State Assembly Passes Digital Fair Repair Act

J.M. Lesinski
A shot of powerlines along Chestnut Ridge Road in Boston, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

The New York State Assembly recently passed the Digital Fair Repair Act, a law aimed at giving cell phone users and independently owned repair ships a bettered ability to repair and maintain computers, phones, and other personal electronic devices.

“The Digital Fair Repair Act puts consumers first, levels the playing field for independent repair shops, and reduces our e-waste footprint on the environment,” remarked New York State Assemblymember Patricia Fahy of the act. “By requiring digital electronics manufacturers to allow access to critical information and parts required by independent, local repair shops to complete repairs on most products, this legislation ends what is a monopoly on the repair market by corporate actors and incentivizes competition within the industry. At the same time, we’d also help to reduce the 655,000 tons of toxic e-waste typically produced in a single calendar year here in New York State. Thank you to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senator Neil Breslin, and all of the repair advocates who worked to get the Digital Fair Repair Act over the finish line this year.”

The legislation requires that digital electronics manufacturers release diagnostic and repair information, as well as selling parts, for wholesale to independent repair shops, preventing the development of a monopoly on the repair division of the industry.

“You see these corporations make these amazing hi-tech phones and yet they break in two years, and it forces you to buy another ridiculously priced one to replace it,” said Buffalo resident Leon Pietro. “Corporate greed finally getting fixed, I hope.”

Currently, a lack of competition in the industry is responsible for high repair costs that limit the use of equipment before it becomes obsolete. This in turn causes an excess of electronic waste, one of the hardest kinds of waste to manage.

“This legislation will give New Yorkers the ability to fix their devices on their own or find someone else to do it for them without having to send it in to the manufacturer,” New York State Assembly Speaker Heastie stated of the act. “Ending a monopoly on repairs will help small repair businesses, help consumers save money and reduce electronic waste.”

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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