U.S. President Joe Biden to Direct FTC to Draft Right to Repair Rules
United States President Joe Biden plans to direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to create new right to repair rules that would affect tech companies like Apple, reports Bloomberg.
The rules would prevent manufacturers from limiting consumers' options for repairing products at independent repair shops or on their own, and the presidential directive is expected to mention mobile phone developers as an area for possible regulation. The FTC will be able to decide on the size and the scope of the order, so it is not yet clear how Apple might be impacted.
Multiple states have proposed right to repair legislation, which Apple has continually lobbied against. Apple claims that allowing independent repair shops to work on Apple devices without oversight would lead to security, safety, and quality issues. Many of the right to repair bills that have circulated call on tech companies to provide repair manuals and easy access to device components for repair purposes.
Apple does its own repairs in house at Apple retail stores and repair centers around the world, but it also works with Apple Authorized Service Providers to provide repair options. AASPs are managed by Apple and must meet Apple requirements, with some repairs and components limited.
When Right to Repair bills began surfacing, Apple also launched a worldwide Independent Repair Program that is designed to provide repair shops that are not AASPs with genuine parts, tools, repair manuals, and diagnostics for performing out-of-warranty repairs on Apple devices.
Repair shops have complained that Apple's program is too limited as it requires an Apple-certified technician to perform the repairs (available under a free program), and some parts are not provided to independent repair shops.
Biden's executive order is expected to be released in the coming days, and White House economic adviser Brian Deese on Friday said that it is meant to spur "greater competition in the economy" as well as lower prices for American families.
Back in November, the European Parliament also voted to develop new Right to Repair rules that will require companies to provide explicit information about the repairability and lifespan of products on consumer packaging. Under the terms of this order, manufacturers will need to provide a repair score, something that France has already enacted.
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