NFU praises FTC decision on ‘right to repair’
The National Farmers Union this week praised the Federal Trade Commission’s 5-0 vote to adopt a policy statement to ramp up law enforcement against repair restrictions that prevent small businesses, workers, consumers, and government entities from fixing their own products.
“Farmers are among those most affected by such restrictions; currently, farm equipment manufacturers refuse to sell software repair tools to farmers or independent mechanics,” NFU noted in a newsletter. “This all but forces farmers to take their broken machinery to a licensed dealership, which can be expensive and inconvenient.”
NFU noted it “has long supported farmers’’right to repair; the organization is encouraged that the administration is finally taking action to eliminate unnecessary and unfair repair restrictions that will give farmers greater freedom to fix their equipment as they choose.”
NFU also released a link to an article it had published earlier explaining the problem.
The FTC said, “The policy statement adopted today is aimed at manufacturers’ practices that make it extremely difficult for purchasers to repair their products or shop around for other service providers to do it for them.”
“By enforcing against restrictions that violate antitrust or consumer protection laws, the commission is taking important steps to restore the right to repair.
“These types of restrictions can significantly raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close off business opportunity for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs, and undermine resiliency,” FTC Chair Lina Khan said during an open meeting.
“The FTC has a range of tools it can use to root out unlawful repair restrictions, and today’s policy statement would commit us to move forward on this issue with new vigor.”
In the policy statement, the FTC said it would target repair restrictions that violate antitrust laws enforced by the FTC or the FTC Act’s prohibitions on unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
The commission also urged the public to submit complaints of violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits, among other things, tying a consumer’s product warranty to the use of a specific service provider or product, unless the FTC has issued a waiver.
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