California state Assembly has voted in favor of a right to repair legislation that increases consumer ability to fix devices at home. After winding its way through state legislature, the bill is headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.
Senate Bill 244 isn’t the first right to repair bill passed by a U.S. state – nor is it California’s first attempt to pass such legislation. Those efforts date as far back as 2018. But the bill, written by state senator Susan Eggman, is considered one of the more expansive takes on the idea.
The legislation requires manufacturers to, “make available, on fair and reasonable terms, to product owners, service and repair facilities, and service dealers, the means, as described, to effect the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of the product, as provided,” regardless of warranty.
Among its wide sweeping impacts is that requirement to make repair manuals available. Such documents have historically been extremely difficult to find for many. This legislation affords far easier access to that material.
It also, “require[s] a service and repair facility or service dealer that is not an authorized repair provider, as defined, of a manufacturer to provide a written notice of that fact to any customer seeking repair of an electronic or appliance product before the repair facility or service dealer repairs the product, and to disclose if it uses replacement parts that are used or from a supplier that is not the manufacturer.”
Also notable is what the bill does – and doesn’t – include. In addition to consumer electronics, the law also impacts appliance makers – meaning your dishwasher’s manual could soon be much easier to find. There are, however, some key carve outs here – namely game consoles and alarm systems.
Late last month, the bill found an unlikely ally in Apple. “Apple supports California’s Right to Repair Act so all Californians have even greater access to repairs while also protecting their safety, security, and privacy,” the company told TechCrunch at the time. “We create our products to last and, if they ever need to be repaired, Apple customers have a growing range of safe, high-quality repair options.”
It was a key vote of confidence from the world’s most profitable company, which also happens to call California home.