Right To Repair For Wheelchairs?

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2022/06/08/right-to-repair-for-wheelchairs/

Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts.
By Elaine Povich


Colorado Governor Jared Polis has signed legislation to allow wheelchair owners access to parts, software, and manuals so that they can repair their own chairs, the first state law to be enacted in the “right to repair” movement to allow people to fix their own stuff.

Manufacturers of cell phones, tablets, farm equipment, and many other products argue that their repair information and parts are proprietary and should not be shared with do-it-yourselfers. But tinkerers across the country, including people who live far from authorized dealers, such as farmers, maintain they ought to have the ability to dig into their own repairs.

Right-to-repair bills were introduced in more than half the states last year, but under pressure from tech companies and equipment manufacturers, none passed.

The Colorado law that the governor signed Thursday, June 2 is the first in the nation to deal with the right to repair. It allows wheelchair owners and independent repair shops to access parts, tools, and documentation to diagnose, maintain, and repair the devices. The law, which goes into effect January 1, 2023, applies only to wheelchairs, not phones, computers, or farm equipment.

Under the law, manufacturers could be cited for an unfair trade practice if they refuse to comply and allow access to parts and manuals.

In March, frustrated farmers filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission aimed at forcing Deere & Company to provide access to software, parts, and manuals.

President Joe Biden issued an executive order in July 2021 directing the Federal Trade Commission to make rules that will limit manufacturers’ ability to restrict independent repairs of their products. Congress also is considering a bill to extend right to repair nationwide.


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