***Short on time? Skip right to the ACTION HERE paragraph to learn how to voice your opinion tomorrow!
A few years ago, my iPhone stopped charging. It was a very old phone (inherited from my mom) and I suspected the battery might have died. I brought it into Best Buy, waited in the Geek line, and asked the friendly teenager if he could change the battery for me. He actually laughed. “I’m sorry,” he said after a minute, “but it would literally cost you more to replace the battery on this old phone than to just buy a new iPhone!”
I left the store feeling stupid and dejected. I ended up inheriting my mom’s newest used iPhone and moving on with my life, but I was still annoyed. Why was it so hard/expensive to change a battery on a phone? Why could I not change the battery on my phone myself? Why did I need to get a “new” phone after less than ten years? Shouldn’t I expect something like an iPhone – made by a reputable company and costing a pretty penny – to last a long time and be easy to repair?! The same goes for my Prius, which I need to talk to a licensed Toyota dealer, instead of the local garage I used to use.
As our phones, cars, appliances, and other technology are getting more and more complex, it is getting harder and harder to find someone to repair our own belongings or to fix things ourselves. Often people end up tossing or donating broken or older technology just because they can’t easily repair it.
Apparently I’m not the only one who feels like that’s not right. The Right to Repair Movement has been gaining popularity the last several years, especially here in New Hampshire. According to this New York Times article, the goal of the proposed Right to Repair legislation “is to require companies to make their parts, tools and information available to consumers and repair shops in order to keep devices from ending up in the scrap heap. They argue that the current rules restrict people’s use of devices that they own and encourage a throwaway culture by making repairs too difficult.” If you’d like to learn more about the nitty-gritty of the Right to Repair movement, check out this article on HowtoGeek.
***ACTION HERE: There will be a hearing on HB 449 (commerce and consumer affairs committee) – today, February 17 at 2:00 – to extend consumer’s right to repair. People can attend the hearing via Zoom and view it via YouTube. Also, via the General Court House website, people can register in support or opposition to the legislation (super easy to do!), sign up to testify, and/or send emails. The bill is being considered in the House Commerce and Consumer Affairs committee.***
It’s little, inane laws like this one, which protects company profits over consumer rights and the environment, that are holding us back from the future we want and need. Feel strongly about this issue? You can also join the Right to Repair Movement at Repair.org.
Thanks for taking action!