What’s the big deal?
Currently, if you own an automobile you can go to any number of parts stores and purchase what you need to do the repair yourself. There is an unending supply of repair shops with many sources for parts with which to repair your automobile. You or your neighbor can change the tire, wheel, muffler, or brakes with no penalty to you or your warranty. The knowledge and the resources are both quite widespread. This is not the case with mobility equipment. Repairing a wheelchair? For that one must wait on an unending bureaucratic mess.
The right to repair compliments OS hardware
For existing mobility equipment one might wait an average of 5 months in every given year to receive a repair service that could take just fifteen minutes. The right to repair could change this for anyone with the means and resources to do so. Fortunately, a lot of those resources already exist in nearly all communities. These include but are not limited to most repair shops for lawnmowers, electrical appliances, and automobiles. The right to repair is something that can start today. Our open source designs will take time.
A net positive for the current systems
Providers, the companies that facilitate and repair mobility equipment, will have more options for obtaining and fabricating parts for repair. Already, wherever a repair is easily discernable, those with disabilities and their communities are exercising this right. The problem comes when the repair, or necessary part, is too complex to discern, obtain, and apply at the time of identifying it. Technical specifications are clutched tightly to the chests of the corporations that design them. They are largely not available to the end user or even the providers. If opened up, mobility equipment users and their advocates can obtain these specifications.
What can you do for the right to repair?
Read the following text, invite friends to do the same
Feel free to rewrite it to make it your own. Place your text into the public comment form to the Federal Trade Commission by 11:59 on February 2nd, 2024:
“Section 5 Request for Rulemaking/Policy Guidance
Public Comment on Right to Repair
Dear Secretary Tabor:
This letter supports the Petition for Rulemaking in favor of consumers’ Right to Repair. I support the FTC’s steps to lift repair restrictions from users of essential mobility equipment.
Along with the PIRG Network, disabled-owned mobility equipment fabricator RapAdapt, and the Mobility Independence Foundation (a 501(c )(3) dedicated to development of modular, durable, open-source mobility solutions), I request that the FTC create a carve-out in forthcoming Right to Repair guidance for users of mobility equipment which allows parts to be sourced, and repairs performed, locally.
Mobility equipment is an essential part of life for those with disabilities. Down time directly results in decreased quality of life, impairing users’ ability to work, attend school, and receive medical care. Individuals reliant on mobility devices are confined to home (and even to bed) when manufacturers and insurers are the only entities permitted to set the repair timetable.
New Section 5 guidance must demonstrate the FTC’s commitment to engaged lives and community presence for mobility device users. Right to repair gives users freedom to repair equipment timely and locally when other options are not available, and allows users to advocate for their own quality of life and safety. “
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3. Donate to our Right To Repair efforts!
We currently have a group of matching funds donors for up to $1,300! Help us make that $2,600 by donating here: