What the heck is Fair Repair and why should we care?

-Lori Benton, Marketing & Business Development, iFixOmaha

Fair Repair, Right To Repair, is legislation that right now eight states are trying to pass. Fair Repair, in a nutshell, requests that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) allow for equal and fair access to schematics, parts, and tools to anyone wishing to repair a device purchased from said OEM because right now they do not.

If you, I, or the small business down the street want to repair a device, a piece of equipment, an appliance, the HVAC (the list goes on) - anything we bought from an OEM - we are barred from learning how to fix it, we may not buy the part, and quite possibly we cannot access a special tool needed for the repair.  You can’t repair it, nor may your trusted, local repair shop.

Eight states lobbying for Fair Repair legislation this year: Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Wyoming, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, and Massachusetts
 

Moreover, many times the OEM “stated and required” repair procedure is either expensive, time consuming, or inconvenient for BOTH the consumer and the repair dealer.  Unauthorized repair shops lose customers because they have no access to schematics, parts, and tools.  Authorized repair shops lose money because they are not fairly reimbursed for their time, effort, and the mountains of OEM generated paperwork. And lastly, always last, consumers are frustrated and weary trying to comply by jumping through proper procedure repair hoops. We all lose.

We at iFixOmaha worry if this Nebraska Fair Repair bill doesn’t pass, we will likely not be around in a few years.  We and many other small repair shops will disappear.  We are involved in the Fair Repair lobby in Nebraska because we care about consumer rights to choose, our ability to serve customers, and the overall health and well being of the repair industry.

Repair means freedom and jobs

On behalf of iFixOmaha, I began reaching out to state senators this past summer. I shared with them my new knowledge of Fair Repair and how it affects every citizen in Nebraska. I shared that repair means freedom, repair means jobs, repair is sustainable, and is noble. Each time I shared, I became emboldened. Each time I talked with a Greater Omaha repair provider whose business was suffering due to the lack of Fair Repair, their story became my story.  

“My handyman of a number of years couldn’t repair my new dishwasher telling me he was not allowed access to the schematics to diagnose my issue nor could he purchase the part I may need.” - Your neighbor

“My industry has never allowed us dealers to repair our devices. Now that there are better, non-professional, devices out there my sales are declining.  If only we could repair the devices we sell, we might be able to recoup sales losses.” - Device store owner

“For the best customer service we are relegated to sourcing pre-used parts.  Our customers deserve a timely repair yet we’re not allowed to buy parts. It is bizarre that we have to “work around” big business to serve their customers.” - Unauthorized repair professional

“As an authorized repair dealer I have had to hire more employees to just keep up with the paperwork. And because of rules and regs I typically cannot repair in one day.  This is stupid.” - Authorized repair professional

The lack of Fair Repair is stupid. I am now very involved with this effort to regain consumers right to choose.  I have communicated with those poorly affected and have shared their stories with many senators. When the 2017 session opened I was in Lincoln talking with senators to insure they had the facts straight. 

We have the right to choose

Passing LB67 will allow us to learn to fix our own stuff OR, and I think more importantly, give us the fair and reasonable right to choose who fixes it.  The monopoly can be ended by real American competition. Small businesses will grow. Repair means freedom, repair means jobs, repair is sustainable, and repair is noble. #RightToRepair

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The Nebraska Judiciary Committee will hear LB67 on March 9, 2017 at 1:30pm.  Everyone is welcome at room 1113 in the capitol.  If you wish to convey your opinion to the Judiciary Committee before the 9th, please locate their contact information here: http://news.legislature.ne.gov/jud/ and inform them of your thoughts.