State Director, OSPIRG
State Director, OSPIRG
Study demonstrates demand in Oregonians for accessible electronic repair
According to a new report from OSPIRG, even though Oregon residents demonstrate a strong interest in fixing their electronic devices, there are big obstacles in their way. “What are Oregonians Trying to Fix?” analyzes data from the popular repair website iFixit.com, looking at the most common items people in Oregon want to fix, and what stands in their way.
The report’s top findings include:
890,000 Oregon residents visited iFixit.com last year.
The most popular products people researched on iFixit are cell phones, laptops, automobiles, and tablets
Of the 10 most popular manufacturers, Apple, Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft don’t provide access to spare parts or technical service information.
“With nearly a quarter of residents using iFixit, it’s clear that Oregonians want to fix our stuff. After all, repairing an old device instead of buying a new one cuts waste and saves us money,” noted Marie Haefliger, OSPIRG Right to Repair Intern, “But too often, consumers are stymied in their repair efforts because most of the top manufacturers won’t provide access to spare parts, repair software or service diagrams.”
The report highlights the growing call for “Right to Repair” reforms, which would require manufacturers to make parts and service information available to consumers.
“iFixit.com has many guides for problems that manufacturers have told people are unfixable, and advised them that they need to replace the device. For example, you can easily change the battery in an iPhone yourself,” explained iFixit’s co-founder, Kyle Wiens. “And while we can provide spare parts for that repair, sometimes, we just can’t get the parts: Only the manufacturer has access to what we need to fix the device.”
Adrian Avery-Johnson, owner of Bridgetown Electronics Repair explains that, “Many of the devices that are being purchased by consumers today, unbeknownst to them, are not going to be repairable after the manufacturers stop supporting the hardware. We need to take action now to protect consumers and independent repair from that future”.
The most important repair guides on iFixit among Oregon residents were for cell phones, and Apple was the most popular manufacturer. Among personal electronics, battery repair was the most common guide type.
“Throwing out a $1,000 smartphone because it needs a $40 battery is absurd,” added Haefliger, “It’s no wonder that we’re increasingly interested in fixing our electronics ourselves. Manufacturers should provide better access to parts and information, and if they won’t, state leaders should step up and enact Right to Repair reforms.”