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And just like that in a blink of an eye, Memorial Day and the official start to Summer 2023 is upon us. While many see this as simply a three-day holiday and an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on everything from new cars, mattresses, and other household items, it’s important for all of us to take a minute (or more) to honor our brave countrymen and women in the armed forces, both past and present.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States celebrated on the last Monday of May commemorating men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Many leaders in the wireless industry served our country and it’s my honor to say “thank you” to all of them.
The sacrifices that our service people made allow us to live free in a democratic society. While nowhere is the magnitude of the rights now guaranteed to us, new laws are being passed that benefit all wireless consumers. I want to call this the New Wireless Consumer Bill of Rights.
Let’s start with the breaking news that the state of Minnesota is the first state to pass a fully loaded Right to Repair law. (New York State passed a similar law but according to an article published by The National Wireless Independent Dealers Association (NWIDA), New York “carved out” protections for home appliances and commercial and educational computing systems, which Minnesota’s law includes. NWIDA’s article further states that the law:
“requires electronics manufacturers to allow independent repair shops and consumers to buy necessary parts and tools to repair their own equipment. This law, which was signed by Governor Tim Walz in April 2023, is part of an omnibus appropriations bill.
The new rules will take effect on July 1st, 2024, and will cover products sold on or after July 1st, 2021. If manufacturers sell a product in the state, they must offer residents the equipment to repair it on “fair and reasonable” terms within 60 days, and they must offer documentation for performing repairs and service free of charge. Failure to do so will violate Minnesota’s Deceptive Trade Practices statute and open manufacturers up to penalties from the attorney general.”
According to Adam Wolf. President of NWIDA,
“Right-to-repair advocates are optimistic about Minnesota’s rules, with Nathan Proctor, who leads the right-to-repair initiative at public interest group PIRG, calling it “the biggest right-to-repair win to date.”
“With online documentation, people everywhere in the world — not just in Minnesota — will benefit from this,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens.
Other states, such as Colorado, are also pushing for right-to-repair efforts for specific equipment categories. Colorado’s governor signed a law guaranteeing repair options for farm equipment last month.”
Adam finally says,
“Overall, Minnesota’s new right-to-repair law is a significant step forward in protecting consumers’ rights to repair their own electronics. It remains to be seen how manufacturers will respond to these new rules, but the hope is that they will lead to more repairable products and less electronic waste.”
Others who will benefit from this new law that will hopefully finally gain steam are the hundreds of independent dealers that will be better armed to serve their customers. In an article published by Elizabeth Chamberlin of Ifixit in March of 2022, many advocates for Right to Repair sounded off on the “monopoly” that phone manufacturers seem to have. For instance, Kyle Wiens, iFixit CEO, said,
“We should all be able to fix what we own, and the Fair Repair Act takes a huge step toward a more repairable future. It’s good for small independent repair businesses, great for the planet, and even better for people who need their smartphone screens fixed. The iFixit community has been demanding this solution for decades: Manufacturers should make parts, tools, and repair information available to everyone who needs to fix their gadgets.”
Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of the Repair Association, pointed out.
“Everyone that eats, makes phone calls, uses a refrigerator or goes to school has a reason to support this essential legislation,” Gordon-Byrne said. “As we know from our own years of advocacy and research, there are no good reasons for manufacturers to prevent repair, only weak excuses offered in support of illegal monopolies. It’s time to restore the option of competition for repair services around the nation.”
And Nathan Proctor of PIRG adds
“It’s common sense: When something breaks you fix it. But when only the manufacturer or their authorized shop can fix your device, they can charge as much as they want and force you into buying an upgrade. It’s time to remove manufacturer-imposed barriers to repair and get back to fixing things like we’ve always done. We are proud to support this bipartisan, pro-environment, pro-consumer, and pro-small business bill.”
The timing for all of this legislative action is good as it dovetails with the recent Gadget Repair Expo in Orlando. Over 50 exhibitors and close to 1000 attendees shared critical information that helps the repair industry learn, earn and increase profits. Giving wireless dealers the right to repair products that they sell only makes sense and helps them keep their customers satisfied, something we all want! Check out photos from the event at gadgetrepairexpo.com and please support this terrific event for our industry.
In closing, here’s wishing everyone a safe and healthy Memorial Day Weekend. Until next time, GOOD SELLING (and repairing!)!