• Reed Perkins

Policy: Fair Repair

If your truck needs service, you can bring it to your local Mom-and-Pop repair shop. You can get all the work done there, rather than needing to bring it to a company dealership, because large automotive companies are required to provide manuals and parts to independent retailers. Taking it one step further - you could just buy the parts and do the repairs yourself. This makes sense: you bought the truck, so you have the right to repair that truck.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with an increasingly large number of new technologies. From farm equipment to smart phones, new devices can only be fixed at repair shops owned by the company that manufactured them. It has been a consequence of poor planning that we have abandoned the common sense policies of auto repair and given more power to big tech.

The goal of this policy is to allow product owners and independent repair businesses a fair chance to buy diagnostic tools, service information, and spare parts. If you buy a product, you should be treated like you own that product, not like you're just borrowing it from the manufacturer.

Independent retailers would better be able to compete with the Goliath retail companies. More options for the customer frequently means better quality of service and lower prices. We see the success of mom and pop auto repair stores in many of our small towns, and the goal is to give the same opportunity for other independent repair outlets.

Having the ability to fix a device, as opposed to throwing it away, generates more value for the consumer and keeps waste out of our landfills. As one state Senator put it, "If something breaks, it’s in society’s best interest to repair and replace, not trash it," [1] Getting your money's worth out of a purchase is easier if repair is a more straightforward process.

Farmer's fixing their own equipment is a practice as old as agriculture, and yet it's a freedom being taken from far too many. If a tractor breaks down, a local repair shop might be much closer than a dealership. That distance means both time and money lost at crucial times during the year. These are just some of the reasons the Minnesota Farmer's Union has made Fair Repair a legislative priority. [2]

There are valid concerns about these bills forcing companies to expose trade secrets. [3] A workable balance has been struck in other industries though, and needs to be here as well.

Fair Repair legislation with bipartisan authors has been introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate, but unfortunately it's still in committee in both chambers. [4][5] There are now 19 states considering versions of Right to Repair, it is a movement that is quickly gaining momentum as more and more people see it's necessity.

[1] http://www.citypages.com/news/minnesotas-right-to-repair-bill-would-upend-tech-giants-monopoly-on-fixing-your-stuff/412572303

[2] https://www.mfu.org/legislative-priorities-results/

[3] https://www.farm-equipment.com/blogs/6-opinions-columns/post/16924-right-to-repair-fight-hits-minnesota

[4] https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=House&f=HF1138&ssn=0&y=2019

[5] https://www.revisor.mn.gov/bills/bill.php?b=Senate&f=SF1077&ssn=0&y=2019

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Reed Perkins

I'm running for State Senate in Minnesota's 1st district because your voice deserves to be heard.

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