GREENSBORO, N.C. — When your car needs work, you can take it to the dealer, but the mechanic of your choice can buy the parts from the manufacturer and fix it too.
However, when your phone needs to be repaired, you either send it back to the maker or you have to trust a 3rd party will be able to fix it with non-manufacturer parts. Why can't the business just buy the real parts? Well, the companies are blocking it.
“Increasingly, manufacturers use all kinds of proprietary techniques to block you from getting into your phone,” said Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixIt. His business offers repair guides for a range of devices. He says it's not just phones, it's difficult to find parts for many electronics.
There's a movement to change this practice, it's called the Right to Repair. It started in Nevada and now lawmakers from 27 states, the ones in orange on the US PIRG site, have considered some kind of law that would require electronics manufacturers to provide access to manuals, spare parts, and tools.
At this point, North Carolina is not on board, but that could change.
Just this week, the Federal Trade Commission voted to take on unlawful repair restrictions.
Advocates said a right to repair would encourage consumers to fix a device instead of just buying a new one and that would cut down on waste.
Some manufacturers argue against new laws saying repair restrictions are needed to safeguard software and other intellectual property.
2 Wants To Know will stay on top of this Right to Repair issue.