The Biden administration has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to write up a new draft to address Right to Repair rules. This draft is expected to address laws around repairing mobile phones, game consoles and various other devices. This might spell the end of Apple‘s anti-competitive repair restrictions.
Apple’s repair program is notoriously tedious and difficult when it comes to independent repairs. Even though they offer an Independent Repair Provider Program, it seems extremely limited and financially unsound for small repair shops.
The rationale that many companies have gone with when it comes to ‘Right to Repair’ is that restricting non-approved repairs is good for safety. If you make a mistake during a battery replacement, they do not want their product to be tied up in any possible hazards.
The problem comes when manufacturers are only allowed to sell certain parts to Apple. This makes it virtually impossible for a small shop to do any work on Apple products, making their expensive repairs the only option for some customers.
This monopoly is inherently anti-competitive. In their report, the FTC specifically called Apple out for the repair program and locking certain components to make it impossible to repair.
The FTC said that they would support law enforcement actions to fight for Right to Repair legislation.
To address unlawful repair restrictions, the FTC will pursue appropriate law enforcement and regulatory options, as well as consumer education, consistent with our statutory authority. The Commission also stands ready to work with legislators, either at the state or federal level, in order to ensure that consumers have choices when they need to repair products that they purchase and own.