SACRAMENTO, CA — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, as part of a bipartisan, multistate coalition, sent a letter urging Congress to better protect consumers and the marketplace by passing expansive “Right-to-Repair” legislation. The legislation under consideration would help create and protect a competitive marketplace for repairing vehicles, agricultural equipment, and consumer electronics by preventing manufacturers from limiting independent repair. These markets are increasingly becoming more technologically advanced and made with embedded electronics and parts controlled by the manufacturer. When manufacturers create products as a closed system that cannot be repaired by independent providers, this prevents competition and forces consumers back to the manufacturer to seek repair or replacement of the item.
“A free market cannot exist when consumers don’t have the choice to repair or replace an item that they purchase,” said Attorney General Bonta. “When manufacturers force consumers to rely on the original manufacturer to fix or replace their products, the companies undermine competition, drive up prices, and create waste. This Right-to-Repair legislation will empower every American — from farmers to car owners — to repair their property on their own terms. I am grateful for President Biden’s efforts to address this important issue, and now ask Congress to do their part to protect consumers, the environment, and small businesses.”
Over the last few decades, manufacturers have made it increasingly difficult for consumers to repair their products. For example, manufacturers often use proprietary screws or materials for repair, decline to publish repair documentation and guides, glue parts together, or limit the availability of parts and tools.
Today’s letter calls on Congress to consider three pieces of legislation:
- The Fair Repair Act, which would lower farmers’ repair costs at a time when farm input and food prices are increasing, by requiring manufacturers to make certain documents and tools necessary to repair products available to independent repair providers and device owners;
- The Saving Money on Auto Repair Transportation Act (SMART Act), which would lower the costs for consumers to repair their vehicles by allowing repair shops to use alternative or off-brand parts to repair vehicles; and
- The Right to Equitable and Professional Auto Industry Repair Act (REPAIR Act), which prevents manufacturers from mandating specific brands, tools, or equipment be used on a vehicle, and would provide a standardized access platform to give vehicle owners and repair shops data and diagnostics of an owner’s vehicle.
In today’s letter, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.
As many families feel the burden of inflation and higher prices, Attorney General Bonta continues to advocate for consumers by advancing important legislation and fighting to defend consumers from anticompetitive practices. On February 14, Attorney General Bonta announced his sponsorship of SB 478, which would prohibit in California the practice of hiding mandatory fees, also known as junk fees. Attorney General Bonta moves forward in his efforts to protect price competition, with a lawsuit against Amazon filed in September 2022 alleging the company engaged in unlawful, anticompetitive contracting practices that thwart the ability of online retailers to compete, contributing to Amazon’s dominance in the online retail marketplace and harming merchants and consumers through inflated fees and higher prices. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta also filed a lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue challenging an anticompetitive joint venture between the companies known as the Northeast Alliance. The same year, Attorney General Bona filed a lawsuit against Google for monopolizing the smartphone application market in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.
A copy of the letter is available here.