Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @08:49AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

The right to repair movement may be gaining traction, with several states passing laws that force companies to improve the repairability of their products, but a trio of letters the Federal Trade Commission just sent to firms that market and sell gaming PCs, graphics chips, motherboards, and other accessories show that resistance by manufacturers is as strong as ever.

The Federal Trade Commission staff has sent letters to ASRock, Zotac, and Gigabyte warning that their warranty practices may be violating consumers' right to repair products they have purchased. Namely, the commission singled out the use of stickers containing "warranty void if removed" or similar language as illegal. These are usually placed on products in such a way that makes it difficult for consumers to perform routine maintenance and repairs on their products, the FTC said.

"These warning letters put companies on notice that restricting consumers' right to repair violates the law," said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The commission will continue our efforts to protect consumers' right to repair and independent dealers' right to compete."

[...] Illegal warranties are just the tip of the problem, consumer advocates say, as manufacturers try all sorts of tactics to control the repair process – and these tactics are working. Americans waste $40 billion each year from not being able to repair products, according to a report by the US PIRG, a public-interest research group. That comes to about $330 per household annually.

"It's getting harder for people to buy things that are repairable. The problem is getting worse, much worse," said Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association, a small lobbying group that advocates for independent repair shops.

One example is the use of components that are glued or soldered together.

"Ten years ago you could slide off the back of the phone, and pop out the battery," said Olivia Webb, spokesperson for iFixit, a parts retailer and online community dedicated to repair. "Now, they are adhered with screws, battery pull tabs, some of them are glued in. People don't want you to replace your battery – they want you to buy a new phone."

[...] "You're hitting a point where you cannot upgrade your technology anymore. And I think that is another way of forcing people to buy a new machine instead of upgrading an old machine," she said.

Proprietary screws are another example. Disassembling the iPhone 12 requires four different types of screwdrivers, according to Hugh Jeffreys, an advocate of the Right to Repair movement.

Manufacturers are also not shying away from engaging in outright illegal practices that the FTC has called out. For example, many companies still have warranties that are voided if anyone, except the company that made the product, has repaired it. A few years ago the FTC warned six companies against such void-warranty language. The recipients were eventually revealed to be ASUSTeK, HTC, Hyundai, Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony Computer Entertainment.


Original Submission

This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only. Log in and try again!
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by anubi on Tuesday July 09, @10:38AM (17 children)

    by anubi (2828) on Tuesday July 09, @10:38AM (#1363533) Journal

    How is expiring software handled?

    Like printers that simply stop working after so many pages until a secret reset code is entered.

    Or companies whose products require "phoning home" to authenticate, then the company simply takes the authentication server offline to enforce obsolescence. Any provisions to force companies to release a patch or hold harmless anyone who releases a patch to offline authenticate ?

    Hold harmless anyone supporting abandoned products. Anything past "end of support" deemed "abandoned". I think it's unfair to sell someone a bolt, then ten years later , make the bolt useless... After you've built it into other things. But if one still supports that bolt, then its' horrendously long copyrights remain in force.

    Let the companies decide when some product is not worth supporting anymore, while the people who have bought that product should not be forced to landfill the goods for lack of support when smaller concerns may want to provide that support. ( Should Ford have the right to force you to abandon your Model-T by keeping anyone from making parts for it? )

     

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday July 09, @11:19AM (10 children)

      by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday July 09, @11:19AM (#1363535)

      Your software expires? That's the first problem right there.

      The idea that a manufacturer can control a product after it is sold is not supposed to be allowed. For example, once you buy a copy of a book, it's yours, and the publisher isn't supposed to be able to say that you can't then sell that same copy to somebody else or indeed have any control at all once that book has gone from its warehouse to the retailer. But business being business likes to engage in "rent-seeking", where they get money on a regular basis while providing no services or new goods whatsoever, and they've gotten quite good at coming up with creative ways of doing that.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Ingar on Tuesday July 09, @12:04PM (8 children)

        by Ingar (801) on Tuesday July 09, @12:04PM (#1363537) Homepage Journal

        You didn't buy the copy of that book. You licensed it.

