Apple, Verizon, the Consumer Technology Association and other firms are lobbying against an act that would require them to release repair guides.
Apple is one of a number of companies lobbying to kill a new New York bill that would force companies to release information that would make it easier for customers and third-party shops to repair consumer goods.
The lobbying efforts were first uncovered by Motherboard. Other companies involved in the effort to thwart the proposed » Fair Repair Act » include Johnson & Johnson, the Consumer Technology Association, Lexmark, Toyota, Verizon and others.
The bill seeks to « amend the general business law, in relation to the sale of digital electronic equipment diagnostic and repair information, » and specifically calls on manufacturers « who operate and sell in New York State to make available diagnostic and repair information for digital electronic parts and machines. »
It would allow third parties, and even consumers, to easily access the information required to repair devices on their own, instead of having to pay the original manufacturer for a repair.
Apple has a reason to try to do so. The company sells its AppleCare+ insurance to customers, who can then visit an Apple Store to have a device repaired by professional staff. If you crack your iPhone screen and have it repaired elsewhere — perhaps because it’s cheaper to do so — you void your warranty.
There’s a reason why Apple and other companies are opposed to third-party repair, however.
Third party companies may not replace parts with those of the same quality offered by the manufacturer. A shop on the corner in New York City, for example, may use a very cheap replacement screen to fix a cracked iPhone, instead of one of Apple’s more premium screens. By keeping repairs in-house and under warranty, Apple and other companies can guarantee a level of quality assurance.
Motherboard said that the Digital Right to Repair Coalition is fighting on behalf of the bill and has spent $5,042 lobbying in its favor, while a conglomerate of firms has lobbied against it, spending $366,634 to date. Apple alone is paying a $9,000 a month retainer for a lobbying firm named Roffe Group, Motherboard said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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