Monday, 10 May 2021 19:50

FTC Examines Anti-Competitive Repair Restrictions, Recommends Ways to Expand Consumers’ Options

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In a new report to Congress, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identified numerous types of repair restrictions, such as using adhesives that make parts difficult to replace, limiting the availability of spare parts and making diagnostic software unavailable.

The report’s findings, including that “there is scant evidence to support manufacturers’ justifications for repair restrictions,” are primarily based on responses to the FTC’s requests for public comments and empirical research issued in connection with its July 2019 workshop, “Nixing the Fix: A Workshop on Repair Restrictions.”  


The report explores means of expanding consumers’ repair options and how the FTC could assist in that expansion, consistent with its statutory authority. In addition, the FTC notes it stands ready to work with lawmakers, either at the state or federal level, to ensure consumers have choices when they need to repair products that they purchase and own.


Congress directed the FTC to issue the report, noting it “is aware of the FTC’s ongoing review of how manufacturers---in particular mobile phone and car manufacturers---may limit repairs by consumers and repair shops, and how those limitations may increase costs, limit choice and impact consumers’ rights under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.”


Congress specifically directed the FTC to include recommendations on how to best address these problems.


The FTC voted 4-0 to authorize staff to send the report to Congress.


The FTC works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.


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Source: FTC

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