We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets

It seems like plain common sense that if an item you use breaks, you try to repair it. But with an increasing amount of electronics and items, we seek to replace it entirely, before considering if it can be repaired. The idea of planned obsolescence has been in use for decades, making appliances and devices profitable in the long-term, even with razor thin margins.

The items which are most susceptible to this are most likely our computers, which are increasingly becoming completely sealed and glued in units, and our phones, for the same reason. Logically, the only component which physically wears out over time on these devices are the fans (if the laptop even has one), or the battery. Replacement batteries are plentiful, and they usually provide another 2 years of life, but the intentional difficulty of replacing them, or the allure of the latest trends is often enough to convince people to sign up to another 2 year contract, thus renewing the wasteful cycle. This is even before any mention of hazardous landfill or rare-earth minerals.

Consider repairing it, not just for yourself, but for everybody else.

“Samsung wants people to go to “qualified” technicians. In a statement, a spokesman said, “The technology found in TVs today is more sophisticated than ever before and often requires a level of expertise and technical proficiency to repair most of these high-quality products.”

I’ve heard this argument echoed elsewhere in the electronics industry. But the view is not unanimous: Dell, for one, makes repair guides and parts widely available on its site. So do H-P and Lenovo. Are we to believe that repairing a TV is so much more complicated than poking at a laptop?”

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