The devices Coloradans tried to fix in 2018 and why it’s harder to repair them than it should be
Here in Colorado, we want to fix our stuff.
Something breaks, or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.
According to a review of data from iFixit, a self-described “repair guide for everything, written by everyone.” 1.2 million unique users from Colorado went onto their website www.ifixit.com to look up how to repair something in 2018.
Looking more closely into that data from iFixit, the top ten device types that Coloradans attempted to fix were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, tablets, desktop computers, gaming consoles, wireless speakers, vacuums, controllers and clothing. Cell phones repair guides were by far the most popular, receiving 21 percent of all the page views.
Despite the best efforts of websites like iFixit to provide Coloradans with the tools and knowledge to repair our stuff, some manufacturers create unnecessary and unwarranted barriers, especially in the world of consumer electronics.
Barriers to consumers to easily fix their electronic devices include:
- Limiting a consumer or even a professional independent repairer from accessing the tools, parts, schematics, or software needed to perform simple repairs.
- Only making parts available to their own repair staff even if you wanted to pay fair market value to fix your stuff
- Limiting important manufacturer information that would allow consumers to make easy fixes to their phones
The easiest action the consumer electronics industry can take is making its devices with repairability in mind. Making repair more accessible will increase the likelihood that people repair their devices, save money, and prevent another device from entering our waste stream.
If the electronics industry wants to become more transparent and consumer-friendly, manufacturers should adopt and adhere to basic Right to Repair principles which include providing the information, schematics, software, tools, and parts necessary to repair their devices for free or at fair cost. Colorado’s Governor and Legislature should consider actions that can ensure Coloradans have a right to repair their stuff.