back to article We'll help you get your next fix... maybe, we'll think about it, says FTC: 'Right to repair' mulled

America's trade watchdog says it will soon mull over and potentially propose rules to protect folks' right to repair their phones, tablets, and PCs, among other things, without voiding warranties or breaking the things. The FTC this week announced it was seeking research and comments from the public in advance of a workshop …

  1. Grandpa Tom

    I would also include the right to upgrade. I have a Thinkpad. I wanted to change the WiFi module for a newer version that would support AC version for better performance. What I found is the BIOS had a "whitelist" of component suppliers for that component. Installing the Intel WiFi board DISABLED BOOT.

    I was furious. I had only two choices: Modify the BIOS to accept any WiFi component or buy a second WiFi board and dispose of the new intel board.

    OK, I took the easy (less risk) path. But I still think the concept of whitelist is very wrong. If I want to install a component that had not been approved by the OEM engineering staff, that is MY risk.

    Do I expect Lenovo to test every new upgrade component with every model laptop they shipped? No. That is a huge task without any ROI for them. But they need not shoot me in the foot because I bought something for my machine that they did not sell.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      I hear ya. I've been bitten several times by the dreaded Thinkpad Error 1802 - Unauthorized Network Card.

      The good news is that the various hacked BIOSes out there work pretty well, in my experience. Unfortunately, they're utterly unsuitable for anyone other than hobbyists tinkering around; most corporate IT departments would sooner gnaw off their own fingers than install some third-party hacked BIOS.

      It's very poor behavior by the Thinkpad team - can't even blame Lenovo, since I first encountered this back in the days of IBM.

    2. Jim Mitchell

      This might be a FCC restriction rather than Lenovo. If I recall correctly, the antennae are part of the Thinkpad chassis, not on the module. Changing the module might require FCC certification of the combined unit.

      1. Updraft102 Silver badge

        The antennae are attached to the chassis in all laptops, not just Lenovos, yet only Lenovos have the whitelist.

        It used to be HP and Lenovo that were the bad guys with whitelisting, but HP reportedly gave up the practice a few years ago.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        "Changing the module might require FCC certification of the combined unit."

        You don't have to obtain FCC certification for DIY stuff. You do still have comply FCC rules about radio emissions, though.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thanks for the warning about Thinkpads

      Noted!

  2. overunder

    If it's illegal now...

    ... how do you force a company to not break the law and honor the warranty? If it's widely known it's illegal, surely you wouldn't need a lawyer to uphold a known law. Also, if it's illegal now, how are companies breaking the law so openly and internationally? Are we sure it's illegal in all aspects?

    If it is really illegal, we could be looking at the largest lawsuit in history.

  3. DerGoat

    There is some "iffyness" about this, and that is the laws around software and EULAs.

    Remember Psion, who made MAC clones by sourcing all the hardware, assembling it, then using a retail version of Mac OS and a shem program to load it? They were sued out of business.

    I used to use this as a thought experiment with my students to make them cognizant that they don't and can't own software. I would say, "suppose you bought a FORD truck and wanted to put a CHEVY motor in it. You could do that because you own the hardware. But you could never (practically) make it run because the computer software wouldn't allow that, and legally, you can't change the software."

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      An engine is an engine. If the displacement and other characteristics are compatible with the existing ECU, you could swap in the new engine if you were able to make the existing sensors work. A MAF sensor doesn't have any idea who manufactured the engine it's attached to... it just outputs a signal that correlates with the amount of air passing through the unit.

      Otherwise, you could just swap the ECU along with the engine.

      People make things like this work all the time.

      1. jake Silver badge

        There is even ...

        ... a very strong aftermarket for ECUs, just for this very purpose. Holley has a pretty good selection of parts to make just about anything work with just about anything else. See: https://documents.holley.com/efi_selection_chart62914.pdf

    2. DuncanLarge Bronze badge

      "that they don't and can't own software."

      Pointing out that you own Free Software ;)

      Obviously this also includes Open Source software that meets the same definitions.

