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  • FTC unanimously adopts Right to Repair policy

    Home Forums Tech Accessibility FTC unanimously adopts Right to Repair policy

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      • #2379347
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        FTC to Ramp Up Law Enforcement Against Illegal Repair Restrictions

        July 21, 2021

        Commission unanimously adopts policy statement aimed at restoring Right to Repair for small businesses, workers, consumers, and government entities

        The Federal Trade Commission today unanimously voted to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and even government entities from fixing their own products. The policy statement adopted today is aimed at manufacturers’ practices that make it extremely difficult for purchasers to repair their products or shop around for other service providers to do it for them. By enforcing against restrictions that violate antitrust or consumer protection laws, the Commission is taking important steps to restore the right to repair…

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2379415
        Lars220
        AskWoody Plus

        This is Good News for all “DIY” – Do It Yourselfers, and surely about time. The ifixit website has been clamoring about this for a while, and is a great place to learn how to fix a vast multitude of items.
        https://www.ifixit.com/Right-to-Repair/Intro
        Online Wired magazine has a recent article also:
        The FTC Votes Unanimously to Enforce Right to Repair
        by Lauren Goode Gear 07.21.2021 05:47 PM
        The move follows an executive order issued last week by the White House urging the agency to secure consumers’ rights to fix their own gadgets.
        https://www.wired.com/story/ftc-votes-to-enforce-right-to-repair/
        I suspect a lot of near monopolies will fight this action tooth and nail. Let’s hope that the FTC will prevail, and that Right to Repair will expand to Europe and around the world.

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2379421
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        Take that John Deere. Step away from my plow and put down the warrant.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2379425
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Wavy, Is the Federal Communications Commission in the business of regulating deals on agricultural machinery?

          No, the FCC is merely accepting the import of Biden’s Executive Order, something that was in doubt until now, because the FCC is an independent agency and has discretion on what to do. On the other hand, the Department of Agriculture does not have such an option, being a dependency of the Executive, as explained in this article that was written before today’s FCC decision:

          https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/07/bidens-right-to-repair-order-could-stop-companies-from-blocking-diy-fixes/

          Excerpt:

          The Biden order will have the most sway over agricultural machines, since the USDA falls squarely under the executive branch while the FTC is an independent agency. As such, Biden cannot direct the FTC to guarantee right-to-repair. Rather, the executive order is part of how the branches of government engage with independent agencies.

          So good news and not only for those who are John Deere’s customers:

          In May, the FTC released a report to Congress that concluded that manufacturers use a variety of methods—such as using adhesives that make parts difficult to replace …”    (From the FCC article linked by Alex at the top of this thread.)

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
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          • #2379567
            wavy
            AskWoody Plus

            Wavy, Is the Federal Communications Commission in the business of regulating deals on agricultural machinery?

            No but the FTC does have some jurisdiction but is an independent agency. It has seemed a bit more consumer oriented that the FCC in recent history IIRC. 🚜🙂

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2379424
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Take that John Deere. Step away from my plow and put down the warrant.

        Or Microsoft’s Surface with 0 reparability 🙂

        • #2379428
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Or recent Macs with tiny ports and glued chips and batteries to achieve “super thinness” at all costs?

          I wonder if the effect of the FCC’s new regulations enforcement extends to making Apple recall the so affected products and replace or fix them at no cost to their so afflicted owners.

          If it were so, wouldn’t that crimp the style of those frantically pushing for extra-thin everything at the expense of lost functionality?

          Would sanity actually break out in the “Tech” industry?

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379440
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        I wonder if the effect of the FCC’s new regulations enforcement extends to making Apple recall the so affected products and replace or fix them at no cost to their so afflicted owners.

        That won’t never happen. The FTC can’t force OEMs not to glue displays, chips, SSDs, SOCs…
        What the FTC has to add is that it (FTC) will pay for Apple Care to any customer that lost his warranty after “fixing” his device at ‘Joe repair shop’.

        • #2379481
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Oops! I misread the article and thought it was the FCC, when it was the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission. But I don’t think that the FTC is going to pay for the fixes: I believe that Apple will be made to do that, as that is the way things are done, or at least how I seen them being done in the past.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379499
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        Wavy, Is the Federal Communications Commission in the business of regulating deals on agricultural machinery?

        This article is about the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), not the FCC..

        • #2379507
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          JohnW: Have you noticed my earlier comment just above this one of yours?

