Apple unexpectedly wrote to California state senator Susan Talamantes Eggman this week to support SB 244, a “right to repair” bill in Sacramento’s State Capitol.
Apple has softened its position on right to repair legislation, including last year’s Self Service Repair program. Many saw the offering as a preemptive measure against state and federal legislation, providing users with rental tools to repair iPhones and Macs at home.
SB 244 covers consumer electronics (phones, laptops, etc.) and appliances (microwaves, washing machines), with game consoles and alarm systems exempt. Those seem to be for piracy and security. The Right to Repair Act, which took effect in Minnesota this May, is similar (including the proposed name).
Apple supports the letter because it allows consumers to repair their devices safely without risking privacy or data issues.
Apple tells that it supports California’s Right to Repair Act to give all Californians better access to repairs while protecting their safety, security, and privacy. “We build our products to last, and Apple customers have a growing range of safe, high-quality repair options.”
This kind of manufacturer support is rare, especially from Apple. It is the only major manufacturer to support the bill this way. TechNet and other industry consortiums make these statements.
Eggman and co-author Senator Nancy Skinner will benefit greatly. Apple is a $3 trillion company based in California since the mid-1970s.
In the release, Sen. Eggman says Apple’s support for California’s Right to Repair Act shows the power of the movement that has been building for years and the ability for industries to partner with us to make good policy for Californians. I appreciate their work on this issue and for leading their peers in supporting repair access.”
State legislators from 14 states have introduced similar bills. New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Digital Fair Repair Act last year, which “requires original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to make diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and equipment available to independent repair providers and consumers if such parts and repair information are also available to OEM authorized repair providers and servicers.”
As we noted, the bill gave manufacturers many concessions: “The bulk of those exceptions were added at the eleventh hour with the approval of Governor Kathy Hochul who said in a statement that they’re intended to lessen the risk of security issues and physical harm while making repairs.”
It appears that industry compromise is needed to complete these projects.
California’s Right to Repair Act builds on the 1970 Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. The new law requires manufacturers to “make available, on fair and reasonable terms, to product owners, service and repair facilities, and service dealers, the means, as described, to effect the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of the product, as provided,” regardless of warranty.
It would also require a service and repair facility or service dealer that is not an authorized repair provider, as defined, of a manufacturer to notify any customer seeking repair of an electronic or appliance product in writing before repairing the product and disclosing if it uses used or non-manufacturer replacement parts.
The Senate approved the bill 38-0 in May. It awaits assembly appropriation suspense file approval before a full assembly vote.