A pending measure meant to make it easier for consumers to fix electronic devices themselves or at local repair shops was praised this week by federal regulators as the bill awaits a final decision from Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The Federal Trade Commission in a letter released by bill sponsor Assemblywoman Pat Fahy praised the bill, calling it a milestone. The letter comes as manufacturers have raised concerns with the legislation, and have pointed to potential safety issues and cybersecurity issues.
"For many consumers, these expanded repair options will enable them to extend the useful lives of their products, thereby driving down the cost of ownership and reducing the amount of e-waste generated," the letter stated. "Furthermore, the Digital Fair Repair Act will provide opportunities for small independent repair shops to deliver vital services for consumers."
Lawmakers earlier this year in New York approved a measure that would require manufacturers of many digital and electronic devices to make spare parts and manuals available either to consumers or to repair shops in order for fixes to be performed locally.
More than 1,000 different types of mobile phones are available in the U.S. market today, and many of these devices can't be repaired due to a lack of access to parts, manuals or diagnostic tools. For many electronic devices, a fix needs to be performed by sending them to the manufacturer for an expensive repair.
Supporters of the legislation have argued the bill's approval would also lead to a boost in job creation and aid local small businesses that can perform repairs.
“The Federal Trade Commission’s support for this legislation underscores its 2021 ‘Nixing the Fix’ report that emphasizes how ‘right to repair’ laws stand to improve consumer access to repairs and save Americans money by leveling the playing field between manufacturers and those in the repair industry," Fahy said. "As the first state in the nation to pass a Right to Repair law, I urge Governor Kathy Hochul to sign this legislation into law and again allow New York to lead on this issue as it has on so many others."