Moriarty Introduces Legislation to Prohibit Unfair Consumer Electronics Repair Policies
Anyone who has owned and broken a smart phone or tablet understands the frustration of being forced to have the device repaired at a certified location. More often than not, consumers have to devote the better part of their day or evening to make an appointment and travel a fair distance to their regional repair location to have their device repaired. Some companies have fought hard to make it this way, and don’t seem to want any competition in the repair field.
Assemblyman Moriarty recently introduced the Fair Repair Act (A4934) that will require companies to provide consumers with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts as well as guides and technical plans to repair mobile phones, tablets, and home appliances with computer chips. The bill will make it mandatory for manufacturers to provide repair documentation at no cost or in the same manner or timeframe in which it is provided to authorized service providers. Parts will be available for purchase under fair and reasonable terms.
The Assemblyman has long held the belief that when a consumer purchases an electronic device, he or she owns it. Corporations have contested this belief, taking the stance that the technology (hardware and software alike) is essentially on loan to the consumer. Some companies have even gone so far as to render a phone inoperable if its software could detect that the phone was not repaired at one of their locations or without their special hardware.
If passed, this legislation will give consumers more choices when repairing their electronic devices. It will also help breathe new life into the fledgling mom and pop electronic repair industry, making these shops and workers more competitive with current authorized service providers. The legislation will also allow tech savvy electronics owners to repair the devices that they rightfully own.
A company who violates the provisions of the act would be subject to penalties outlined in the Consumer Fraud Act, with monetary fines starting at $10,000 for the first offense. The legislation was referred to the Consumer Affairs Committee where Assemblyman Moriarty is the Chair. He is hopeful to have a hearing on the bill in the fall.