      Your Ford analogy is a nice argument to use when segwaying into the reasons why your students should use FLOSS software ;)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      ""suppose you bought a FORD truck and wanted to put a CHEVY motor in it"

      In Cali-Fornicate-You, because of the fascist anal retentiveness of the 'smog check' laws, good luck getting your car's license renewed if you do something like that. Even a _LEGAL_ aftermarket kit [this happened to me] could be "revoked" at any time, and you might spend a few hours at a "referee" exam station to get it re-approved simply because 'smog check' techs lack the testicular fortitude to "pass" your vehicle because (even if everything else is PERFECT, which in my case it was) they see the device's serial number in the "revoked" list, and even though you bought the thing BEFORE it was "revoked", and had it installed by a nationwide exhaust/muffler business, they chicken out and "fail" you, forcing you to go to the "referee".

      Worth pointing out, the "fail" costs the smog checkers money+time because apparently they can't charge you for it. But then you waste time going to the referee (which is free for the 'exam' part, but costs you TIME).

    4. M.V. Lipvig

      Funny as I'm preparing to do just this, install a Chevy engine into a Dodge. The Chevy comouter is going with it. The resto market does this all the time as well. GM even sells engine and transmission kits, complete with wiring harnesses and computers, designed to allow you to put their drivetrain into anything you can physically bolt it into and the computer has a lot of the stupid crap turned off. It's advertised as install it, hook up a few wires to power and ground, and drive away.

  4. Updraft102 Silver badge

    US law doesn't protect people internationally. It's up to the governments in the other countries to enact laws that prohibit voiding the warranty if an item is upgraded or repaired by "unauthorized" personnel.

    Even in the US, the law in question only prevents voiding warranties because a unit was repaired or upgraded. It's not allowable for a manufacturer to void the warranty simply because it was opened up by the owner, for example. It doesn't expand the scope of the warranty to cover physical damage to the unit, whether it was inflicted while trying to repair the unit or not. If the damage caused prevents successful repair of the warranty issue, the company can require that damage to be repaired (at the device owner's expense) before warranty repairs are completed. Finally, it does not prevent manufacturers from constructing their devices in such a way that successfully opening them without causing damage is difficult.

    Apple makes good use of all of these pitfalls. If you break an Apple device trying to open it for service or upgrade, Apple can refuse to repair it under warranty unless you pay to repair the damage you caused first. They can also refuse to repair the unit under warranty if the moisture sensors they place on the boards indicate that the unit has gotten wet. They're not required to design the unit in such a way to resist moisture damage!

    There have been allegations that Apple has unlawfully refused warranty repairs on the basis that the unit was repaired by unauthorized people, and that may in fact be a violation of the Magnuson-Moss act if proven. If someone breaks a screen on an iPhone and has it repaired by an unauthorized shop (because they don't have AppleCare, so the damage is not under warranty), and then has an unrelated issue with the phone that is covered under the warranty, Apple still has to perform the repair to remain legal. If they can make the claim that the damage was a result of the unauthorized repair, they can refuse it, but if they simply refuse because the unit was repaired by someone else, that's illegal.

    Not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, all the usual disclaimers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > They can also refuse to repair the unit under warranty if the moisture sensors they place on the boards indicate that the unit has gotten wet.

      Those "gotten wet" sensors are knock to be extremely inaccurate, and Apple's way of forcing a new sale instead of repair a device. Extremely unethical.

      1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        Those "gotten wet" sensors are knock to be extremely inaccurate

        I don't own one, but were I in a situation where I wanted a repair and they said "no way, it's been wet" I'd turn around and say "legally imposed implied term of fitness for purpose - it's not been dunked or otherwise abused, so if the moisture sensor is a factor then it clearly wasn't fit for the purpose of being used as a mobile phone with all that implies (such as being kept in a pocket and subject to sweat, or used in British weather". In the UK the law is very clear on that - goods must be fit for the purpose for which they are sold and you cannot change that with any contract wording (any contract clause trying to would automatically be void).

        In practice, what (anecdotally from what I've seen online) seems to happen is that if challenged they will offer a "goodwill" repair - for the simple reason that they don't want a public showing of how they are breaking the law and tip off the less knowledgeable/belligerent customers as to how to enforce their rights.

  5. Maelstorm Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    If someone wants to repair their phone, tablet, or laptop, then by all means. The only one on that list that I will attempt is a laptop. The others are just way too small. This extends to all sorts of products.

    Cars and trucks for instance. If the manufacturer could get away with it, they would weld the hood shut. Certain high-end European made vehicles have special access controls in the computer. If someone not authorized goes poking in there, it will alert someone at the manufacturer and you will get a CALL telling you to get out of it. Things like injector timing and such which are used by modders to retune vehicles.

