Your State Might Be Pushing for the Right to Repair

Even if you love Apple products, you may not love your shrinking options for fixing a problem when your devices go a bit haywire. Apple will direct you to the nearest Apple store, where you may not have the choice of getting your repairs done in-shop. Mac products often require wholesale replacement anyway, thanks to their design. Third-party repair specialists generally void your warranty, even if they get the job done.

But if you live in California, you might be in luck. State Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, representing a district not far from Silicon Valley, introduced a bill this week calling for consumers' right to repair their own purchased electronics. The Right to Repair Act takes aim at forcing a choice between costly, time-consuming manufacturer repairs and simply buying the latest upgrade. It's earned supportive comments from representatives at Californians Against Waste, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumers Union, and CALPIRG, the state public interest research group.

Seventeen other states have introduced similar legislation, but the tech and electronics manufacturing industries have thrown significant lobbying power against it each time. On the other hand, California already has some solid consumer protections in place requiring companies to provide between three and seven years of repair and replacement support, depending on wholesale prices.

If you're worried that this bill is just fighting for your right to be anxious about screwing up your iPhone, don't fret: While it does encourage a money-saving, innovation-spurring culture of DIY fixes, it also has a simpler goal — give repair shops access and training to ply their trade. You're off the hook if you prefer, but get in touch with your elected officials if you think your district or state should pursue similar actions.