President Joe Biden will direct the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
to draft new rules aimed at stopping manufacturers from limiting consumers’ ability to repair products at independent shops or on their own, a person familiar with the plan said.
While the agency will ultimately decide the size and scope of the order, the presidential right-to-repair directive is expected to mention mobile phone manufacturers and Department of Defense contractors as possible areas for regulation. Tech companies including Apple Inc.
and Microsoft Corp.
have imposed limits
on who can repair broken consumer electronics like game consoles and mobile phones, which consumer advocates say increases repair costs.
The order is also expected to benefit farmers, who face expensive repair costs from tractor manufacturers who use proprietary repair tools, software, and diagnostics to prevent third-parties from working on the equipment, according to the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the action ahead of its official announcement.
The executive order, which is expected to be released in the coming days, is broadly designed to drive “greater competition in the economy, in service of lower prices for American families and higher wages for American workers,” White House economic adviser Brian Deese said Friday.
The Biden Administration effort comes as the European Commission has also announced plans for new right-to-repair rules that would govern smart phones, tablets, and laptops. Environmental activists have said that restrictions on repairs encourage waste by making consumers more likely to throw out damaged items because of the high cost of repair.