    Believe it or not, forklifts have an interesting problem too. The computer has a kill bit that gets set after something like 10,000 hours of use. After that, you have to replace the computer. But the computer is no longer available, so you have to buy a new forklift for US $1500-$4000 or more.

    1. jake Silver badge

      What makes & models of forlklifts?

      I'm in the market for a new one ... although I'll probably purchase a used one and do a ground-up rebuild. They aren't exactly difficult to bring back from the dead.

  6. DougS Silver badge

    Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

    If a device is under warranty, the manufacturer will repair it. Once it is out of warranty and you are responsible for repair, then you no longer have any care about voiding the warranty.

    I get the "ease of repair" argument, but is e.g. Apple using weird screws really a big deal? If they created a special screw that was patented, and sued anyone who sold drivers for it, then you'd have a much better argument. But those little screwdrivers are available everywhere, you can buy an assortment to work with any model of Apple device for a few dollars on eBay.

    The screws are just the tip of the iceberg, you will need to buy an iFixit kit to open just about ANY modern smartphone, unless you already have stuff like spudgers and suction cups laying around. Do people really think they should be put together so you don't need any of that stuff, and you can open them up with the tools most people have laying around? If you need to buy ANYTHING you don't already have, then what difference does it make if you need one thing or five things, if they only cost $10?

    And think carefully if you REALLY want companies to stop using glue - if they use screws that's just going to make it even MORE difficult to take things apart when you have 200 more screws, which won't all be the same size/type so as you take things apart you'll have multiple screw types to keep track of. Unless you want the phone to be bigger/heavier, many of those screws will need to be even smaller the ones they have now...don't sneeze at the wrong time!

    I get that the weird screws Apple uses are annoying, but at least they have taken steps to make some things better, like the tape to help remove the battery instead of cutting through gobs of glue like on a Samsung - that's one of the reasons why iPhones have had a much better repairability rating than Samsung Galaxys for years despite the goofy pentalobe screws.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      To answer the question, it's because the "void" thing scares consumers into believing that they can't fix it, even if they have a mind to do so. It's right up there with other bullshit, like claiming "no user serviceable parts inside".

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      " using weird screws really a big deal?"

      game consoles are infamous for tri-blade screws (Nintendo) and 'torx' (XBox). I have a torx set that I purchased for 'cheap' but I still had to buy a special screwdriver to open up an XBox controller. Repairing the button silicone thingy is pretty easy, and cheap [bought a bag of them for $5 on E-bay, still have several left].

      So yeah, I've run into this a few times. Sometimes you'll see 3 normal screws and one Torx screw holding the cover on. It's obvious what they intend.

      (and don't EVEN get me started on repairing/replacing an XBox's DVD ROM drive...)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

        Torx screws can hardly be considered "weird". You run into those all the time, well outside the consumer electronics world. Now if it is super small - last year I ran into some #0 Torx screws and needed to buy a driver for them - then you won't have tools on hand, but anything #6 or higher anyone who doesn't have tools for them doesn't have what I'd consider a basic set of tools for non-techies.

        Now tri blade I don't have a driver for, so I'd need a quick visit to eBay if I wanted to open a Nintendo I guess...

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

          Yes, Torx used to be considered weird, but you've been able buy Torx bits at your local hardware store for a long time now.

          1. mjflory

            Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

            I can understand designing with Torx screws -- it's a lot easier to keep a screwdriver centered on them and apply torque, hence the name. But I didn't expect to find the bottom of my Toshiba Portege held on with 13 Philips screws and, hidden under a glued-on button in the center, a "security" Torx screw. Those are the ones with a tiny pillar in the middle of the head that prevents a standard Torx driver from even being inserted! (I suppose it would have cost them something to license pentalobe screws from Apple.) As usual, my iFixit screwdriver-bit set came to the rescue.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

              What I hate is that people still use standard flat blade screws even today. Given a choice between mandating "right to repair" and outlawing those screws, I'd choose outlawing those screws in a heartbeat! Anytime I do something and have to pull out a flat blade screwdriver, especially if it is stubborn screw that requires a lot of force, I end up swearing up a storm that would make Marines blush.

              1. M.V. Lipvig

                Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

                If it's being stubborn, try tightening it just a bit, then crank hard to loosen.. This normally works for me.

                You can also put a vice grip on the screwdriver handle, or a socket if the handle is 6 sided. This allows you to split applying pressure and centering the driver from turning it. As long as the device itself is secured against movement, you can line the driver on the screw and apply downward pressure with one hand, then turn it with the other. This usually works if the tighten then loosen doesn't.

