The legislative and legal battle over who can fix modern gadgets pits manufacturing Goliaths against a plucky army of Davids, including a loose regiment of local independent repair shops.
Shop owners have been mobilizing their customers and calling on their fellow shop owners to help overcome manufacturer opposition and enact reforms -- and it’s working. Repair voices including Louis Rossman (repair shop owner and YouTube host), as well as Repair.org, were critical to the recent victory in New York, where the legislature passed the nation’s first Right to Repair bill for electronics.
Right to Repair legislation, under debate in statehouses across the country, would require manufacturers to provide access to parts and service information necessary to repair products. According to the National Repair Shop Survey by U.S. PIRG and iFixit, 45% of the 235 surveyed repair shops worry they might have to close their doors if Right to Repair does not become law.
While a critical issue for small businesses, progress has been difficult in the face of some of the largest companies in the world, including Apple, Google and John Deere, who have lobbied extensively to quash these bills. The local mom and pop businesses that fix our electronics have been critical voices educating the media and lawmakers about why it's so hard to fix our stuff. Here are two other examples of repair shops that are leveraging their deep relationships with their local communities to push for change.