America’s consumer watchdog, the FTC, today scolded technology makers for their anti-repair practices, and signaled it will support new legislation that ensures people can mend their own stuff without penalty.
In short, the FTC said manufacturers were, among other things, regularly breaking or stretching warranty law, deliberately designing products that are hard to fix, keeping repair information secret, using patent and trademark law to thwart repair efforts, discouraging independent third-party repairs, and using software to lock out changes. This leads to a bad deal for buyers and the environment as stuff gets thrown away when it could have been mended and reused.
“We’re glad to see the FTC acknowledge the scope of the problem, and the real harm to consumers,” Kerry Maeve Sheehan, head of US policy at repair biz iFixit, told The Register. “We’re also happy to see the FTC’s pledge to undertake enforcement and regulatory solutions to repair restrictions, and fully support them in doing so – these actions are long overdue.”