STATEMENT: FTC to crack down on companies’ anti-repair restrictions

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Federal Trade Commission indicates it will pursue policies that violate consumer, antitrust laws


WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a new policy statement that outlines anti-repair practices it will view as illegal. The new guidance comes two weeks after President Joe Biden issued an executive order calling for the FTC to issue new rules to protect the Right to Repair — and two months after the FTC issued its landmark “Nixing the Fix” report on repair restrictions. That report found many examples of manufacturers’ practices it has now ruled are enforceable violations. 

The policy statement indicates that the FTC will pursue enforcement action to eliminate harmful repair restrictions and call for the public to submit complaints about violations of existing warranty law. In his comments on the statement, Commissioner Rohit Chopra also called for the FTC to devote resources to support state policymakers to ensure that their legislation is clear and enforceable.

In response to the FTC’s policy guidance approval, Jenn Engstrom, State Director of CALPIRG said:

“Manufacturers, take notice: It’s time to clean up your act and let people fix their stuff. The FTC is ready to stop many of the schemes companies use to block and undermine independent repair, and support is increasing for new legislation to further crack down on these monopolistic practices. 

“From Washington D.C. to Sacramento, policy makers support the Right to Repair. We’re going to channel this momentum and continue our push for change until Californians have what they need to fix what they own. Once you buy a product, you should be able to do what you want with it — you shouldn’t have to rely on who you bought it from.”