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

                  I shouldn't have to use an extra tool to help work the screwdriver because the screw is of a clearly stupid design, which flat blade slotted screws quite obviously are. That's like trying to tell people workarounds to make a square wheel roll. I'm sure you can make it work, but it was obviously not the best solution and never should have been used again once someone figured out "round" was better.

    3. cd

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      I've swapped batteries in my MacBook Pro several times without a special driver. A flat blade of the correct size held firmly will fit and work nicely. Two batteries came with special correct drivers that did not work as well as the flat blade.

    4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      Given that I'm used to "a maze of twisty, twisty passages all alike," I draw maps as I go in repairing anything attaching said screws as I go. Makes rebuilding a lot easier. For reference, despite no training on IBM machines, especially ThinkPads, IBM gave me full access to all their docs, parts, and even a PAM so I could do repairs the right way. Much easier than Apple's certifications. My brother went through Apple's process.

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      Since I stopped caring about warranties long ago, voiding a warranty is never something that I think twice about.

    6. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      There's another issue - where the warranty might only cover certain parts (or there might be different warranty lengths for different parts) which is common in things like printers with lots of moving parts. As an example, some years ago we had a few "not very cheap" label printers for producing the product labels to go on the stuff we made. The barcode requirements are quite strict - and if substandard, some large retailers will simply return all the stock to you. We even had to have different printers for different barcode sizes - it's to do with the elements*/mm in the print head.

      If you've ever looked at a barcode label and seen white lines across it (normally in the same direction as the lines in the barcode run) then this is normally a sign that there's a broken element* in the printhead that made it. When you've a printhead something like 100mm wide, with 300 elements*/mm, then it only takes a tiny bit of grit to cut into one or more elements* and you need to replace the printhead. Even if you keep the place very clean (and this is in a factory), just the wear of the ribbon passing over the printhead will eventually start taking out elements.

      We went through a bit of "discussion" with the printer supplier until they pointed out something they'd never mentioned when we were buying the printers - the printhead was explicitly excluded from the warranty (and no I don't recall whether anyone read the very small print). To avoid the man hours costs, we got one of our own people trained in how to replace and align the printheads - something that happened every 2 or 3 months IIRC.

      So in this case, you've got a situation where there's a non-warranty part replacement required - and you'd not want the manufacturer disclaiming the warranty on the rest of the machine because you replaced the consumable part yourself. Note that the consumable part wasn't a "click out and click in" replacement - it needed partial dismantling of the machine and then careful alignment afterwards.

      * For those that don't know how such things work ... These were thermal transfer printers, where a sandwich of backing carrier (waxed paper), label, and wax coated plastic ribbon passes under a printhead and driven by a rubber roller that both drives the labels along and applies pressure to keep the labels, ribbon, and printhead in contact with each other. The printhead contains lots of small resistors, which when powered will heat up enough to melt the wax so it transfers from the plastic ribbon to the surface of the label.

      For barcode applications, dimensional tolerances are quite tight - so you always try and print the lines of the barcode along the direction of travel of the labels. That way, the lines (especially the "cleanness" of the edges) is defined by the geometry of the elements and not by how fast or slow they turn on and off. If you print them the other way, the lines are not as crisp as the elements take time to heat up and cool off - and this can vary between elements as well which makes the lines slightly jaggy as well as fuzzy.

      It may not be immediately obvious to those accustomed to (eg) modern laser printers which will scale a font to any size and print nice smooth text, but you can't do that with barcodes. Each element in the printhead must be either 100% inside or 100% outside of the line you want to print - if it falls partway then you end up with a line that is either too wide (element turned on) or too narrow (element turned off). This means that for each size of barcode, you must have a printer with one of a set number of elements/mm in it's printhead. IIRC we had a 208element/mm head machine for printing "80%" barcodes (that's 80% of the nominal size laid out in the specs) - with a 300element/mm you could only do a 75% barcode, and some retailers refused to accept that size even though their tills would happily scan them. "The spec says 80% minimum, so we're applying it because we can" mentality from certain buyers - we even had a case where a retailer had accepted 75% barcodes for years, then the buyer changed and refused to accept anything smaller than 80%.

      Yes, being able to talk about EAN symbologies is a quick way to get labelled a geek at social gatherings !

