Under ‘right to repair’, you are guaranteed original spares for devices

Unlike car buyers, consumers of mobiles, laptops etc. never had the option of getting original spares. So in case the product conks, they had to either go for sub-standard spares or replace the product altogether. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ decision changes it all

Generally, manufacturers retain proprietary control over spare parts, including on their design, and the government feels that this kind of monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s “right to choose”. | Representative image

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has ruled that gadget manufacturers now have to provide mandatory repair services for products ranging from cell phones to laptops.

A statement issued by the Ministry on Thursday (Jut 14) upheld consumers’ “right to repair”. The decision could have a far-reaching impact on consumers of phones and laptops. Unlike car buyers, these consumers never had the option of getting original spares for their old gadgets. So in case the product conks, they had to either go for sub-standard spares or replace the product altogether. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ decision changes it all.

The government-appointed committee, chaired by Additional Secretary Nidhi Khare, will put up a “right to repair” framework for farming equipment, mobile phones/ tablets, consumer durables and automobiles/automobile equipment among others.

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Generally, manufacturers retain proprietary control over spare parts, including on their design, and the government feels that this kind of monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s “right to choose”.

Besides, warranty cards of several products mention that getting them repaired from an outfit not recognised by the makers would lead to customers losing their warranty benefit.

The rationale behind the ‘Right to Repair’ is that when customers buy a product, it is inherent that they must own it completely “for which the consumers should be able to repair and modify the product with ease and at reasonable cost, without being captive to the whims of manufacturers for repairs,” according to the statement.

The objective of the proposed framework will be to empower consumers, harmonise trade between the original equipment manufacturers and the third-party buyers and sellers, and reduction in e-waste.

On July 13, the committee held its first meeting where key sectors for ‘Right to Repair’ were identified. Sectors, including farming equipment, mobile phones/ tablets, consumer durables and automobiles/automobile equipment were listed out.

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