Companies may soon be required to provide New York consumers with diagnostic and repair information while also releasing proprietary parts to local repair businesses and consumers under a bill being considered by state lawmakers.
Supporters of the measure, known as the Digital Fair Repair Act, say it would lead to reduced electronic waste and promote local businesses in the process.
Devices like smartphones and laptops could be repaired by a local repair shop or by the consumer itself. The bill has won support from Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as groups ranging from the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Farm Bureau.
"All too often consumers have frustrating experiences with electronic manufacturers repair services, particularly when it comes to wait times and costs," said Sen. Neil Breslin, the Democratic sponsor of the measure in the Senate. "During these challenging economic times, now more than ever people need financial relief. Having more cost effective repair options for their digital electronics would provide a great benefit to families all across New York."
New York could be among the first of 21 states to pass similar legislation. And it would come amid the COVID-19 pandemic, giving consumers more flexibility.
“The COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for consumers to have more choices when it comes to getting their tech repaired,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, the Assembly sponsor of the legislation.
“A broken laptop or tablet can now mean a student missing several days’ worth of lessons, or falling behind on work for those now using home offices. Electronics that could have been repaired continue to enter the waste stream because repair information was not available. This bill will open up repair opportunities for consumers and independent repairers while also lowering costs."