Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Executive Director, MASSPIRG
Updated report helps consumers know which products will last
Boston – Cell phones and computers are indispensable to our daily lives. For work, education, communication and more, personal devices are a necessary purchase for more people than ever before. And when those devices fall into disrepair, consumers need to be able to fix them in a reasonable fashion and at a reasonable price. However, many technology companies make their products intentionally difficult to fix, pushing consumers to replace their devices. How can consumers know which products are designed to last and which are doomed to the dump?
The MASSPIRG Education Fund released the third annual version of the “Failing the Fix” scorecard on Tuesday, which gives consumers important information about manufacturers’ records on 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.
“Consumers pay good money for devices, they deserve ones that will last,” said Janet Domenitz of MASSPIRG. “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.”
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. In Massachusetts alone, consumers generate 159,000 tons of e-waste each year. A 2020 U.S. PIRG Education Fund report found that Bay Staters could save $1 billion per year if repairs were more widely available.
Some notable trends from last year have continued into 2024. 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 us make informed purchases,” state Rep. Adrian Madaro said. Madaro is the chief House sponsor of a bill to establish the digital right to repair in Massachusetts. The bill was recently reported out of committee and sent to Senate Ways and Means.
“Companies should do more to ensure their products are designed to last, both to protect consumers, and to generate less waste and protect the environment,” said Senator Mike Brady, the chief sponsor of the right to repair bill in the Senate.