Right to Repair India Empowering Consumers: Know Your Rights
Did you know that India is the second-largest smartphone market in the world with 659 million or 65.9 crores active smartphone users in 2023?
Not only this, a report made by LocalCircles on 34,000 respondents in 2022 revealed that 43% of respondents have 3 or more devices that have been purchased under 5 years or even less than that & they all need repairing.
On top of it, 1 in 2 households said that they wanted to but could not take their devices to brands for the purpose of repairing them because of the extremely high prices the brands were charging, even for minor repairs.
Even if the device was in warranty period, they were charging labour costs and other such charges to fix them.
But not anymore, because the committee set up by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA) in 2022 to overcome this problem has finally launched the “Right to Repair” initiative & portal which is now live.
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Now that the problem is addressed. Let’s talk about what this “Right to Repair” actually is and how does it benefit us as consumers?
What is the Right to Repair?
Right to Repair is an initiative which empowers us consumers by forcing or rather, making the manufacturers share the self-repair manuals & other repair-related information on the portal so that you can fix your phone yourself if it’s a minor issue or can visit a third party repair.
Doing this a few months back would void the warranty of your smartphones but now anymore.
Also, this makes the access to different diagnostic & repair tools for the consumers & most importantly the third-party repair services fairly easier than before.
In short, Right to Repair enables customers to get their electronic devices repaired from third-party repair services at an affordable cost without voiding the device’s warranty extending the life of their devices.
This means that you can get even affordable repair service from ERIP, which has been providing the most budget-friendly repairing services to its customers in Bangalore for the past year.
Why Right to Repair?
The need for Right to Repair was of significant importance because of a few big but important reasons which are as follows:
- Reducing E-waste– The FY22 saw India generating approximately 16 lakh tonnes of e-waste, out of which, only 5 lakh tonnes of waste was recycled & dismantled according to the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.
Enabling customers to get their phones repaired & extending their lives will help in reducing the e-waste problem to a certain extent.
2. Empowering Customers– Right to Repair takes away the power from manufacturers to keep the information related to repairing devices secret.
It will unlock the option of third-party repair services for the customers, who now have no fear of voiding their devices’ warranty by the manufacturers and brands.
This will result in more devices being repaired and less devices being bought to replace the damaged ones.
Sectors Covered Under Right to Repair
The most important thing about all these initiatives and schemes or whatever you like to call it, is awareness.
People who are supposed to benefit from these schemes are ignorant of their basics.
It is important to know what devices or things, I should say, are covered under the Right to Repair initiative and these are as follows:
- Mobile/Electronic Displays/data storage components – Mobile phones, laptops, tablets, batteries, hardware & software, wireless headphones & earbuds, universal charging ports & printers.
As it covers just the electronic displays, the back side of your device is not included in it.
2. Appliances – AC, TV, fridge, washing machine, air purifier, microwave, water purifier, dishwasher, electric kettle, geyser, universal remote, induction cook tops, mixer & grinders, electric chimneys.
3. Automobile Equipments – Passenger vehicles, 2 wheelers, electric vehicles, 3 wheelers & cars.
4. Farming Equipment – Tractor parts, harvesters & water pump motor.
Which States in India Have Right to Repair?
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Benefits of Right to Repair
The benefits and the scope of Right to Repair is enormous due to the fact that India has around 65.9 crore smartphone users.
If you add users with other devices like laptops, tablets etc & vehicles including cars, bikes etc this number rises significantly.
So, the magnitude at which Right to Repair India makes an impact is astronommical.
Apart from reducing e-waste & helping customers in getting their phones fixed, Right to Repair also helps in:
- Fostering Transparency and collaboration: The right to repair framework seeks to create a consumer-centric environment that encourages transparency and collaboration among producers, retailers, and consumers.
- Increase Competition- By taking away power from manufacturers’ and giving it to the small third-party repair service providers, the government increases the competition in the industry meaning no one or few big companies can abuse their power & charge extremely high prices for reoairs.
Challenges for Right to Repair
Although Right to Repair empowers customers & all that good stuff, it is just like a baby who has just passed his infancy stage & that is why it faces some challenges before it can be fully implemented.
- Lack of Awareness– The problem starts with the victim. Consumers themselves don’t know about their rights in the first place. Spreading awareness about the Right to Repair initiative is going to take a long time especially when there are so many users or consumers of smartphones & all other electronics concerned.
- Objection from Manufacturers– We have talked about all the benefits the scheme provides to us by weakening the manufacturers but we can’t ignore the fact that they aren’t just going to agree & get on with the government’s decision making it difficult to make the Right to Repair a proper legislation or a law.
- No Legislation Yet– As good an initiative it is, we need to remember that Right to Repair is not yet passed or made into a legislation, meaning that we don’t know what its terms & conditions are, what are rights as consumers are and so on.
The Right to Repair committee was well aware of the fact that the manufacturers are the essential part of the repair industry and will be in the Right to Repair movement as well.
Hence it has started onboarding manufacturers as well, among which Samsung, Boat, Honda, Hero, Apple & Oppo are some of the biggest brands.
Although the Right to Repair India is a game-changer move for Indian smartphone users and all the third-party repair services, it remains to be seen if it gets passed and enacted as a law.
That’s because, as the law of nature says, one’s benefit can be another’s loss. Which is true in this scenario as well where we, the consumers & the third-party repair services are happy, the manufacturers’ see their power & business gets reduced significantly which may see them protesting & raising their own points of view.
In any case, the coming months will be interesting to see & we will keep you updated about every single news related to it.
The Right to Repair movement is a consumer rights initiative that give the power to consumers to repair their phone on their own or by third party repairs without the warranty of their device being voided by the manufacturers.
Electronic devices like phones, tablets, laptops & smartwatches & their display & storage parts, home appliances, automobile equipments & farming equipment.
Yes, the Right to Repair movement in India can make it easier for third-party repair shops to operate if it passes, as it requires manufacturers to provide repair manuals and spare parts to consumers and third-party repair shops.
The Right to Repair movement in India can have a significant impact on electronic waste, as it promotes repair and reuse of electronic devices.
This will result in consumers getting their phones repaired rather than buying new ones cwhich will result in reduced pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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