Right to Repair shows no signs of slowing down

From a win in the New York Senate, to a new bill in Congress: A roundup of news on Right to Repair

New York Senate chambers

Our work to make sure that people have what they need to fix modern equipment has continued to grow. Here’s our latest update on work across the country — and across the world — to stand up to manufacturers who restrict repair. 

New York Senate passes Right to Repair 

On June 10, the New York state Senate passed a landmark right-to-repair bill on a 51 to 12 vote. This was the third full chamber vote so far this session across the country, but New York was the first time a broad Right to Repair measure that covers consumer devices has reached this milestone (earlier votes involved narrower bills for medical devices and farm equipment). 

Not only does this vote create momentum in New York, it’s a clear sign across the country that Right to Repair can pass. The achievement comes amid heavy opposition: A U.S. PIRG study found that companies worth a combined $10.7 trillion have recently lobbied against Right to Repair. Apparently that’s no match for our plucky coalition. 

… but the Assembly let the clock run out. 

The New York state Assembly was unwilling to take up the companion bill this year, and now the bill has to wait until January. While it was disappointing to come up short, the move by the Senate has ramped up pressure on the Assembly to come to the table. We are in a great position heading into 2022. 

Right to Repair bill introduced in Congress

Citing the momentum from our work to push the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to weigh in on Right to Repair, Rep. Joe Morelle of Rochester, New York, has introduced new federal legislation on Right to Repair which closely mirrors our model state legislation. Rep. Morelle has a history supporting Right to Repair and was the sponsor of state legislation in New York when he was a member of the state legislature. 

As most state legislatures wrap up work in 2021 (just Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware have active Right to Repair bills), we can ramp up our federal advocacy and keep the campaign going full throttle. 

Australian review calls for Right to Repair, Parliament approves measure for cars

The Australian version of the FTC, the Productivity Commission, has issued a draft report on Right to Repair, and found that Australians need better options to fix their devices — from phones and tablets to tractors. The report called for new consumer protection laws, minimum durability requirements for products and an investigation into repairability labeling for products. The Commission is holding public comment events and will issue a final report later this summer. 

Meanwhile, the Parliament passed a new RIght to Repair measure for cars, which mirrors reforms passed in Massachusetts in 2012.

Other news: 

South Africa’s automobile Right to Repair rules go into effect next month and there is already growing interest in expanding reforms to include cell phones. 

A Canadian Right to Repair measure, which focused on copyright issues, passed its second reading 330-0 and continues to make progress. Meanwhile, a more formal Canadian Right to Repair alliance is forming with assistance from the Repair.org coalition. 

Lina Khan was confirmed in a strong bipartisan vote, then named FTC Chair. This is terrific news for Right to Repair — a topic Chair Khan engaged on while in the House Judiciary — as well as many other pro-competition campaign efforts. Read more about why U.S. PIRG supported Chair Khan for the FTC

A Massachusetts District Court has begun the trial portion of a case by auto manufacturers to block a Right to Repair ballot measure which passed last fall. U.S. PIRG Education Fund joined an Amicus Brief led by iFixit in support of the ballot measure. 

Apple was forced to pay out some undisclosed millions after an authorized Apple vendor stole and posted intimate photos from a phone sent in for repairs. Our blog on the scandal highlights why “authorized” doesn’t mean trustworthy, and why we need real choice for repairs. 

U.S. PIRG helped organize a letter with the Consumer Access to Repair (CAR) Coalition calling for a hearing on Right to Repair on the Hill, with a broad range of supporters across the political spectrum. 


Nathan Proctor

Senior Director, Campaign for the Right to Repair, PIRG

Nathan leads U.S. PIRG’s Right to Repair campaign, working to pass legislation that will prevent companies from blocking consumers’ ability to fix their own electronics. Nathan lives in Arlington, Massachusetts, with his wife and two children.