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Repairing a phone or TV in New York has become easier and cheaper: a new useful law has come into force


Alina Prikhodko

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New York State recently enacted the Fair Digital Repair Act, making repairing cell phones, tablets and other electronics easier and more affordable. Attorney General Letitia James urges New Yorkers to report businesses that overcharge for electronics repairs.

The law makes it easier to repair electronics at independent shops or at home by requiring manufacturers doing business in New York to make certain documents, tools and parts widely available. Limited access to documents and parts previously meant fewer repair opportunities, leading to higher prices and longer wait times. Businesses that do not comply with the new rules face civil penalties.

“Phones and computers are the livelihood of many New Yorkers, and repairing them is now more affordable and convenient than ever before,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “This new law gives consumers the freedom to repair their devices themselves and allows independent repair shops to compete by offering lower prices. My office will hold accountable any manufacturer that does not comply with this new law.”

The New York Digital Fair Repair Act, under General Business Law 399-nn, gives New York consumers more options for repairing their digital devices. The REPAIR Act took effect on December 28, 2023 and requires manufacturers to provide independent repair shops with information about diagnosing and repairing digital electronic parts and equipment.

“The newly passed Right to Repair Act, the first of its kind in the United States, will provide consumers with greater choice and access to repair of electronic devices, while also significantly reducing electronic waste,” said State Senator Neil D. Breslin, the bill's Senate sponsor. . “This new law is not only good for the environment, but also for small businesses.”

What does the Repair Act require?

The REPAIR Act requires original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of digital electronic equipment to “make diagnostic and repair information available to independent repairers and consumers if such parts and repair information are also available to authorized OEM repairers.”

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Manufacturers must provide access to information to both owners of covered products and independent repairers. Access to documents and many tools must be provided on “fair and reasonable terms.” In the case of documents, this means free use. For parts and some tools - at the same price as for authorized companies.

What products are covered by the law?

The Repair Act applies to “digital electronic equipment,” which is defined as any product costing more than $10 that relies on digital electronics to function. This includes toys, phones, computers/printers, televisions, home entertainment systems, cameras, tools and other products that use or rely on digital electronics.

The REPAIR Act applies only to products manufactured or sold in New York after July 1, 2023, and does not require manufacturers to share trade secrets. The new law also excludes certain items, including automobiles, appliances, medical devices, off-road equipment, farm equipment, yard and garden equipment, construction equipment, power tools and public relations equipment.

Violation of the law and responsibility

Under the Repair Act, enforcement of the new law falls to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), which has the authority to investigate potential violations and take appropriate action, including seeking damages and civil penalties.

Consumers and repair shops can contact the manufacturer for documents, tools and parts needed for repairs. Anyone who has reason to believe that the Repair Act is being violated may make a complaint at the OAG Consumer Fraud Bureau.

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