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Sacramento - Today, CALPIRG Education Fund released a new report, “What are Californians Trying to Fix?” which analyzes data from the popular repair instruction website, iFixit.com. The report looks at what items people in California are trying to fix, and why that can be harder than it should be. Among the report’s top findings were:
Almost 8 million unique users in California visited iFixit.com last year.
The most popular products people used iFixit to address were cell phones, laptops, automobiles, and gaming consoles.
Of the 10 most popular manufacturers, 7 don’t provide access to spare parts or technical service information like a schematic.
“It’s clear that Californians just want to fix their stuff. After all, repair cuts waste and saves consumers money,” noted Emily Rusch, executive director of CALPIRG. “But too many of the things we are trying to fix have unnecessary barriers because most of the top manufacturers won’t provide access to spare parts, repair software or service diagrams.”
The report highlights the growing call for “Right to Repair” reforms, which would require manufacturers to make parts and service information available. Manufacturers have been receiving increased crisitism for their role in opposing reforms that empower repair. Our report highlights how repair restrictions are very commonly encountered by consumers.
With four out of the eight top consumer electronic companies listed in the report holding headquarters in California, the state has special reason to ensure its residents have the ability to fix their devices.
“iFixit.com has many guides for problems that manufacturers have told people are unfixable, and that they need to replace the device—for example, you can easily change the battery in an iPhone yourself,” explained iFixit’s co-founder, Kyle Wiens. “And while we can provide spare parts for that repair, sometimes, we just can’t get the parts: Only the manufacturer has access to what we need to fix the device.”
The most important repair guides on iFixit among California residents was cell phones, and Apple was the most popular manufacturer. Among personal electronics, battery repair was the most common guide type.
“Throwing out a $1,000 smartphone because it needs a $40 battery is absurd,” added Emily Rusch. “No wonder people are starting to try and fix things themselves instead. But manufacturers need to help us by providing better access to parts and information. And if they won’t, state leaders should step up.”
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