What you need to know
- New York state has passed the first comprehensive “right to repair” bill in the U.S. covering electronic products.
- The Digital Fair Repair Act will require OEMs to make the tools and parts needed to repair broken electronic devices available to consumers and independent shops.
- The bill is currently awaiting signature by state Governor Kathy Hochul.
The Right to Repair movement has been pushing to abolish OEM restrictions that prevent consumers from repairing their own electronic hardware. That effort has now scored a major victory following the passage of the Digital Fair Repair Act by the New York state legislature.
New York state has passed the right-to-repair bill (opens in new tab) (Assembly Bill A7006B), which was introduced in April of last year. The legislation passed the state’s senate on June 1 and is now awaiting signature by Governor Kathy Hochul, who has long supported Right to Repair efforts.
The bill requires manufacturers to provide consumers and third-party repair shops with repair instructions, tools, and parts needed to repair broken devices. This breaks the OEMs’ monopoly on who can repair your electronic devices. The bill seemingly targets manufacturers who impose limitations on the availability of these components and diagnostic information to their own stores or partner repair centers.
However, the bill applies only to digital electronic products. This means public safety communications equipment and “home appliances with digital electronics embedded within them,” such as the best smart home devices, are not covered by the new legislation.
Motor vehicles and medical devices are also excluded. OEMs may restrict access to repair manuals if the intention is to modify a product. In addition, only electronic devices worth more than $10 are covered by the act.
While it only applies to electronic products sold in the state of New York, the law is likely to influence legislation across the country. President Joe Biden issued an executive order last year urging the FTC to step up efforts to crack down on illegal repair restrictions.
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