Why do manufacturers make it easier to throw things away than repair them?

Advocacy groups want Pennsylvanians to have the "right to repair" their own property

Technology gifts were a hot commodity this past holiday season.

Computers, flat screen TV’s and smart phones topped shopping lists. But buyer beware! If, and when, those electronics break down, fixing them will be a lot harder than you may realize.

Since the growth of the world wide web, manufacturers are no longer offering repair manuals in product packaging. If you can even locate a manual for the product, it may require specialized tools or instruments that are difficult to find.

A report by PennPIRG, a public interest advocacy group, found that while many Pennsylvanians want to fix their own property, they don’t have access to spare parts or technical information.

This is no accident, according to organization associates. By controlling repairs, manufacturers can set pricing. Often, it is less expensive to replace a product than it is to repair it; an obvious benefit to the manufacturer.

Advocates want to help consumers who want to fix what they own.  Appearing on Tuesday’s Smart Talk to discuss “right to repair” legislative reforms are Emma Horst-Martz, PennPIRG associate, Tim Mentzer, owner of Mentzer Repairs in Ephrata, Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director, The Repair Association and Olivia Webb, outreach coordinator with iFixit.

Tim Mentzer (L) and Emma Horst-Martz (R)

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