‘Failing the Fix’ scorecard grades Apple, Google, Dell, others on how fixable their devices are

Media Contacts
Sander Kushen

Former Consumer Advocate, CALPIRG

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Consumers often don’t know which products will last and they’ll be able to fix, or which manufacturers intentionally make devices harder to repair. A new scorecard by CALPIRG Education Fund, “Failing the Fix,” ranks the most popular cell phone and laptop makers for consumers who seek to purchase easily repairable products – especially those from companies who do not fight to prevent Right to Repair.


“No one walks into the store and thinks ‘I’m going to buy something unfixable,’” said Sander Kushen, consumer advocate for CALPIRG. “People should be able to buy products that will last, be repairable when they break, and which are made by companies that respect our Right to Repair.”

Over the last year, France has required manufacturers to publish a repair score, from 0 to 10, with their products. “Failing to Fix” collected the French repair scores of 187 devices from 10 popular manufacturers, weighed a few additional factors related to how repair-friendly the manufacturers and products were, and came up with a final score. 

The report found that the prevalence of unfixable stuff is a problem for both consumers and the planet. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that electronic waste is now the fastest growing part of our domestic municipal waste stream, and an earlier CALPIRG report found Californians could save a combined $4.3 billion if they were able to repair instead of replacing their products. 

“iFixit has been raising the alarm around hard to repair products for over a decade. From glued in batteries to proprietary tools, so many new product designs systematically stymie repair,” said Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability for iFixit. “That’s a shame, because longer lasting products are better for the environment and better for consumers.” 

To address this problem, state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman introduced SB 983, a bill to provide Californians the resources they need to fix electronics and keep electronic waste off the scrap heap. The bill is cosponsored by CALPIRG Education Fund’s partner organization CALPIRG, iFixit, Californians Against Waste, and Consumer Reports.

“If you own a device, you should be able to fix it” Sen. Eggman said. “My bill would ensure that product owners and independent repair shops in California have access to the parts, tools, software, and information needed to repair consumer electronics and appliances.”

New legislation would help independent repair shops stay open, rather than getting swallowed up or put out of business by large manufacturers. These small businesses provide a backbone for many Californian communities, from small towns to Los Angeles. For example, L.A.-based Homeboy Electronics Recycling, which gives former gang members and ex-convicts a fresh start in life.

“Through our work, we are able to train and provide jobs to hundreds of people, said Brian Fox, director of reuse at Homeboy Electronics Recycling. “Better access to the tools needed for repair means that we’ll be able to continue providing jobs and repair services for our community into the future.”

The report concludes that there are large disparities in device repairability, and it can be difficult for consumers to assess that when they shop — if they don’t know where to look. “A repair score is important information for consumers that can impact the value of the device. If it can be fixed and kept in use, it is worth more over time,” explained Kushen. “The fact is, no products should be unfixable. Lawmakers should pass bills including SB 983 to ensure that we can access necessary parts and tools for each product we buy.”

staff | TPIN

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