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A new analysis of the do-it-yourself repair website iFixit.com found a huge number of Coloradans are attempting to fix their cell phones, laptops, vacuums and cars, even as some manufacturers create unnecessary and unwarranted barriers to repair.
In 2018 alone, 1.2 million unique users in Colorado accessed iFixit.com, just one of the many websites that offers guides, videos and tutorials to consumers and professional independent repairers on how to fix everything from vacuums to cars to cell phones. Cell phone repair guides were by far the most popular, receiving 21 percent of all the page views. Eight of the top ten things Coloradans were trying to fix were consumer electronics.
“Coloradans are showing that they want to fix their stuff. Unfortunately, making it hard to fix electronic devices increases the number of fixable devices that enter our waste stream and the number of new devices that need to be produced, which can have a negative impact on our environment,” said Allison Conwell, advocate with CoPIRG Foundation.
According to the analysis, What are Coloradans Fixing?, The top ten devices that Coloradans are trying to fix are:
- Cell Phone
- Desktop Computer
- Gaming Console
- Wireless Speaker
Since eight of the top ten were consumer electronics, the report analyzed the most sought after fixes for just consumer electronics and found that the battery was the number one sought after fix (21 percent) followed by the screen, the hard drive, buttons, and the logic/motherboard.
Despite the best efforts of websites like iFixit.com to provide Coloradans with the tools and knowledge to repair our stuff, some manufacturers create unnecessary and unwarranted barriers, especially in the world of consumer electronics.
Barriers to consumers to easily fix their electronic devices include:
- Limiting a consumer or even a professional independent repairer from accessing the tools, parts, schematics, or software needed to perform simple repairs.
- Only making parts available to their own repair staff even if you wanted to pay fair market value to fix your stuff
- Limiting important manufacturer information that would allow consumers to make easy fixes to their phones
An analysis, combined with expert advice from Repair.org, of the eight consumer electronic companies that made the top ten list of companies’ that produced things Colordans tried to fix, found that some of them do not sell the parts or tools necessary to repair their devices to the public.
- HP and Lenovo provide manufacturer parts for sale, and provide free access to repair schematics and diagnostic software, and therefore make manufacturer-quality independent repair largely accessible to Coloradans.
- LG offers some spare parts through authorized third-party sellers, which creates some limits to a Coloradan’s ability to fix their electronic devices. SharkNinja products offer some replacement accessories, but not internal components.
- Apple along with Samsung, Sony, and Microsoft frequently do not offer the parts, tools, schematics, and information necessary to repair their devices for sale to consumers, thereby making manufacturer-quality independent repair inaccessible to Coloradans.
“Limiting consumers’ ability to access the parts and information necessarily makes repairs more difficult, and in some cases impossible. That’s wrong. Coloradans are showing that they want to fix their stuff, but right now many manufacturers don’t make their stuff easily fixable or provide the parts, tools, or information necessary to people who want to fix their stuff. Every Coloradan should have the right to repair their things,” said Conwell.
CoPIRG’s Right to Repair campaign calls for manufacturers to adopt and adhere to basic Right to Repair principles which include providing the information, schematics, software, tools, and parts necessary to repair their devices for free or at fair cost. Colorado’s Governor and Legislature should consider actions that can ensure Coloradans have a right to repair their stuff.
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