Local expert unconvinced by proposed appliance repair bill

A recent study by US PIRG, a consumer protection organization, found that New York families would save big bucks if they had the right and access to repair their electronics.

Senator Neil Breslin and Congregation Member Donna Lupardo say they will reintroduce their proposed bill – the Digital Fair Repair Act – requiring electronics companies to provide diagnostic and repair information and release proprietary parts to consumer and local repair companies.

David Smith, owner of Smiths Appliance Sales & Services on Martin Street, said that while some repairs can save homeowners money, much of today’s technology makes legislation impractical – and ultimately doesn’t save residents money or future headaches. The study says the average New York family would save about $ 330 a year and reduce household electronics and home appliance spending by 22% by using repairs instead of replacements. However, Smith said that in many cases with today’s newer technology, it is much cheaper to replace this one device.

Results Other important results from the US PIRG study:

Together, New Yorkers would save $ 2.4 billion a year by repairing rather than buying new ones.

New York would reduce its electronic waste. New York currently produces 655,000 tons per year;

American households spend approximately $ 1,480 annually buying new electronic products. $ 1,042 for devices such as smartphones and laptops; $ 319 for large appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines; and $ 120 for small appliances like microwaves and blenders.

The typical New Yorker has 24 electronic devices in their home.

When it comes to cell phones, computers, and laptops, Smith said, “There are very few people who can work on a computer or any type of cell phone. In many cases, you can buy a computer cheaper than you can get it repaired. Then household appliances – my experience is when you have a problem with a refrigerator people have no idea what is going on – that goes for washers or dryers too. Very few can look at these things, and your newer devices have computers built into them. We don’t wait for these things. It costs more to buy the parts and you need the electronic background. So it’s easier to replace a computer circuit board in a device than spend a few hours troubleshooting “and figuring out what’s wrong.

Smith described small appliances like microwaves, blenders, blenders, etc. as “a whole different ball game”. He said that most of the companies that used to supply parts to repair such devices have gone out of business because in most cases it is cheaper to just replace the product rather than have it repaired.

With televisions and personal computers, you can “now reclaim the metals – there are gold, splinters and materials that can be recycled. There are some great places in California that do this, but nobody seems to be doing it here, ”the shop owner said. “This is more of a throwaway society at this point because it’s so expensive or you just can’t get the parts. And the companies that built these things don’t delete the parts. A good example of this is a dehumidifier. The only parts you can get for a dehumidifier that is really just a small cooling unit are the rollers on the floor or the buckets that lie underneath. “

“Manufacturers make devices irreparable,” continued Smith. “It’s been about eight years since all of this started and they haven’t done anything to improve. I don’t even bother making washing machines anymore. I used to have equipment on hand, but it’s nearly impossible to find something fully repairable at a price nowhere near the price of a brand new one. “

Meanwhile, the U.S. PIRG stressed that passing the laws could boost the local economy, provide better access to education, and save jobs – especially during this pandemic:

A resilient repair ecosystem with more people in our neighborhood doing repair work results in lower repair costs that are faster and more efficient.

Due to backlogs from manufacturers, millions of students have had to do without laptops for distance learning. and

Repair work on equipment will decrease by 6.9% from 38,400 to 35,800 employees by 2029.

“As families in New York are hit by the coronavirus pandemic, better access to electronic repairs could save consumers hundreds of dollars and valuable time,” said Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association. “With the passage of the Digital Fair Repair Act, small businesses can repair their electronics for a fraction of the price of a new device. A higher demand for repair services would boost our local economy and reduce our reliance on large electronic companies that are benefiting from the pandemic. “

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