    7. confused and dazed

      Re: Why is voiding of warranty a problem?

      Having repaired a few iPhones recently, I'm starting to think they're not that bad. Once you get the screen off, it's all nicely done, and relatively easy to replace stuff, and you're right the extending tapes are a good innovation and preferable to glue.

      What I object to though is the design for obsolescence of ultra-books. Want to extend the life-time of a laptop ? - upgrade the DRAM or the SSD. - hard to do when soldered down. I'm not convinced that this is down to space limitations.

  7. LDS Silver badge

    If someone burns his house or is electrolocuted after his own repairs, what about the warranty?

    There are a lot of issue in letting people without the proper knowledge and skills attempting to repair (or modify) devices for which specific need and regulations applies. I think any reputable shop with skilled (and maybe certified) technicians should be allowed to repair devices without voiding the warranty, as long as the repair follows the specification. If something is modified, I think the warranty should be voided.

    But what about people who could open a device without a clue about what they are doing? We have batteries that can catch fire if damaged or shortened. There are radio equipment that has to work within required parameters. Sure, there are people who are skilled technicians with the right equipment, and know what to do. Other who believe they are, and are not - moreover often without the right tools - and they are the most dangerous.

    What about someone opening his phone, reassembling it somehow, then asking it to be replaced "under warranty", because it no longer works?

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: If someone burns his house or is electrolocuted after his own repairs, what about the warranty?

      I expect that the manufacturers won't be held legally responsible if they've taken measures to STOP you from opening up the equipment. And a simple warning "high voltage inside" would be enough, I think, if they use normal screws (etc.) to hold the cover in place. Older TVs used to have these a LOT, and solid state TVs went to "no user serviceable parts inside" for the same kinds of reasons (liability).

      For a time, people got used to the idea of popping the back off of a TV if it stopped working, then get an easter basket and fill it with tubes, take it to the drug store, and test 'em (along with fuses). Most of the time this would fix it. Then again, if they didn't put the RF and IF tubes back EXACTLY as they were before, it could cause other problems, but those older sets were kinda 'sloppy' so maybe it would just not behave *quite* as well afterwards... [RF and IF tubes rarely fail anyway, might as well not bother testing them, but not a lot of people would know that].

      Anyway, we've had high voltage everywhere since electricity in the home. Common sense SHOULD include that basic knowledge.

      1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

        Re: If someone burns his house or is electrolocuted after his own repairs, what about the warranty?

        Fixing the tube based radio and television was exactly how my mother started teaching me electronic/electrical engineering from age 6.

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: If someone burns his house or is electrolocuted after his own repairs, what about the warranty?

        Pedant alert ...

        Anyway, we've had high voltage everywhere since electricity in the home

        Actually, apart from inside things like valve TVs and radios, there isn't high voltage in the home - and I don't think there ever has been. The international standard sets "high voltage" as over 1000V for AC - and the nominal 110/220/230/240 (depending on where you are) comes in as "low voltage". The things most people refer to as low voltage (eg the 12V wall wart for the router) is actually "extra low voltage" (<50V AC and some other figure I can't recall for DC).

        It may seem pedantic, but it can be rather important to get terminology right when talking about 'lectricery.

  8. Dave 15 Silver badge

    Worse

    Worse yet these restrictive practices are also used on cars, vans, lorries. Increasingly units will only 'talks' to components they 'know abouts' so changing a broken fuel pump yourself is impossible on some vehicles already. The garage can but as we know only for a few years from new and at a cost designed to make you buy a new vehicle

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Worse

      I had to replace a fuel pump a few years ago. The engine is fuel injected and so it was a bit expensive (but under $300 as I recall). Towards end of life, it "worked" but sometimes wouldn't start spinning, leaving my car unable to start at inconvenient times (but after sitting for a bit, it would start working again). No 'check engine' light, either. Fuel pumps need replacing after 100k miles (or 10 years) or so. Probably should schedule it if you have a car that's "paid for". That, and the mass air flow sensor.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Worse

        Why in the world should a mass airflow sensor be replaced at 100k? I've currently go several vehicles and one of them is almost 30 years old - still running with the original mas airflow sensor - all I do is clean it every couple years (have a spray can of mass air flow cleaner) and put it back in...no issues...have even replaced (or augmented as it's still in place) the original fuel pump with an after market in-line pump - works well and I didn't have to drop the tank to replace the main pump...

