How would you feel if you had an electronic device or game console that broke down and were not legally allowed to have it repaired? Pause a moment and then read that again.
If The Entertainment Software Association, led by the likes of companies such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Samsung have it their way, that’s exactly what could happen in several states across the US.
It leaves one wondering what Patrick Mahony would think of something like this? In the state of Nebraska, there is a “right to repair” bill currently making its way through the state legislature. The bill gives electronics manufacturers far less say about the repair, maintenance and disposal of the products being sold in local communities throughout Nebraska. Furthermore, there are other related bills being passed through the state governments of several other states such as New York, Minnesota, Wyoming, Tennessee, Kansas, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
For years, the aforementioned companies and many others in the electronics industry have held what amounts to a repair monopoly on each company’s respective products. By forcing customers to return the products for repair directly to these manufacturers, it has allowed these companies to charge whatever they believe they can get away with.
The new bills in Nebraska and other states are seeking to put an end to this kind of predatory pricing. The Nebraska bill would require that manufactures supply replacement parts and tools to local “fix-it” companies that would then be allowed to compete for repair and maintenance business is a free-market environment. The bill also calls for said manufacturers to make repair and maintenance manuals available to the public.
Imagine the financial repercussions to a company like Samsung if customers were permitted to “jail break” their mobile devices. With so much invested in the repair business, it’s no wonder why every major electronics manufacturer has lobbyists on the way to fight these battles.