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FTC Proposal Could Strengthen Right to Repair

The Federal Trade Commission's latest proposed initiative would require manufacturers to provide repair instructions for some household appliances.

An oven, washing machine and refrigerator against a blue background.
You could soon save money on repairs.
Photos by Best Buy; illustration by CNET

The US Federal Trade Commission is asking for public comment on a new initiative that would require companies to provide repair instructions with household appliances with the yellow EnergyGuide label. The initiative would also call for manufacturers to provide consumers with more energy efficiency information.

"As prices rise, the Commission will continue to take aggressive action to protect consumers' pocketbooks and strengthen their right to repair their own products," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. 

The FTC said in a 2021 report that it found little evidence to support manufacturers' justification for restricting repair information. 

"Access to this information will strengthen consumers' right to repair damaged products, without the need to go back to the manufacturer, providing them with potentially lower-cost repair options," the FTC wrote. 

If passed, this initiative would be the latest win for the right-to-repair movement.

In June, New York passed a law that required electronics manufacturers to provide repair information, parts, tools, software and components to consumers and independent repair providers. In 2021, US President Joe Biden ordered the FTC to make rules concerning the right to repair.

Tech companies have fought against right to repair efforts though, saying these initiatives could harm intellectual property.

Now playing: Watch this: What is the right to repair?