        now my NEW car has a @#*$^% service indicator that I cannot reset - in fact the ONLY place (short of spending close to $1k on special software and tools) that can reset it is the dealer...and when I had a faulty gas cap sensor, the $^**&*((^$# software was set so that it would stop the engine after 1000km - AND THE DEALER COULDN'T RESET IT UNTIL THE SENSOR WAS REPLACED...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    There is nothing wrong, IMO, with repairability and tinkerability, but I DO believe that doing so beyond a certain -- limited -- point SHOULD be allowed to void the warranty. To do otherwise would require a technician from company A to know everything there is to know about company X, Y, and Z's products, if their parts can be shoehorned in any manner possible into company A's device. Because company A's warranty SAYS that they will make their product WORK if you bring it in for repair under warranty! I mean, that is the basic CONCEPT behind a warranty -- that they will make it work again!

    I knew of a fellow when I was in high school who discovered that he could JU-U-U-U-UST fit a small-block Buick V-6 into the engine compartment of a Volkswagen Beetle (radiator mounted in the luggage compartment up front with vents cut into the floorpan and a fan tied into the electrical system for cooling). (His hobby was blowing away Corvettes at stop lights. But I digress...) Should Volkswagen have been responsible for all repairs on that Beetle if it was still under warranty? Hell -- I don't think that they even used the same TOOL sets, so how could they have been expected to service the vehicle? And yet claiming an absolute "right to repair" while keeping the warranty intact would require that.

    There has to be a point where repairing/tinkering/modding DOES void the warranty -- the trick will be in determining where that point lies.

    1. M.V. Lipvig

      It does. They can void the warranty if they cam prove that your parts caused damage, and they are not responsible for repairing your changes. In the example you cited, Volkswagen would not be reaponsible for repairing your friend's Buick engine. If he wanted them to fix it, they could charge him to install a new Volkswagen engine, and charge to repair anything he did. If he went in for a damaged axle shaft, they could void the warranty because the VW axle shaft is designed for a 50hp engine, not a larger 200hp engine. But, they would not be able to void the warranty on a stereo failure or a door handle breaking, because those failures would have nothing to do with the Buick engine unless they found that the engine twisted the body causing the handle to break, or if the stereo were originally a 6V system (highly unlikely) and he'd installed a step down transformer that failed.

      The lines are already in place and have been for years. Manufacturers have just been trying to move the goalposts back.

  10. steviebuk Silver badge

    This needs to pass

    Apple have been fucking people over for to long. Just look at the recent news footage in the US. Where they took a broken Mac to the Genius bar who claimed it would cost over $1000 to repair. Took it to Louis who has a store in New York and a YouTube channel, but isn't an authorised repair shop. He said the perm fix would be over $100. Clearly showing how much Apple are ripping off their customers.

    Not only that. But these stores are order screens from the same factory as Apple. But Apple are telling customs to seize them on import. Arseholes.

    This is much like how Steve Jobs tried to make Jailbreaking illegal. Luckily he lost in court. What a dick.

  11. Randy Hudson

    The FTC will never get this right. Hopefully California will, to the rest of our benefits.

    1. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
      FAIL

      The way I read the situation is that the idea is to put in place regulations that preempt any state laws granting a right to repair. Just as there is a movement to do the same with California's version of the GDPR should they fail to get it defanged by the state's Legislature, Senate, and Governor.

  12. N2 Silver badge

    Good stuff - hopefully

    Meanwhile, I hope the pack of arse holes at Apple with their non removable batteries, discs and other stuff are put against a wall and shot, for the benefit of sanity, humanity and of course the environment with which they would like to fill with their irrepairable stuff.

  13. JohnFen Silver badge

    I've already solved this

    If I can't fix it myself, I don't buy it in the first place. Fool me once...

  14. gnarlymarley

    ownership and who is liable for issues

    I understand this article is about "responsibility", but it also begs the question: 'once a product is "purchased", who owns it?' I miss the old days where I could do whatever I want after the warranty expires, but if I do anything before, the warranty is void. That void warranty was done by a void sticker that if broken was easy to tell if the warranty was void. With newer hardware, that warranty void sticker seems to be gone.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: ownership and who is liable for issues

      " 'once a product is "purchased", who owns it?'"

      If I bought it, then I do. That's not even in question. Even when it comes to licensed software, I own that particular copy. I just don't own the intellectual property rights to it.

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