As Colorado considers Right to Repair bill, new scorecard grades tech companies on fixability of devices

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DENVER – Cell phones and computers are indispensable to our daily lives for work, education, communication and more, and no one buys an electronic device they expect will break and be unfixable. Unfortunately, too many major tech companies are falling short of ensuring their customers can fix their electronics or take it to someone they trust to fix it, according to a new fixability scorecard released today.

At the scorecard release, Right to Repair advocates and state legislators advocated for the next Colorado Right to Repair bill that will be moving, focused on consumer electronics. The bill, HB24-1121, follows previously successful efforts to pass Right to Repair policy for powered wheelchairs and agricultural equipment.

“Coloradans have put up with unfixable gadgets for too long,” said State Representative Brianna Titone, sponsor of HB24-1121. “We deserve tech that lasts, and that we can fix. That’s why we’re working to pass legislation to expand our already successful Right to Repair programs to cover more devices — no one should be surprised to find that the product they bought is unexpectedly impossible to repair.”

“Consumers pay good money for devices, They deserve ones that will last,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG executive director. “When it comes to repairability, you don’t always get what you pay for. People want to buy from companies that respect our Right to Repair and ensure that their devices are designed to last.”

The new CoPIRG scorecard helps tell the story of a manufacturer’s relationship to the Right to Repair. The scorecard calculates a repairability score for the most popular cell phone and laptop brands on the market. Companies that design their devices to last receive a good grade, and those “failing the fix” receive poor grades. This year’s edition also includes the top three most repairable cell phones and laptops for each manufacturer.

A laptop and cellphone repairability scorecard. For laptops, ASUS gets a B+ (Models: Zenbook Pro14, S13, and 14), acer gets a B (Models: Aspire Vero series, Aspire 3 series, and Nitro 5 series), DELL gets a C+ (Models Vostro 16 Laptop, Latitude 3140, and Vostro 3520), Microsoft gets a C+ (Models: Surface Laptop Go 3, Go 2, and Studio 2), HP gets a C (Model: OMEN Gaming Laptop 16 series, Victus Gaming Laptop 16 series, OMEN Transcend Laptop 16 series), Lenovo gets a C (Model: ThinkBook 16 Gen 4 Plus, IdeaPad Slim 5, and Ideapad 1 15ALC7), and Apple gets a D (MacBook Air M1, M2, and Pro M3). For cellphones, motorola gets a C+ (Models: moto g 5g 2023, motorola edge 30 fusion 2022, motorola razr 2023), Apple gets a C (Models 15, 14, and 13), Google gets a C (Models: Pixel 8, 7a, and 7), and Samsung gets a C- (Galaxy A14, A54, and A25).

Photo by Lucas Gutterman | TPIN

Unfixable products have become a pressing issue for consumers and the environment alike. Electronic waste is the fastest growing type of solid waste across the globe: Globally, we trash 59 million tons of used electronics (the weight of 161 Empire State Buildings) each year. A 2020 U.S. PIRG Education Fund report found that Americans could save a combined $40 billion per year if repairs were more widely available.

The scorecard highlighted some notable repair trends since the previous version last year. Google’s Chromebooks, one of the more affordable options on the market, continue to be less repairable than other laptops. Apple continues to be in last place for laptop repairs, but showed considerable improvement in their cell phone score, rising more than any other company. These higher marks largely come from phones that are easier to take apart and fix.

“Information is power for consumers and this scorecard can help them make informed purchases,” Katz said. “Spending hundreds of dollars on disposable technology isn’t worth it. If you can fix your phone or laptop and use it for years, it offers more long-term value. Companies should do more to ensure their products are designed to last, and lawmakers should pass the Colorado Right to Repair bill and protect our ability to fix our stuff.”

Colorado policy makers have been leaders in efforts to protect consumers’ ability to fix their stuff. In addition to Right to Repair laws on wheelchairs and farm equipment, in January, the Colorado legislature passed a House Joint Resolution calling for a national Right to Repair score system that would help consumers understand how repairable products are. The resolution came during an open Federal Trade Commission (FTC) public comment period asking for feedback on how they can help states improve and foster repair.

The Colorado Right to Repair bill for consumer electronics heads to the House Business Affairs and Labor committee for its first hearing in late February.