Fixing whatever you own shouldn’t be an ordeal, but alas, companies don’t seem to want you repairing their products. The FTC has decided they have something to say about that and they want to hear from passionate minds like yours.
The Federal Trade Commission will be hosting a July 16th workshop called “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions” with a goal to “focus on how manufacturers may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops and whether those limitations affect consumer protection, including consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.”
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which goes way back to 1975, forbids companies from voiding warranties on their products just because the owner modified or repaired said product themselves. Many companies attempt to scare their customers by plastering “warranty void if removed” stickers all over their devices. But these stickers are unenforceable. More importantly, they’re illegal.
The FTC finally cracked down on the use of these stickers last year by sending warning letters to a handful of large corporations, like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Microsoft is facing a lawsuit over the practice in California. Some of these stickers are still out there, but it’s nice to see the FTC cracking the whip, and they’re not done yet.
The upcoming workshop will address some of the problems caused when manufacturers make it difficult for users or independent repair shops to fix devices, and the Commission wants people to submit any empirical data or research that may prove useful for the upcoming workshop. The deadline for this is April 30th.
Better yet, the FTC is also accepting comments from the public regarding Right to Repair, so you can send in your thoughts to the Commission until September 16th.