A couple bought an $800 Nikon P1000 for bird photography. And when it broke – the company could do nothing to fix it. Even though the camera was bought at Walmart, Nikon considers it to be “gray market gear” and won’t repair it, leaving the couple with a “$800 paperweight.”
After President Biden’s recent executive order instructing the FTC to institute rules regarding Right to Repair, and attempting to end the practice of expensive proprietary repairs that have become rife in all industries around the world, the FTC has now posted a statement prioritising more aggressive enforcement of unlawful repair restrictions.
Essentially, they’re saying that companies can no longer hold your damaged equipment hostage for a $1,500 proprietary repair when the actual cause of the problem can be solved with a $12 part. It should also mean less electronic waste and faster repairs, as you won’t be limited to only using the manufacturer as your only source of repair.
Well, this is an interesting one. Right-to-repair has been a hot topic for a few years now. It’s a way to combat things like planned obsolescence and expensive proprietary repairs for products you own. Printers, for example, are well known to allegedly have finite lifespans programmed into them. But some products, like those from Apple, are simply impossible to repair yourself if they break.
It’s interesting then, for Steve Wozniak – yup, the Apple co-founder – to not only speak in support of right-to-repair but explicitly stating that Apple wouldn’t have existed in the first place if not for the ability to repair the “open” electronics they owned at the time of its creation.