        I just looked into an issue with my mom's e-reader, all her books had disappeared.
        Adobe DRM something something.

        I'm not sure right to repair would cover converting all those books to a DRM-free format.

        • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday July 09, @01:00PM (2 children)

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09, @01:00PM (#1363542) Journal

          Useful tool for recovering some (possibly all?) of your mom's missing books. %20 [soylentnews.org]" rel="url2html-2739146">https://github.com/libgenapps/LibgenDesktop>

          I have found it useful in finding research papers that I have no other access to. I've also used it to find works of fiction and nonfiction.

          Be warned, it takes quite some time to get set up a local database with libgen, and updates can last for a few minutes. But I have found a lot of books using the libgen desktop application that the various online libgen sites have failed to find.

          --
          We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
          • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday July 09, @01:05PM (1 child)

            by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09, @01:05PM (#1363543) Journal

            Geez, look at that awkward sentence. That's what I get when I type a sentence out, change my mind, retype it one or more times, then don't bother to proofread before hitting 'submit'.

            --
            We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @03:04PM

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday July 09, @03:04PM (#1363555) Journal

              I think we all experience that occasionally. I understood what you were saying.

              --
              I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
        • (Score: 4, Informative) by Freeman on Tuesday July 09, @02:24PM

          by Freeman (732) on Tuesday July 09, @02:24PM (#1363547) Journal

          Tor Books is awesome. They've been DRM-Free for a Very Long time now. Teach anyone that listens about DRM-Free alternatives and suggest that CDs/DVDs aren't necessarily "obsolete" due to stupid things like "Licensed content" that is easily pulled from their "digital library".

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday July 09, @02:28PM

          by Freeman (732) on Tuesday July 09, @02:28PM (#1363548) Journal

          It probably should, but unfortunately we live in the "consumers have sold their soul to the corporate machine" timeline.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by sjames on Tuesday July 09, @03:02PM (1 child)

          by sjames (2882) on Tuesday July 09, @03:02PM (#1363553) Journal

          But there is a concept in law that if it looks like a sale, then it's a sale. For example, use of the work "buy", lack of a specified termination date.

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @09:17PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @09:17PM (#1363588)

            This "licensing" paradigm looks to me to be a variant of something I knew as a kid about being an "Indian Giver".

            https://html.duckduckgo.com/html?q="indian%20giver" [duckduckgo.com]

            It refers to when you give something to someone, then later want it back.

            It was a cultural misunderstanding between the meaning of "give" , "share" , and "loan".

            Especially land deals. I may live in New York, and give you my permission to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. White man makes the deal then decides I can no longer cross it because it is now his..by treaty!

            I can't sell that bridge. I can agree that if you want to cross it I will not impede you. It's not mine to give away. It belongs to the Great Spirit. Everything does. It has been provided for us. I have been asked to share, which is taken similar to asking permission to have some water to drink. There is plenty for all. White man misunderstood, thinks all the water now belongs to him. He has treaty!

            There has been a lot of blood shed over this concept of "ownership".

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, @04:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 11, @04:12PM (#1363779)

          I don't believe he was talking about ebooks. You may license ebooks, but you don't license physical books. With a physical book, I can pretty much do anything I want it other than distribute copies. I can lend it, rent it, sell it. Hell, I can wipe my ass with it, if I want.

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Wednesday July 10, @01:12AM

        by anubi (2828) on Wednesday July 10, @01:12AM (#1363602) Journal

        "But business being business likes to engage in "rent-seeking", where they get money on a regular basis while providing no services or new goods whatsoever, and they've gotten quite good at coming up with creative ways of doing that."

        ----------------------------

        I view the rent-seeking paradigm as the worst bug in the capitalist system. And not taxed near enough to discourage it. Especially on essentials like housing.

        California homeowners...remember when the $7000 property tax "homestead exemption" was about the cost of the average house?

