New York’s “right-to-repair” law requiring electronics manufacturers to give consumers and independent shops access to the same parts, tools and manuals used by officially authorized repair shops now in effect.
Advocates estimate it’ll save the average New York household about $330 per year.
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the bill into law in December 2022, and its requirements went into effect exactly a year later, on Thursday. Assemblymember Patricia Fahy said she introduced the legislation last year to address monopolies in the electronic repair market.
State officials say it’s the first law of its kind in the United States.
The law gave manufacturers a year to follow new requirements. But Johnny Kim, a manager at New York Computer Help in SoHo, said he’s already felt its effects — his shop has already been able to source more parts directly from electronic companies for a few months now.
“Parts have been getting a little bit cheaper and easier to find,” Kim said.
What does the bill mean for me as a consumer?
You can now get electronic devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, drones and TVs fixed by any repair shop in the state that is willing to take on the job, using original parts and instructions from the manufacturer — rather than having to go to the manufacturer or to specifically authorized shops. You can also order original parts for repair yourself.
That can mean lower costs, or not having to use third-party hardware that might lack the same quality or compatibility as equipment from the original manufacturer.
“For many years [repair shops have] been trying to cobble together all of those elements, but big manufacturers have clamped down on access to tools and parts,” Chuck Bell, a program director at Consumer Reports, said on WNYC’s “Morning Edition.” “They’ve made it really hard for consumers to do even simple repairs such as replacing a cracked screen, a battery or a hard drive.”
Bell also added that bringing a device to an independent repair shop would no longer void the device’s manufacturer warranty.
He estimates that the average household spends about $1,700 each year on digital electronics and said that the right-to-repair bill will help New Yorkers save $330 per household per year — a total of $2.4 billion statewide.
Does it apply to all products?
The law has a list of exemptions for the type of devices to which it applies.
Independent repair shops won’t be able to receive parts, tools and instructions from manufacturers of:
- Medical equipment
- Home alarm systems, like Ring
- Power tools
- Farm equipment
- General medical equipment
Some manufacturers of these devices have lobbied against including their goods in right-to-repair legislation, citing safety concerns.
Do I have to buy a product in New York for the law to apply?
The law specifies that it covers any electronic devices, excluding the listed exemptions, sold in New York on or after July 1, 2023. Any repair shop in the state will offer services to consumers seeking to fix their devices with parts and tools directly from the manufacturer.
What if I think a company is violating the law?
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office can fine companies that break the rules. Consumers who feel they were affected by violations can file complaints with her office.
What if I don’t live in New York?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only New York, California and Minnesota now have some version of a right-to-repair law. Colorado has an agricultural equipment law that requires agricultural equipment manufacturers to provide parts to individuals to make their own repairs.
In New Jersey, legislators have introduced a “Fair Repair Act” with similar rules as New York’s law, as well as a right-to-repair bill for farm equipment. Both bills are still pending.