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US lawmakers advance 'Right to Repair' bill

04 February 2022

The aim of the bill is to spur competition

US lawmakers are introducing "Right to Repair" legislation this week to ensure consumers can get vehicles, electronic devices and agriculture equipment serviced by independent outlets, reported Reuters.

Representative Bobby Rush, a Democrat, said Thursday he had introduced legislation to ensure vehicle owners and independent repair shops have equal access to repair and maintenance tools as automakers' dealerships.

Representatives Mondaire Jones, a Democrat, and Republican Victoria Spartz introduced separate legislation Wednesday dubbed the Freedom to Repair Act to reform copyright law to make it easier for consumers to get repairs.

Public Knowledge Policy Counsel Kathleen Burke said the bill would allow "consumers to repair their own devices without needing to get the Copyright Office’s permission every three years."

As part of a wide-ranging initiative to boost competition, President Joe Biden has made ensuring people can repair their own products a priority.

Last month, Biden said in too many cases "if you own a product, from a smartphone to a tractor, you don’t have the freedom to choose how or where to repair that item you purchased."

Rush's bill would require all tools and equipment, wireless transmission of repair and diagnostic data and access to on-board diagnostic systems needed for repairs be made available to the independent repair industry.

Rush said it would "end manufacturers’ monopoly on vehicle repair and maintenance and allow Americans the freedom to choose where to repair their vehicles."

The US Federal Trade Commission in July voted to make it a priority to address the issue of manufacturers pushing consumers to use licensed dealers to repair items ranging from smartphones to farm equipment.

Rush's bill would create a committee to provide recommendations to the FTC on addressing barriers to vehicle repairs.

A group representing major automakers has sued to try to block a Massachusetts voter-approved measure that would expand access to vehicle data and allow independent shops to repair increasingly sophisticated automotive technology.

Source: Reuters



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