What is the Right to Repair Movement?
The right to repair is a worldwide movement protecting consumer rights by making sure you are allowed to continue using the product you bought for as long as you want. In contrast to that, the companies making the products want to control every aspect of that product, from accessories to repair.
Why? To make more money by making repairs difficult or even impossible, and make it easier to just buy a new phone. This is not something everybody wants, and considering the 53 million tonnes of e-waste we produce each year, the planet doesn’t want it either.
What is the Right to Repair and Why Should You Care?
The technology you use daily is worlds different from what we had only a decade or two ago. In the 2000s, the TVs and radios were so simple, every household had at least one person tech-savvy enough to fix it themselves.
And even if they didn’t, you could easily find a repair shop that could get the product working. It wasn’t important to use original parts from the manufacturer or even to use the same parts. It was important to make it work.
Today, however, tech is getting incredibly complex. Even five to seven years ago, if your smartphone’s battery died you could just order a new one from eBay and replace it yourself. The newer smartphones are all compact and you can’t take anything out without disassembling the whole device.
Manufactures and users both wanted compact, beautifully designed, and fast devices. Because of this, nowadays smartphones are almost impossible to repair for an average user. You would need a myriad of equipment, really good technical knowledge, and a way to get original spare parts.
But that isn’t really a problem, right? Because you can always take it to your closest repair shop and get your smartphone repaired, right? You can, for now. But if you asked a company like Apple, they wouldn’t agree and they would like to make it even harder.
Let’s take Apple as an example, simply because they are well known. Apple is trying really hard to control every aspect of you owning an iPhone. They sell you the iPhone and then they sell you the specialized accessories and services.
The problem arises when after you bought an iPhone, for quite a price, and it breaks, the repair costs more than a new iPhone. Or to repair your iPhone, you have to send it to a certified repair show miles away only for them to tell you they need to wait months for Apple’s approval and spare parts, all this time you are without a phone.
When you buy a product, you own it. It is your right to disassemble and reassemble it without worry about anything. You can also find a spare part on eBay and repair your phone yourself if you can. So why is Apple making it hard for you to do that?
They are making it hard with threats of fines, creating contracts where they forbid the manufacturer from ever selling that product to anyone else. So, do you want to buy that screen model that fits your iPhone from another company or directly from the manufacturer? Not possible.
And don’t get us wrong, Apple is not the only company doing this. Two very good examples are Tesla and John Deer. Both of them hide their control behind the reasoning that their software and hardware is so complicated, if it isn’t repaired by specially trained professionals (themselves) it could be dangerous.
The new cool thing on the internet is that Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple, made a video and supported the right to repair. In fact, one of the things he said is:
“We wouldn’t have had an Apple, have I not grown up in a very open technology world”
What he means is that when companies hide their progress and technology to make more money, they are crippling the technological advance that we have been experiencing for the past few decades.
The right to fully own a device, open technology, and less e-waste. All of this is what the right to repair movement is trying to fight.
How Can The Right to Repair Benefit You?
If the movement had its way, companies like Apple would have to make their products easier to repair, meaning different designs, or make the spare parts and design drawings accessible to the repair companies.
What does that mean for you? It means faster, cheaper, and more effective repairs. It means you can use the same phone for a longer time, and it means all of us will be making a lot less e-waste. The planet will thank us later.
Essentially, the right to repair is trying to put an end to companies all over the world trying to control every aspect of the end-user owning their product. They want to put the ownership back to where it belongs. To the one who bought the product.
Should You Support the Movement, and Why?
At PairMOBILE, we think supporting the movement is in your interest. As the end-user, you should have the ability to choose where you want to repair your smartphone. And if you want to repair it or buy a new one.
Currently, especially for Apple users, there is an illusion of choice. You can repair your phone but only with a specialized repair company. However, in reality, that repair company is again limited with only certain repairs. Everything else they have to send directly to Apple. Plus, spare parts cost a fortune.
And the latter is another reason to support the right to repair. If you own the smartphone and you want to replace the screen with the one that fits but isn’t approved by Apple, why not? It’s your phone.
The movement is about taking the right to repair back to the owners of the product. You have the right to continue using one product however long you want, to repair it when it’s broken, and to upgrade only when you really want that.Do you have a phone that needs repairing and you would like to continue using it? Contact us today and let us repair your smartphone.