Buying Repair-Friendly Products:
#1 Don't buy products you cannot fix.
We know -- its hard to find new product reviews that talk about repair, but there are tell-tale signs of trouble ahead if you do a bit of research before buying
- Check to see if service parts are available online. Lack of a parts option is a huge red flag of trouble ahead.
- Check to see if the manufacturer posts information on their website for downloadable service manuals, parts lists and troubleshooting guides. If there is a fee to access the information -- walk away.
- The best products will have web sites with free help guides and instructions on how to restore lost or corrupted firmware.
#2 Don't Sign any EULA before Reading
Yeah -- we all know we should read contracts before signing. But EULA are weapons created by manufacturers to remove your rights to use your purchases as you see fit. There is nothing good for you in any EULA. If you click to accept -- which we all do --you will have waived significant rights.
If you can find a product sold without any EULA -- give that product preference in your choices.
#3 Complain Effectively
In addition to contacting your state legislators demanding your right to repair, there are other ways to complain that are Effective.
Contact your state departments of Consumer Protection and Attorney General's Office to file (written) complaints about unfair and deceptive contracts or trade practices.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over any threats to void your warranty if you use independent repair or 3rd party parts. There is Federal Law (Magnusson Moss Warranty Act of 1975) that is intended to prevent such threats.
Contact the US Department of Justice Anti-Trust Division to complain about being forced to buy software, services, or additional products in order to use your purchase. Such tying agreements are illegal - and the DOJ can investigate.
Contact your US Senator and Congress person if you can't fix your stuff due to a software or hardware lock. The US Copyright Office takes its instructions from Congress and DRM (locks) fall under Copyright Law.
# 4 Tips for Commercial Buyers
Commercial buyers have the power of the purchase-order to demand repair-friendly terms and conditions. Repair-friendly policies are also the key to buying equipment that can have a long useful life which in turn meets sustainability goals.
7 Terms and Conditions for Longer Useful Life
1. Do not sign any EULA for hardware purchases without negotiation and complete understanding.
2. Do not allow any EULA to be "deemed to be accepted"
3. Require all licenses, including for embedded code (aka Firmware) to be separate and optional agreements
4. Require clear understanding in writing about how defect support for hardware defects or firmware defects are to be provided outside of warranty.
5. Demand unlimited free access to maintenance passwords, service access mode, settings controls, and all defect support firmware for purposes of repair.
6. Require delivery or unlimited access to the same service documentation, diagnostic software, and tools as necessary for in-warranty repair.
7 . Require access to spare service parts on fair and reasonable terms for at least 5 years following end of warranty.
#5 -- Share Your Knowledge
iFixit and Greenpeace teamed up to rate leading cell phones, tablets, and laptops for repairability based on tear-downs. Our goal is to add a policy layer to those results.