At LifeLine Your Tech Team, we pay close attention to new developments in the smart phone industry. During recent years, one of the most interesting trends has related to the provision of mobile repair services. Many manufacturers reportedly desire to prevent consumers and third party repair companies from fixing their proprietary brands. They seek to restrict the provision of these services to technicians they train and license. Currently, some 18 state legislatures have begun taking steps to consider proposed laws supporting a right to repair damaged or malfunctioning technology.(1)

Restricting Warranties

Why do some manufacturers prefer to require customers to obtain repair services exclusively from authorized sources? Companies frequently maintain their equipment demands the attention of specially trained technicians. For instance, in the HVAC industry, some manufacturers will seek to void warranties on equipment such as furnaces or air conditioners if customers fail to request service through licensed contractors.(2) Failing to comply with these requirements sometimes proves expensive from a financial standpoint.

Yet strong arguments exist that hand held mobile devices (including cell phones, “smart” phones, and tablets) don’t necessarily require the services of technicians with specific brand training in order to safeguard the public from health and safety threats. In some cases, replacing a battery or a screen will indeed extend the useful lifespan of the product.(1) Since in the past, some companies recommended customers pay money to upgrade rather than repair inoperative cell phones, many consumers maintain skepticism about the need for brand-specific certifications as a prerequisite for the provision of high tech repair services.

Device Repair as a Revenue Stream?

Indeed, some online sources contend technology firms sometimes maintain a strong commercial incentive to direct consumers away from competing independent repair services. If firms maintain a monopoly over the capability to fix the devices they manufacture, they may use this power to augment their revenue streams by essentially requiring periodic upgrades when aging models cannot keep pace with new software innovations. For example, iPhone Repair services have become just one of many focal points for these discussions.(1)

Some consumer advocates have responded by proposing legislation to safeguard the right of consumers to obtain affordable repairs through third parties. How do you feel about this issue? Do you foresee right to repair legislation as a new trend in the mobile technology industry today? Let us hear your views!

 

Helpful Resources

  1. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190103/11204741328/apple-finally-admits-obvious-users-repairing-their-own-devices-harms-revenues.shtml
  2. https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/10-surprising-ways-you-can-void-a-warranty-51314#carpet-warranty