FTC Report Finds Manufacturers’ Repair Restrictions Unwarranted

In more positive repair news from the USA, The Federal Trade Commission has released a report outlining many of the barriers to repair we’re familiar with:

The report also notes that many of these restrictions disproportionately impact communities of colour and lower-income communities, especially during the pandemic.

It’s really interesting to see the FTC drawing the connection between repair and the digital divide, as this is something we’ve been thinking about during lockdown.

While it does include some caveats around manufacturers’ intellectual property, the report also says that:

The Commission will consider reinvigorated regulatory and law enforcement options, as well as consumer education. In addition […], the Commission stands ready to work with legislators, either at the state or federal level, to ensure that consumers and independent repair shops have appropriate access to replacement parts, instructions, and diagnostic software.

This seems promising and may lend weight to the various Right to Repair bills working their way through State legislatures

iFixit has a comprehensive summary:


Sounds very positive. Does the FTC have a lot of clout in the US?

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I believe the FTC has some powers to shape and enforce federal legislation, but I’m not entirely sure how it all works.

Perhaps @Peter_Mui or @Wayne_Seltzer know more?


It’s certainly a step in the right direction. The FTC can start to enforce existing laws more aggressively but the increasing inclusion of software in durable goods means that a new legislation with regards to repair is probably needed too.


The FTC was a force for bad stuff under Trump though wasn’t it? So this news is all the more exciting for that : )