Bloomberg reports that President Joe Biden will instruct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to draft new ‘Right to Repair’ rules to prevent tech companies like Apple, Microsft, and manufacturers from restricting consumers opting for independent repair, instead of going to authorized dealers only.
Apple has a tight grip on iPhone and other devices’ repair. Customers can only get their devices repaired at the company’s own or authorized repair centers where employees receive expert training and equipment to make the repair. And that is a problem because it increases the cost of repair. Consumers complain that they can not opt for cheaper repair alternatives. In its recently published report, FTC called Apple’s and Microsoft’s repair restrictions “anti-competitive.” And now the agency has been directed by the U.S President to amend that.
U.S. Federal government aims to reform Apple-like restrictive repair policy to promote healthy competition
As per the report, President Joe Biden’s executive order will be released shortly.
The executive order, which is expected to be released in the coming days, is broadly designed to drive “greater competition in the economy, in service of lower prices for American families and higher wages for American workers,” White House economic adviser Brian Deese said Friday.
While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have imposed limits on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
It is detailed that the President’s order is concurrent to similar plans to introduce the right to repair legislation by the European Commission.
The Biden Administration effort comes as the European Commission has also announced plans for new right-to-repair rules that would govern smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Environmental activists have said that restrictions on repairs encourage waste by making consumers more likely to throw out damaged items because of the high cost of repair.