        You had to own and reside in that house to claim it.

        Rental properties still do not qualify.

        I would propose the "homestead exemption" paradigm be updated to today's valuation...say an even one million dollars. Which increases same as the tax rate on other real estate.

        This way families cannot be taxed out of their home by generous government officials exercising poor stewardship of the public purse.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Tuesday July 09, @02:31PM (4 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday July 09, @02:31PM (#1363549) Journal

      How is expiring software handled?

      Like printers that simply stop working after so many pages until a secret reset code is entered.

      Don't buy that crap. Voting with the wallet is the only thing that the masses can do. Unfortunately the masses are Stupid and Gullible. Legislation may be the only "fix". The moment you insert "with a computer" into the conversation 90% of people's brains turn off.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 5, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @05:31PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @05:31PM (#1363568)

        Don't buy that crap. Voting with the wallet is the only thing that the masses can do. Unfortunately the masses are Stupid and Gullible.

        We need to start by not calling people stupid and gullible just because they had no reasonable way of knowing some printer manufacturer designed a roofy into their printer. It's not like this fact is communicated to you when you go to buy a printer.

        Legislation may be the only "fix".

        Yes, fucking customers without their informed consent should be illegal, but more importantly the real consequences need to be severe enough that there is a real incentive not to do it.

        Sadly the FTC has demonstrated that the biggest consequences of violating the Magnuson-Moss warranty act in the USA are that the FTC might warn you not to violate it again. So the companies which violate the law will simply make more money than those which don't.

        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday July 10, @06:32PM

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday July 10, @06:32PM (#1363672) Journal

          Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

          Plug your fingers in your ears while humming, then sticking your head in the sand to just take it. Seems to be more the norm in modern consumerism, though.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 2) by Ox0000 on Wednesday July 10, @04:37PM (1 child)

        by Ox0000 (5111) on Wednesday July 10, @04:37PM (#1363663)

        I have an explicit need to print, pray, do tell me which printer I can buy that does not do this? Are you personally certifying that whatever you recommend won't do this now or in the future? Will you pay me back if your prediction does not pan out?
        What about other commodities where the market is (also) captured by a handful of large players that give no rat's ass about their customers and will fuck them with a pineapple at every opportunity because their customer has no other place to go, and besides "it's fun to see the little people squirm"?

        I am sick and tired of people saying "vote with your wallet" without realizing or acknowledging that in many cases, the only viable choices are either pest or cholera; get beaten over the head a lot or even more but at least you get to choose whether we use a truncheon or a baseball bat.

        The problem is that there is no choice in many cases, and that not participating is also not a viable(!) choice. The solution is not to moan about "I don't find this a problem and if you don't like it, then that's a you problem, so piss off", the solution is to first recognize the problem, and then work on actually changing the system itself!

        Furthermore, complaining about "you should have known this beforehand" is very convenient from your comfy armchair. I hope to one day be able to acquire an equally comfortable one from which I too can then opine about the state of the world without actually contributing anything of value...

        This particular type of shortsightedness and attitude is detrimental to the conversation and to society. And on top of it, you sound like a regular Tom-Dick-or-Harry criticizing professional sports-players on a Sunday afternoon while drinking a fermented beverage with one hand and cig in the other telling those around you "He's not very good, is he". It's not a good look!

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Wednesday July 10, @06:54PM

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday July 10, @06:54PM (#1363675) Journal

          Perhaps part of the problem is that modern grifters/snake oil salesmen/etc have upped their game. What's more even supposedly "trustworthy" brands of yesteryear are hoovering up your data like good 'ol J. Edgar Hoover. He probably couldn't have even imagined the current state of affairs in his wildest dreams.

          In the event that you can't vote with your wallet then you're in an effective monopoly and that should be addressed. At which point you're in a place where legislation is the only thing that can save you. Unfortunately, that won't help you for a decade or more. Assuming they ever get around to whatever monopolistic thing you're dealing with.

