Framework proposed by the government to give users”Right to Repair” their devices

In a move to give customers extended control over their devices, the Government Of India has planned to make it mandatory for manufacturers to furnish schematics, designs, necessary details on repairing their devices among others. Essentially, it will hand over customers the “Right To Repair” if the framework is passed.

Right To Repair Framework is in the works

Manufacturers have enjoyed monopolies on cars, smartphones, and a lot of other consumer goods when it comes to repair. In fact, a consumer is liable to loss benefits of the warranty cover on their products should they choose to get it repaired from outlets that aren’t recognized by the manufacturer i.e. unauthorized third-party service centers.

The framework proposed by the Department of Consumer Affairs held a meeting on Thursday headed by Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary to discuss the same comprehensively. It is a general consensus that manufacturers retain proprietary control over spare parts that can be used in any sorts of repairs and the government feels as if it is violating buyer’s Right To Choose as a whole.

The rationale behind this framework is that the customers who buy any of the listed products should inherently own the right to it and must have the right to repair and modify it as per their will and wish and at reasonable costs. With the current scenario in place, customers have to rely on the whims of the manufacturers when it comes to getting their devices repaired which often ends up in huge repair bills handed over by the manufacturers.

The goal of this proposed framework is to harmonize trade between the OEMs and buyers and sellers and to lowe e-waste. The meeting held on Thursday discussed the key sectors where the framework can be enacted which includes mobiles, tablets, automobile and automobile equipment, consumer durables, and farming equipments.

Going ahead, the discussions around how tech companies don’t publish manuals on repairs and prohibit anyone from repairing their devices outside the network of authorised service centers by issuing warranty cards which mentions that the warranty of a particular device will become void if repaired by a third-party service center.

The framework mentions that OEMs should provide all the information on manuals, schematics, software and knowledge on if a software license will limit transparency i the sales of the products and so on. It further mentions that the OEM should provide diagnostics and repair tools for minor repairs of these devices to third-party centres. Once the framework gets a green signal, it will open up employment opportunities for people in India under Aatmanirbhar program while promoting sustainability especially when it comes to electronics such as smartphones that may become obsolete sooner than they launch. All these points were mentioned in the statement filed by the Department of Consumer Affairs, GoI.

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