Repair Cafes and community repair sessions are popping up all over the globe. Even mobile phone makers Apple, Google and Samsung are offering self-repair programs.
A 2021 Deloitte report into consumer behaviours around sustainability, found that 53% of respondents repaired or fixed an item instead of replacing it with a brand new equivalent.
The repair movement has built momentum beyond small electrical fixes. Community and industry advocacy groups have been lobbying governments to pass ‘right to repair’ legislation, requiring businesses to make repair manuals, system updates and parts available to individuals and repairers. Without these being more freely available, consumers can experience inconvenient delays.
The impact of that inconvenience for wheelchair-bound users, waiting on repairs to their source of daily mobility, can be severe. Given the impact, it was encouraging to see the ‘Consumer right to repair powered wheelchairs’ bill passed in the state of Colorado, USA. The new law will come into effect on 1 January 2023, enabling wheelchair users’ access to parts, embedded software and manuals to enable self-made repairs.
Many organisations, however, are still wary of the repair movement citing concerns over intellectual property (IP). Lesley Yates, Director of Advocacy Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association explained at a session of the Australian Repair Summit in August 2022, that IP concerns were raised during the review of Australia’s first right to repair legislation.
Established on 1 July 2022, Australia’s new Motor Vehicle Service and Repair Legislation allows independent repairers to access data needed for diagnostics and repair servicing at a fair market rate. The amendment to the Competition and Consumer law enables competition between repairers and reduces the likelihood of delays.
Set up as a scheme, the new Australian right to repair law has been written to enable adaptation for future needs. This is a promising development for all those handy people who are keen to roll up their sleeves and fix their own belongings.