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379511
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        the FTC is going to pay for the fixes: I believe that Apple will be made to do that, as that is the way things are done, or at least how I seen them being done in the past

        Never been done. Apple doesn’t fix devices repaired by unauthorized 3rd party repair shops.

        • #2379517
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          I think that the whole issue under consideration in this thread is that things are about to start changing in the USA because of recent government action. Apple executives are not in the government of a country called “Apple” and have within their power to ignore the laws and regulations of the USA government. If they are told by the authorities to allow people to repair their equipment themselves or in non-Apple shops where they prefer to have it done, and be free from any possible retaliation by Apple, then as those in charge of Apple are subject to the Executive order and the FTC ruling like anyone else, they have no legal alternative but to comply with those and allow users to fix their equipment however and wherever they choose. That this never happened before, or that Apple does not want the users — and owners — of Apple hardware products to fix them, or have them fixed by other than Apple technicians, is neither here nor there. On this issue, right now Apple and John Deere are in the same leaking boat without oars and far from the coast. They’ll send their lawyers to “vigorously oppose” the new legal measures; that goes without saying. But they might have an uphill battle ahead and they might not be all that good at fighting those, for lack of practice. That there is unanimity in the FTC commission, made of three Democrats and two Republicans, suggests that both main political parties may be in agreement on this.

          We’ll see.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379523
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        If they are told by the authorities to allow people to repair their equipment themselves or in non-Apple shops where they prefer to have it done,

        Apple doesn’t force anyone not to fix devices with any 3rd party they use.
        But they can’t keep warranty or get service at Apple…That even the FTC can’t force on any OEM.

        I think that more important than ‘right to repair’ is ‘right to get security and OS updates’ for 7 years.

        • #2379562
          b
          AskWoody MVP

          Apple doesn’t force anyone not to fix devices with any 3rd party they use.
          But they can’t keep warranty or get service at Apple…That even the FTC can’t force on any OEM.

          From the link you posted at the start of this thread:

          The Commission also urged the public to submit complaints of violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits, among other things, tying a consumer’s product warranty to the use of a specific service provider or product, unless the FTC has issued a waiver.

           

          While unlawful repair restrictions have generally not been an enforcement priority for the Commission for a number of years,4 the Commission has determined that it will devote more enforcement resources to combat these practices.5 Accordingly, the Commission will now prioritize investigations into unlawful repair restrictions under relevant statutes such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act6 and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.7

          Policy Statement of the Federal Trade Commissionon Repair Restrictions Imposed by Manufacturers and Sellers [July 21, 2021]

           

          The Federal Trade Commission staff has sent warning letters to six major companies that market and sell automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems in the United States.

          The letters warn that FTC staff has concerns about the companies’ statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact. Unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties.

          FTC Staff Warns Companies that It Is Illegal to Condition Warranty Coverage on the Use of Specified Parts or Services

           

          The Federal Trade Commission formally pledged to take on unlawful “right to repair” restrictions in a new policy statement issued Wednesday. The new policy could spell trouble for smartphone manufacturers like Apple that strictly inhibit users’ abilities to repair their own devices.

          “The adoption of today’s policy statement makes clear that the Commission will investigate unlawful repair restrictions, using the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and other consumer protection laws, as well as antitrust law to promote fair and open repair markets,” Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra said in a statement Wednesday.

          FTC pledges to fight unlawful right to repair restrictions [July 21, 2021]

           

          Here’s something else to know, in case you find yourself in this situation. Let’s say you took a product to an independent repair shop to fix or maintain it. Then later you go to the product’s manufacturer for a repair — but one not related to the earlier fix. If that repair is covered by your warranty, and if your warranty hasn’t expired, the manufacturer can’t refuse to make the repair.

          If you’re told that your warranty was voided or that it will be voided because of independent repair, we want to hear about it. Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

          The FTC weighs in on repair restrictions [May 6, 2021]

           
           

          I think that more important than ‘right to repair’ is ‘right to get security and OS updates’ for 7 years.

          That’s a desirable feature, not a right. But you get 10 years with Windows.

          Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1151 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

          3 users thanked author for this post.
          • #2379568
            Microfix
            AskWoody MVP

            But you get 10 years with Windows.

            But you get 10 years of suffering with Windows. FTFY 🙂

            | Quality over Quantity |
            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2379564
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Alex: “Apple doesn’t force anyone not to fix devices with any 3rd party they use.
          But they can’t keep warranty or get service at Apple…That even the FTC can’t force on any OEM.

