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California's Right to Repair Act ensures plentiful access to phone spare parts

Manufacturers will have to ensure availability of spare parts, tools, manuals, and more for seven years!
By

Published onSeptember 14, 2023

Samsung Galaxy Self Repair Program 1
Samsung
TL;DR
  • California has moved closer to enacting its Right to Repair Act as the Senate Bill was recently voted favorably in the State Assembly.
  • Under this Bill, manufacturers will have to provide repair materials like tools, parts, and documentation for seven years for products priced at $100 and above.
  • While limited in scope to California, the Bill will profoundly affect Big Tech in Silicon Valley.

Flagship smartphones these days are well above the $500 price mark, and many even happily breach the $1,000 price point. When you buy a phone this expensive, you naturally expect the manufacturer to support the phone for a long period. Most OEMs have been working on extending their software support timelines, but that does no good if the hardware fails in the meantime. California wants to change that, as the state has passed the important Right to Repair Act that will ensure you get a lot of after-sale support for your electronics.

The California State Assembly has voted in favor of Senate Bill 244, the Right to Repair Act (as spotted by TheVerge). The Bill needs a final concurrence vote in the Senate and by the Governor before it becomes enforceable in the state in July 2024.

Under this Bill, manufacturers will be required to provide access to service and repair facilities, including service literature and functional parts, for longer than they currently do. Products costing $50-$99.99 will need to be supported in this manner for three years, while those priced at $100 and above will need to be supported for seven years.

This service commitment period is irrespective of the product’s warranty period. It will cover electronics and appliances made and sold after July 1, 2021.

The Bill also requires unauthorized repair providers to provide written notice of their lack of authorization to customers and disclose whether the replacement parts they use are from a supplier outside the manufacturer.

With this Bill, California becomes the third state in the US, behind Minnesota and New York, to work on right-to-repair legislation. Further, most Big Tech companies are based in California, profoundly affecting them and their products.

It will be a cause for celebration if this Bill becomes law in its current format without any last-minute setbacks. Hopefully, the rest of the US and the world can take some learnings from these right-to-repair legislations.