Americans have never been more reliant on electronics in the house, with the pandemic sending many into remote working and learning mode.
Before that, Americans were already spending on average nearly $1,500 on new devices a year, everything from new laptops to washing machines and microwaves. But they could have saved money.
“The companies that manufacturer our products make them as such a way that you can't fix them without manufacturers help, which means you have to go back to the dealership or go back to the company store where they can charge you whatever they want. Or they can push you to get an upgrade instead of fixing the device you already have,” said Nathan Proctor, Right to Repair campaign director at U.S. PIRG.
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group estimates the average American family could save about $330 a year repairing instead of replacing electronics and appliances.
But that's not always possible because repair experts don't always have access to the right spare parts or manuals on the devices.
That's why Right to Repair reform is launching across the country this year, calling for five things from manufacturers that make anything with a microchip in it: the parts, tools and manuals to repair, the ability to update any firmware in the electronic or appliance, and diagnostic software tools.
It’s information that U.S. PIRG believes helped with uncertainty during the pandemic.
“While the big box stores were all shut down, there were local technicians that were bailing people out, you know, fixing their refrigerators in an emergency to keep them from having to lose all their food,” said Proctor.
There are some manufacturers already providing all the information necessary to make repairs. So, Americans can consider those products when buying new and they can contact their state legislators about passing right to repair reform. For more information, click here.