Cars, bikes, electronics, even homes—for many people, it’s unthinkable that you
wouldn’t be allowed to fix what’s wrong with something you own. But that’s exactly what a lot of companies want; stopping people from fixing their own stuff and charging for repairs is another
way to make money. And it’s
not only tech companies: we’re looking at your green and yellow parts, John
One argument by many firms is that anyone opening up their digitally locked
devices—such as phones, but also vehicles—could violate their proprietary
rights. Companies also claim home repair hurts their business, even as Apple
to lose money by offering repair services. Ridiculous end-user license
agreements (EULAs) no one reads on new products put the end-user on the defense
immediately if they try to fix something, voiding warrantees for the future.
All of which is why the Right to Repair movement has a lot
of momentum. Perhaps more than ever in the age of COVID-19—ask anyone with a broken
The CEO of WaveForm is a board member of The Repair Association and decided to find out
exactly where the public stands when it comes to this eroded right.
What he found was both heartening and disheartening, as seen in the chart at
First the disheartening:
More than half the 1,066 people surveyed had never even heard of the Right to
Repair concept. Another 16 percent had heard of it but didn’t know much,
leaving only 28.7 percent to be somewhat-to-very-familiar with the concept.
Now for the heartening! WaveForm then informed the respondents
exactly what Right to Repair is, and about 74.5 percent of those surveyed said they’d support legislation
for it. Most of the rest were neutral; 1.9 percent said they
wouldn’t support it.
Now to clarify things politically: They asked respondents what party they belong too
and found the vast majority of each party either agree or strongly agree that
Right to Repair should be supported. Democrats think it the most; independents
and Republicans were about 8 percent behind them overall, but still want to changing
their own cell phone batteries.
How about household income? Would people with more money not
care about the right to repair compared to homes with less money to run to a Genius
Bar? Again, the support for RtR is way up there, with 72 or more agreeing or
strongly agreeing it’s
needed, whether their household makes less than $50,000 a year or up to
$100,000. (That middle class of homes making between $50k and $100k annually
support it the most at 75.1 percent.)
also interesting to note the breakdown by mobile operating system. Apple users
are used to not getting to do repairs, and that’s reflected in a lower agreement
level than you see with Android users. But it’s only 4.4 percent less, and both sides are
pretty on board with having the option to fix their own dropped, cracked phone
And naturally, the extent to which people support
Right to Repair based on their familiarity with the concept is strongest with
those who are “very
familiar.” No shock there. Because you do get very familiar with it
when you can’t fix your own devices, and it’s infuriating.
For more, read the full
report over at WaveForm. Read more about Right to Repair over at iFixit, the premier
site that takes apart all the new gadgets so we know what’s inside, and offers
repair guides on everything possible. Then go tell your state representative you want the
right to repair—there are bills regarding it launched in the majority of
the states, but they’ll only pass if you put the pressure on. Because those
companies that hate RtR have all the money.