Newstead Discusses "Right to Repair" in LexisNexis Q&A
In an interview with LexisNexis, Shook Partner Alison Newstead has explained a trend towards consumers asserting a "right to repair" the products they have purchased. Some manufacturers reduce the legal remedies available to users who have attempted to repair an electronic device or other product themselves rather than paying a company to repair it or replacing it with a new purchase, Newstead says.
"Making it easier for consumers to access the internal workings of their products and giving guidance as to how to carry out repairs could mean that products are used longer. This could reduce the amount of electrical waste and decrease the environmental impact of producing new products," Newstead explains. "On the other hand, there is an argument that new products are designed to be more energy efficient and replacing products more frequently could be equally beneficial to the environment. A major concern of manufacturers is safety. If they lose control over the repair market, products could inadvertently be rendered unsafe, leading to an increased risk of damage and injury."
Newstead compares proposals in Europe and the United States that aim to help consumers use their purchased products for longer; in Europe, the proposals apply to only a few product categories but would take effect across the EU, she notes, while U.S. proposals have been introduced in a limited number of states but have focused on a larger swath of product types.