The modern right to repair movement is a reactionary groundswell of consumer-rights advocacy, which opposes longexisting, monopolistic, and unfair market practices that have essentially been left unchecked in recent years. Specifically, the right to repair movement seeks to advance consumers’ ability to repair their purchased goods, ranging from consumer electronics to multi-million-dollar farm equipment, so consumers have more autonomy in the market. The growing movement, in part, persuaded President Biden to issue an Executive Order (“E.O.”) on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy,” an action that thrust the movement into the national spotlight. This E.O. effectively calls upon the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) to act in accordance with existing laws and promulgate rules to ensure consumers are afforded a “right to repair.” However, the FTC’s ability to comprehensively address President Biden’s E.O. hinges on Congressional buy-in and support. Notably, recent Congressional discussions suggest that Congress is poised to bolster the FTC’s ability to fulfill President Biden’s E.O. Accordingly, this Article analyzes the modern right to repair movement, the Biden Administration’s efforts to implement a federally recognized right to repair, and debates by Congress relating to the right to repair—ultimately setting forth recommendations, including administrative actions and legislative initiatives, for the FTC and Congress to provide consumers with a right that protects their ability to make decisions in the marketplace.
Author: Jared A. Mark
Volume 23, Issue 2