Right to Repair Legislation Seeks to Help Smaller Shops, Customers

March 26, 2017 05:07 PM

Minnesota lawmakers are trying to make it easier and cheaper for consumers to get their phones or other electronic devices fixed when they break.

A bill currently in the state Senate would require manufacturers to make information about spare parts and special tools available to everyone.


Many companies only allow authorized dealers to order parts straight from the manufacturer, according to Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, who is sponsoring the legislation.

"I personally think that if you buy a device you should have the right to repair the device," Osmek said in an interview earlier this month.

Osmek introduced the legislation to help small businesses in Minnesota. He said forcing the manufacturers shouldn't be looked at as punishing them.

"We're not talking about having them disclose software," Osmek said. "But you should also be able to take it down the street to a 'mom and pop' shop if you want to."

The digital "right to repair" bill has small, independent repair shops excited about the future of fixing.

Max Paletz is the general manager at the Device Pit Stop in Maple Grove. He said every year it gets harder to repair electronics that consumers bring into the store.

"When a new phone comes out or a new product comes out, everybody kind of flocks to the Internet and learns how to fix it," Paletz said. "This bill would help make that an easier process where we could get actual diagnostics, parts and guides from the manufacturer."

Paletz explained that if a small shop like Device Pit Stop has access to repair manuals and can order parts right from the manufacturer, it would save consumers money when they have phones or tablets repaired.


Kirsten Swanson

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