          Governments can change such things. That is part of what “governing” means. I definitely believe that punishing others with denial of service for fixing their own equipment can be made illegal. And that this is something the new regulations and Executive Order might lead to. Their wording is pretty sweeping. Otherwise, by threatening in the contract of sale to not support the equipment they have sold if it is repaired by others, Apple and John Deere would still have the power to force their customers to accept their terms and have repairs made only at their authorized shops, etc. That would make nonsense of both the Executive Order and of the FTC regulation.

          As I’ve already written: We’ll see.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379582
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Apple and John Deere would still have the power to force their customers to accept their terms and have repairs made only at their authorized shops, etc.

        What is the difference between these terms of use and for example Microsoft EULAs or for that matter any EULA ?

        • #2379583
          b
          AskWoody MVP

          Microsoft doesn’t try to void your warranty if someone else repairs their software.

          Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1151 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2379586
        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        This issue is fairly broad in scope. Here’s an article from last year about John Deere farm equipment. It’s not just iPhones…

        Farmers Fight John Deere Over Who Gets to Fix an $800,000 Tractor
        The right-to-repair movement has come to the heartland, where some farmers are demanding access to the software that runs their equipment.

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-03-05/farmers-fight-john-deere-over-who-gets-to-fix-an-800-000-tractor

      • #2379600
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        People who are interested or want to support the ’cause’ could visit: The Repair Association

        https://www.repair.org/?utm_term=0_789af18489-33f5585fc7-401408797

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #2379625
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        From the “Policy Statement of the Federal Trade Commission om Repair Restrictions Imposed by Manufacturers and Sellers”:

        (Emphasis is mine)

        In 2019, the Commission convened a workshop on “Nixing the Fix” and sought input from consumers, independent businesses, manufacturers, and others. Through this work, the Commission uncovered evidence that manufacturers and sellers may, without reasonable justification, be restricting competition for repair services in numerous ways, including: imposing physical restrictions (e.g., the use of adhesives); limiting the availability of parts, manuals, diagnostic software, and tools to manufacturers’ authorized repair networks; using designs that make independent repairs less safe; limiting the availability of telematics information (i.e., information on the operation and status of a vehicle that is collected by a system contained in the vehicle and wirelessly relayed to a central location, often the manufacturer or dealer of the vehicle); asserting patent rights and enforcement of trademarks in an unlawful, overbroad manner; disparaging non-OEM parts and independent repair; using unjustified software locks, digital rights management, and technical protection measures; and imposing restrictive end user license agreements.

        This statement I would think, covers pretty comprehensively the causes of the various gripes of many here and elsewhere who work and, or use  computers, cell phones, etc., as well as many other kinds of unrelated equipment, most famously agricultural machinery.

        Of particular interest to me, as the owner of  a Mac, is the sentence I have emphasized in bold letters, because it has to do with the so far unstoppable trend to make Apple’s equipment very hard to repair, maintain, or upgrade, for example by replacing the battery, or adding more RAM, if there is space available for it, by gluing everything to the motherboard. This has to do with the silly race to the bottom to come up with the thinnest devices at the expense of functionality.

        Finally, the FTC recognizes, in not so many words, that it has been sitting on its hands for a very long time, while having the legal means to prevent many of the abuses that are listed above and in the rest of the statement:

        While unlawful repair restrictions have generally not been an enforcement priority for the Commission for a number of years,4 the Commission has determined that it will devote more enforcement resources to combat these practices.5 Accordingly, the Commission will now prioritize investigations into unlawful repair restrictions under relevant statutes such as the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act6 and Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2379632
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Microsoft doesn’t try to void your warranty if someone else repairs their software.

        But it does when someone else tries to repair their 0 reparability hardware.

        • #2379674
          b
          AskWoody MVP

          No, it does not.

          Only one model out of 30 ever scored zero for repairability, and that was more than four years ago. Some models score better than similar devices from Apple:

          Tablet Repairability Scores

          Laptop Repairability Scores

          Microsoft is taking big strides to make Surface devices easier to repair

          Windows 10 Pro version 21H2 build 19044.1151 + Microsoft 365 (group ASAP)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2379700
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            I am surprised that my 2015 MacBook Pro, with a 15-inch Retina screen, is given a  score of “1” out of 10 for reparability. I think this is definitely a mistake, because the author of the “Ifixit” article forgot to put the minus sign in front of this particular Mac’s rating.

            Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

            MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
            Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
            Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

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