Do you have right to repair your own cellphone?

Right-to-repair legislation gaining momentum

Broken cellphone? Repairing it yourself may be more difficult than you think. Now, the right-to-repair movement is gaining traction.

SAN ANTONIO – New smartphones can cost more than $1,000, so if you break the one you have, it might be worth trying to fix it. But, making those do-it-yourself repairs can be harder than you think.

“When we surveyed people about this a few months ago, a lot of people said they don’t fix their smartphones when they break because it’s too expensive to do it. And a lot of other people said it’s too inconvenient,” said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Kaveh Waddell.

Replacement parts can also be hard to find, and Consumer Reports says instructions for fixing phones are scarce. Plus, newer phones are made with glued-in batteries and special screws that can’t easily be removed.

You may also think you will void the warranty if you repair the phone yourself or at an independent shop, but Consumer Reports says that’s not true.

Now some states and Congress are taking notice of these unfriendly consumer practices.

“Lawmakers in a number of states and Congress are considering bills that would make it easier to repair your own things, including your smartphone,” Waddell said.

The federal Fair Repair Act would require manufacturers to provide consumer and third-party access to parts and documentation to make repairs.

Now, for the first time, Apple says it will make some parts and repair manuals available to consumers and repair shops. Microsoft has reportedly said it will make some if its devices easier to fix.

In the meantime, if you have a busted phone, Consumer Reports says you can compare prices at authorized repairers and independent shops. Also, check to see if you have any insurance through your credit card to cover a repair or if you signed up for a repair plan like AppleCare.


About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.