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

Media Contacts
Rishi Shah

Dell leads pack for laptops; Motorola for cell phones; Apple ranks lowest for both, according to repairability analysis by Right to Repair advocates

Maryland PIRG Foundation

BALTIMORE–Consumers often don’t know which products will last and they’ll be able to fix, or which manufacturers make fixable devices and support Right to Repair. A new scorecard by Maryland PIRG Foundation, “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 Rishi Shah, Maryland PIRG Foundation Advocate. “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 PIRG report found Americans could save a combined $40 billion if they were able to repair instead of replacing their products. 

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. 

“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. That’s a shame, because longer lasting products are better for the environment and better for consumers,” said Dr. Elizabeth Chamberlain, Director of Sustainability for iFixit. “Despite those obstacles, we’ve helped millions of people repair their own gadgets—and become better informed about which products to support. When consumers prefer repairable products, it sends a powerful market signal.”

The Right to Repair coalition, which includes PIRG, iFixit and Repair.org, has been calling for better access to parts, tools and information needed to repair modern devices. 

“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 Shah. “The fact is, no products should be unfixable. Lawmakers should pass Right to Repair bills to ensure that we can access necessary parts and tools for each product we buy.” 

The Failing the Fix scorecard is part of Maryland PIRG Foundation’s work to recognize National Consumer Protection Week 2022 by putting actionable consumer protection information in the hands of all Amercans. All week, Maryland PIRG Foundation is providing consumer protection tips and tools to help Americans address some of the most common consumer issues that threaten our health, safety or financial security. To see all of our resources for consumers, go to: https://uspirgedfund.org/blogs/blog/usf/national-consumer-protection-week-2022