The Right to Repair: What Does It Mean For Your Purchases?

Young people may scoff at the cliché "they don't make things like they used to," but there's actually a lot of truth to this claim. Planned obsolescence is a huge concern among many of today's consumers, with advocates complaining that companies purposefully build products to fail.
When modern products inevitably malfunction, they can be surprisingly difficult — and expensive — to repair. The main problem? Manufacturers demand that users only get products repaired by exclusive providers. Such programs increase the cost of repair. In some cases, this leads to expensive replacements that might not actually be warranted.
The right to repair movement aims to change all this. Below, we explain what the phrase "right to repair" means and why this effort might impact how you purchase — and maintain — products going forward.

What Is the Right to Repair?

The phrase "right to repair" refers to a basic ability that today's consumers often lack: the opportunity to repair items at home or with help from a technician of choice.
From a legal perspective, consumers are technically allowed to seek repairs whenever and wherever they want. The reality, however, isn't so simple. Few people have the information or even the parts needed to actually repair their devices or appliances.
According to the advocacy group known as The Repair Association, consumers should be able to:
  • Unlock or modify devices so they can install software as they see fit
  • Easily obtain the specific parts needed to repair malfunctioning products
  • Receive access to diagnostic tools that streamline troubleshooting
These abilities do not need to feel permanently out of reach. Instead, a blend of targeted legislation and adjusted consumer expectations could make all the difference.

How Do Manufacturers Make Repairs Difficult?

Whether intentional or not, various manufacturing policies make it difficult for consumers to seek repairs without paying exorbitant prices. Problematic examples include:
  • Intentionally neglecting to publish guides or other documents that would help customers complete repairs on their own
  • Using special glues or screws that the average customer cannot access
  • Placing "warranty void" stickers that discourage customers from removing screws
Manufacturers claim that these efforts limit security issues, but skeptics believe that, in reality, denying customers the information they need is far more damaging to their personal security.
Ultimately, the present setup is most advantageous to manufacturers and retailers. They can keep customers in their ecosystem long after they've purchased items — and charge higher than necessary rates for fixes consumers should be able to complete on their own.
Once customers get understandably frustrated, they purchase replacements sooner than they might if repairs were more accessible. This, again, provides major profits to the businesses that engage in these unethical practices.

Right to Repair in the Future

While the state of repair accessibility is, at present, problematic, that may soon change. The right to repair movement is rapidly growing, with support from politicians and the general public. Already, our expectations are changing. Many people who were previously okay with the status quo are beginning to wonder why it's so difficult to get items repaired and what they can do about it.
Efforts to enact right to repair legislation are ongoing at the state and federal levels. Many contracts that protect against Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) are already on the books. Additionally, President Biden has expressed support for the right to repair movement.

Upsie Advocates for the Right to Repair

As an extended warranty provider, Upsie promotes repairs as the go-to option for addressing malfunctioning devices or appliances. While Upsie realizes that replacements may sometimes be necessary, they envision a world in which users can feel confident that maintenance and repairs will help them enjoy their favorite products for years to come.
Upsie extended warranties help users make the most of repair opportunities. Instead of automatically encouraging consumers to spend their hard-earned money on new products, they make every effort to promote convenient repair options.
Devices protected by an Upsie warranty have access to local repair shops, as well as the option of shipped repairs. Best of all, Upsie’s customers can make unlimited claims up to the purchase price of the device (excluding smartphone subscription plans).
Upsie also advocates for affordable protection. By cutting out the middleman, Upsie charges less than its competitors, ensuring that customers get the most out of every warranty.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.