Maple Grove Business Pushes Right-to-Repair Bill
It’s a Minnesota House bill that some say pits one business against another. Independent businesses want to expand their ability to make repairs. Large manufacturers, meanwhile, say not sot fast.
The House right-to-repair bill has support from local repair shop owners.
“We found consumers are being intimidated, bullied, and overcharged for repairs from manufacturers,” said Brad Swenson, owner of Device Pitstop in Maple Grove.
Right now repair shops like Device Pitstop are able to fix your devices. However, it’s harder with newer products since manufactures like Apple refuse to give independent repair shops parts or manuals to make the job easier, said Swenson.
“What I feel is happening is that manufactures are trying to control everything,” said Rep. Peter Fischer, DFL-Maplewood, the chief author of the legislation. “They are not just controlling the point of producing their products, but the repairs and everything else.”
Fischer says he notices the problem outside of the tech industry too. He sees this as harmful not only to customers, but to small businesses as well.
“I am finding there are only one or two places in the entire metropolitan area to be able to address the problem,” said Fischer. “I felt two things are happening. Number one, it’s getting harder for these small businesses to survive. Number two, it’s starting to move into the situation where as it gets harder to make these repairs. It could cause us to start throwing away a lot more stuff then we did in the past.”
Manufacturers Oppose Bill
Electronic manufacturers who oppose the bill say it “stifles innovations by putting hard-earned intellectual property in the hands of hundreds if not thousands of new entities.” The bill would force manufacturing companies to provide repair shops with resources they need to fix damaged products.
“It’s saying to the manufacturers besides your authorized dealers, you have to share your manuals and your parts needed with the independent people out there,” said Fischer.
The right-to-repair bill would also apply to other household items like dishwashers and snowblowers. Authors of the bill are hopeful that it will pass through the House. But it has run into opposition in the Senate from lawmakers who say the “bill needs a lot of work.”