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Sunday, May 19, 2024

FTC Testifies in Support of Colorado’s Right-to-Repair Law

The Federal Trade Commission today appeared before the Colorado General Assembly’s Committee on Business Affairs and Labor in support of proposed legislation that would expand the state’s right-to-repair laws to digital electronic equipment and would address a particular type of repair restriction known as parts pairing.

Manufacturers engage in parts pairing when they require owners and independent repair providers to obtain the manufacturer’s approval before replacement parts can be fully integrated into a device.

Appearing on behalf of the FTC, Christine M. Todaro, an attorney in the Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, outlined the FTC’s work to address repair restrictions, which can drive up the cost to fix items or drive consumers to purchase new items, according to the FTC’s testimony. It also detailed key takeaways from the agency’s May 2021 “Nixing the Fix” report to Congress on repair restrictions. Some of the main types of repair restrictions analyzed in the report include manufacturers’ efforts to impede owners’ and independent repair providers’ access to spare parts, diagnostic tools, and repair instructions—the types of repair restrictions addressed by the Colorado General Assembly’s proposed legislation, HB 24-1121.

Manufacturers often defend repair restrictions—including parts pairing—by claiming that the restrictions are needed to protect consumers and repair workers and prevent cybersecurity risks. The FTC’s Nixing the Fix report debunked such claims, however, finding that there is scant evidence  to support manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions

As stated in its testimony, the FTC supports HB 24-1121 because it protects Colorado consumers’ access to cost-effective repairs and advances the numerous benefits that flow from increased competition in repair markets.

The Commission voted 3-0 to approve the testimony before the Colorado General Assembly Committee.

Agency officials have expressed support for other proposed state legislation tackling the issue of parts pairing. Earlier this week, Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and Hannah Garden-Monheit, Director of the FTC’s Office of Policy and Planning, issued a letter supporting proposed right-to-repair legislation in Oregon. 

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/02/ftc-testifies-support-colorados-right-repair-law

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