Tell the FTC We Need Right to Repair Rules

Tell the FTC We Need Right to Repair Rules

If you’ve ever had a product break without good repair options, the FTC wants to hear from you

On November 14, 2023, iFixit and the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) asked the US federal government to regulate Right to Repair. Specifically, we petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to initiate a rulemaking for Right to Repair laws. 

Today, the FTC announced the opening of a comment submission period. This is the key next step, and the popularity determines whether the FTC will respond to our petition with a draft rule.

We need your help. If you’ve ever wanted to tell someone your mind, or really let loose about that thing that you wanted to fix and couldn’t, this is your moment. Tell the FTC your story! Short, long, witty, profane, it’s up to you. (Well, probably skip the #$*&# profanity.)

What’s in the Petition?

Our petition proposed a variety of ways the FTC could restore competition in repair markets around the country. We identified several ways that companies could make repair easier and more widely available:

  • Accessibility of Consumable Components: Parts that routinely wear out, like batteries, should be replaceable and readily available for the product’s entire lifespan.
  • Availability of Common Parts: Components prone to wear and tear should be easily replaceable.
  • Freedom of Repair Choice: Consumers should have the liberty to choose their repair provider or opt for DIY solutions.
  • Sustained Product Support: Even after a product is discontinued, its key functions should remain intact, with repairs possible through independent shops.
  • Interchangeability of Identical Components: Components from identical devices should be interchangeable without needing manufacturer intervention.
  • Protection of Consumer Privacy: Independent repair shops should not be mandated to disclose customers’ personal information to manufacturers.
One way the FTC could support Right to Repair: Put repairability information on these yellow EnergyGuide labels.

We suggested that the FTC might initiate a repairability labeling rule, adding repair information to the yellow Energy Guide labels on energy-intensive products like TVs and washing machines. Or perhaps they might mandate a period of availability of repair parts, tools, or manuals. 

Why the FTC?

The FTC has already been instrumental in advocating for Right to Repair. Their landmark 2021 report, “Nixing the Fix,” debunked manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions. They’ve taken action against companies like Harley-Davidson, Weber, and Westinghouse for voiding warranties for third-party repair work.

But in order to do more to support Right to Repair, they need a stronger rule to enforce.

Submit Your Comments

The opening of the FTC comment submission period is a critical moment. It’s your chance to share how the lack of repair access has impacted you. Whether it’s a story about a gadget you couldn’t fix or a repair denied by manufacturers, your experiences can influence the FTC’s decision-making process.

Visit the Federal eRulemaking Portal for docket number FTC-2023-0077 and follow the instructions to submit your comments. Be as creative as you want—but here’s some text you can copy-paste if you’re not feeling inspired:

The United States needs more Right to Repair rules. A lack of repair competition is hurting consumers and small repair businesses. Without national action to protect our repair rights, corporate repair monopolies will keep us wasting our own money, wasting our planet’s resources, and prematurely sending products to the dump. I support this petition and call on the FTC to take action!

The deadline is Friday, Feb 2 (30 days after the opening of the submission period).

A Collective Effort for a Repairable Future

Together, we can steer towards a future where repairability is a standard, not a privilege. Your comments and support can help shape policies that protect consumer rights and promote sustainability.