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FTC Formally Adopts Right To Repair Platform

Thursday July 22, 2021. 12:02 AM , from Slashdot/Apple
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: The Federal Trade Commission unanimously voted Wednesday to pursue policies that will make it easier for people to repair their own things. In a vote of 5-0 during a Commission Meeting, the FTC agreed to adopt a policy paper outlining how it planned to enforce rules that keep manufacturers from restricting aftermarket repair. It plans to enforce existing warranty law, coordinate with state and local lawmakers to ensure open markets, and investigate the current repair monopolies for violations of antitrust law. The move comes just weeks after President Joe Biden signed an executive order directing the commission to create right-to-repair rules.

The FTC policy paper outlined a five-pronged approach to the problem. First, it's asking for comments and complaints from the public about bad experiences it's had with repair issues and violated warranty. It's long been illegal under federal law for companies to void warranties based on aftermarket repairs. The problem is that those laws often aren't enforced, though the FTC did take some action on manufacturers who put warranty-void-if-removed stickers on their devices after Motherboard reported on the problem several years ago. 'While current law does not provide for civil penalties or redress, the Commission will consider filing suit against violators of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act to seek appropriate injunctive relief,' the policy paper said.

Next, the FTC said it will look over current repair restrictions for violations of existing antitrust and anti-competition laws. 'Finally, the Commission will bring an interdisciplinary approach to this issue, using resources and expertise from throughout the agency to combat unlawful repair restrictions,' the policy paper said. 'The FTC will also closely coordinate with state law enforcement and policymakers to ensure compliance and to update existing law and regulation to advance the goal of open repair markets.' 'Manufacturers, be warned: It's time to clean up your act and let people fix their stuff,' Nathan Proctor, U.S. PIRG Right to Repair Senior Campaign Director, told Motherboard in an email. 'With unanimous support from commissioners, there's a new sheriff in town. The FTC is ready to act to stop many of the schemes used to undermine repair, while support is increasing for new legislation to further crack down.'

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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