Statement: FTC announces intention to add Right to Repair rules to Energy Guide program

Media Contacts

Agency takes another pro-repair step to improve access to appliance repair 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Monday that it will be updating the rules for  the Energy Guide* appliance rating program, pending public comments, to make it easier to repair covered products. The proposed updates would require access to repair materials, specifically, “instructions for the maintenance, use, or repair of the covered product.” If implemented, these reforms will represent a huge advance in the Right to Repair appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators and other products that come with Energy Guide scores. 

“As prices rise, the Commission will continue to take aggressive action to protect consumers’ pocketbooks and strengthen their right to repair their own products,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement. FTC Chair Lina Khan added in a separate statement, “I believe it is vital that the Commission use every tool available to it to vindicate Americans’ right to repair their own products, and I am pleased that we are continuing to follow through on that commitment here.”

The FTC has clear authority under 42 U.S. Code § 6294 (c)(5)(C) to make such a rule: 

(5)The Commission may require that a manufacturer of a covered product … (C) … ship with the product, additional information relating to energy consumption, including instructions for the maintenance, use, or repair of the covered product, if the Commission determines that such additional information would assist consumers in making purchasing decisions or in using such product…

In response, PIRG’s Senior Right to Repair Campaign Director Nathan Proctor made the following statement: 

“Repairing a product instead of replacing it is one of the best ways to cut down the environmental impact of our appliances. Including repair requirements as part of the Energy Guide program is the right thing for the planet and important for consumers. 

“When Congress passed energy conservation policies decades ago, it included the ability to require Right to Repair access. While that provision has gone unnoticed for too long, it’s not surprising it was written that way — strong Right to Repair protections are in several long-standing laws. Similar protections were put into the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the Clean Air Act and more. The reason is simple: Our system has long honored users’ Right to Repair and viewed manufacturers restricting repair as a predatory act that shouldn’t happen. I’m thrilled that the FTC is stepping up to enforce those laws and protect repair, and I hope other agencies join them in standing up for repair.”

* An earlier version of this statement mistakenly referred to this as the Energy Star program, but the announcement covered Energy Guide. Read more about the difference here

staff | TPIN

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