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What is the right to repair and why does it matter?

Everything you need to know about right to repair laws, the White House’s new executive order, and how it may affect your tech and appliances

A week after President Joe Biden issued a new executive order intended to prevent device manufacturers from restricting do-it-yourself repairs as well as those from independent shops, the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday issued a policy statement, saying it would “now prioritize investigations into unlawful repair restrictions,” and devote greater resources towards them.

The goal of Biden’s executive order is to make it easier and cheaper for people to repair products they’ve purchased or hire a third party to do so. This idea, known as “the right to repair,” includes everything from smartphones and laptops, to washing machines and cars, to medical devices and farm equipment.

Here’s what you need to know about the right to repair, why some are for it, and why some are against it.

What is right to repair?

The right to repair gives consumers and third-party companies the equipment, parts, drawings, and instructions to fix a product independently.

Why do people support the right to repair?

Advocates say manufacturers have made it difficult for consumers to fix their own devices or work with third-party retailers by withholding proprietary parts, tools, and manuals. The result, they say, is costly, time-consuming, and potentially warranty-voiding repairs. Advocates also say the right to repair would stimulate market competition, leading to lower prices among third-party shops and easier access to tech for people with lower incomes.

Why are some against the right to repair?

Those against the right to repair say it could compromise product security and lead to safety and privacy risks. They say the policy would force manufacturers to divulge proprietary information about their devices to unauthorized repair shops, which could jeopardize intellectual property. And they say that faulty or insufficient repairs could expose the manufacturer to unnecessary liability.

What is Asurion?

Asurion is a global tech care company that provides protection, repair, and support services for a range of devices and appliances. We believe in repair as a favorable option for both people and the planet, and we have partnered with several tech manufacturers to help customers. While we have not taken a formal stance on this legislation, we will continue working to create valuable repair solutions. Our job is to help you protect the devices you love and rely on, and when they break, get them back up and running.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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