RELEASE: Legislators from 28 states ask FTC for repair scores

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NEW YORK — PIRG delivered a letter Wednesday signed by 58 state legislators from 28 states to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), urging the development of voluntary repair scores for laptops, phones, and other tech. The scores would work in a similar way to EnergyGuide labels, providing consumers with a 1 through 10 score measuring availability of spare parts, ease of disassembly, and longevity of support.

“For too long, U.S. consumers have been left in the dark on the repairability of the electronic goods they purchase,” said signer Maine Representative Lydia Crafts. “People are asking for transparency to help them make wise spending decisions and the repairability scores give them that opportunity. Regular people want to know what they’re buying and if they can fix it when it breaks. A voluntary repair index puts decision-making power back in the hands of consumers and offers a much-needed level of transparency for the general public.” 

PIRG organized the letter, which read in part, “nobody walks into an electronics store and thinks, ‘I’m going to buy something that breaks.’ But how do we know which products are designed to last?…Consumers still face a lack of transparent repairability information available to them before they make an expensive purchase, such as whether the product is glued together, or lacks basic service instructions.”

“Citizens don’t have the time and money to buy products blindly to find the one that works and doesn’t break. Repair scores help consumers make better choices by leaving junk on the store shelf!” said North Dakota Senator Tim Mathern.

“Repair scores are already available on Amazon to consumers in other countries,” said Lucas Rockett Gutterman, Designed to Last campaign director with U.S. PIRG Education Fund. “Lawmakers agree that Americans deserve to know which products are designed to last and which are destined for the dump.”