, [phone companies] sold us a phone, we bought it, it’s ours now, and they don’t get to tell us what to do," he explained.

In early July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to tackle "unfair anti-competitive restrictions on third-party repair." And now, the FTC has voted to enforce the order.

But how will enforcement work?

The government agency is mainly relying on you, the consumer, to report issues online at FTC.gov.

The most common complaint is that a company tells a consumer they've voided a warranty by having one of those third-party companies repair a cellphone.

"We’ve been working to create a campaign where people understand no one should be able to tell me when and where I should be able to fix stuff," Proctor said.