Right to Repair Act passes Oregon House, on way to Gov. Kotek

MEDFORD, Ore. – A bill headed to Governor Kotek now, aims to mandate companies to provide options for people to affordably fix their products, like phones, computers, appliances and more.

Senate Bill 1596 or Oregon’s Right to Repair Act, passed the Oregon House. Signing it into law, would make Oregon one of the few states with this type of law. Stacey Higginbotham is a policy fellow at Consumer Reports said,

“8 out of 10 Americans have replaced at least a smartphone, or an appliance, or vehicle because it broke; and more than half of them found that they couldn’t find a repair professional to fix it.”

The Right to Repair Act will require technology manufacturing companies to make diagnostic tools, information, service manuals and replacement parts available to Oregonians. This is intended to encourage people to repair their products, rather than buying new ones and prevent waste. Charlie Fisher with OSPIRG, a public interest group said,

“Manufacturers have been creating these barriers to really make it difficult for people to fix what they own, so they either have to pay more than they should to fix it or more likely just have to buy a new one.”

Charlie Fisher said the bill is unique from other states because it addresses the issue of parts pairing. That’s where some manufacturers lock out independent repair by making certain components irreplaceable unless done by the manufacturer. Charlie Fisher continued,

“It’s really just an attempt to, again, have control over the repair process, prevent people from having choice and force them into the manufacturer’s preferred route, which often costs more money.”

Stacey Higginbotham said preventing waste not only saves consumers money but also has beneficial effects on the environment,

“Fewer things in landfills are always good and then the other thing is, think about how much time if you have only authorized repair dealers to go to. It can take you like a week or more to get onto their schedules and then not having that competition or availability makes a consumer like have to go longer without their iPhone.”

This bill also benefits local electronic repair businesses like Mobile Madness to help them kind of remove some of the hoops that they’d have to jump through when providing certain services, but also expand some of their services.”

Seth Roberts is the owner and general manager for Mobile Madness in Medford. He said,

“It’s like… Imagine you drive an Audi, and you can’t get your tires replaced anywhere but the Audi dealership.”

He said they were able to do most repairs at his shop but says every now and then, they would run into issues due to parts pairing. Roberts said this bill levels the playing field and allow for more streamline experiences on certain repairs.

“I’m hoping that with the parts pairing that our customers will no longer get a little red dot in their settings or the message that said, ‘your battery has been replaced and not by an apple technician,’ like duh I know that.”

If signed into law, the bill’s policies on parts pairing won’t be in effect until 2025. Click here to find more information on the bill.

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Maximus Osburn is a reporter for NBC5 News. He studied at California State University-Northridge, graduating with a degree in Broadcasting. Maximus is an avid martial arts enthusiast and combat sports fan. He even traveled to Thailand to train with martial arts experts. Maximus loves movies, nature, and doing things outside his comfort zone, like swimming in sub-freezing lakes in the winter.
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