          Printers are notorious for having issues, but when a CEO says "Our long-term objective is to make printing a subscription". https://www.pcgamer.com/our-long-term-objective-is-to-make-printing-a-subscription-says-hp-ceo-gunning-for-2024s-worst-person-of-the-year-award/ [pcgamer.com] You better sit up and pay attention. Subscription everything is what corporations want. Especially, if you pay for something and then don't use it.

          The only option as a Consumer is to vote with your wallet or hope that Congress/FTC/Someone will fix it for you. I can certainly tell you, it won't be the corporation magically deciding to do the right thing.

          Find a different company that's not doing the same thing and go for it. For the average person, it doesn't matter if you have a Brother/Canon/HP/etc. printer as long as it's not attached at the hip with your wallet.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by Ox0000 on Wednesday July 10, @04:24PM

      by Ox0000 (5111) on Wednesday July 10, @04:24PM (#1363662)

      The expiration of materiel is not because it's not worth supporting anymore, it's because (as you correctly point out) they want new money from you. Because getting new money from you results in them getting a higher amount than getting old/support money from you.
      So fundamentally, the root of the problem is that it's because MBA's have figured out a way to "maximize profit", as opposed to "do well by your customers". We seriously lack the attitude of doing well by your customers!

      And that is also why they will fight tooth and nail to prohibit servicing 'out of warranty/out of support' materiel. It is why DMCA exists.

      You jest about "Should Ford have the right to force you to abandon your Model-T by keeping anyone from making parts for it?" but that is exactly the state we're already in with carscomputers-on-wheels. Just like iPhone hardware being paired to the device so you can't just swap it out, (modern) cars work very much the same way. They will use and are using underhanded techniques such as intellectual property ("you can't make a round thing resembling a wheel, that's our IP") and regulatory capture ("only us certified companies should be allowed to produce this one very particular screw that is used only to hold the lock on your glove compartment, allowing anyone else to create those things, let along install them, would make this car a danger on the road"). I wouldn't be surprised if in some single-digit decades of time, you will not be allowed to drive around in cars that are older than n years and will be forced to buy a new one. These future computers-on-wheels will probably also conveniently broadcast all this information to the authorities; after all, in a free society, the job of the police is to make the citizen's life easier and better, whereas in a totalitarian state, it is the job of the citizenry to make the lives of the police easier and better. I'll let you ruminate on where we (in the US) fall and are sliding closer to...

      Ain't no such thing an MBA cannot fuck up!

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @09:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 09, @09:47PM (#1363589)

    Since the FTC Act of 1914 [wikipedia.org] doesn't explicitly include any references to electronics (other than the telephone or telegraph) as they hadn't been invented yet, it's clear that Congress had no intention of giving such rule making authority to the FTC [scotusblog.com].

    So suck it consumers! You'll get nothing (as well as abused by big corporations) and love it! You're welcome from the US Supreme Court. Kissy kissy!

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Wednesday July 10, @01:18PM

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Wednesday July 10, @01:18PM (#1363643) Journal

    My parents bought one of the first generation front loader washing machines, LG brand, and it had teething problems, so to speak. It also had a warranty that seemed alright at a glance, but in reality was worthless. Seemed designed to let LG say "warranty" without costing them a thing. The warranty covered only parts, not labor, and warranty repair work could only be done at LG approved shops that, wouldn't you know, charged inflated labor rates! The rates were so high, you might as well throw the old washing machine away and buy another new machine.

    We fixed it ourselves. The part needed, a Hall effect sensor for the motor, cost only $20.

    The thing broke down again at 7 years old. The part connecting the motor to the stainless steel drum is called a "spider" and was not made of stainless steel or anything else resistant to corrosion, and broke when it had weakened enough that it couldn't hold up the drum any more. The motor had a 10 year warranty, and the drum a lifetime warranty, but the spider didn't count as part of either one, so no warranty on it, not that that would have mattered. The spider is, of course, not visible without taking the machine apart.

    That too we fixed ourselves. Got the new spider powder coated before we installed it, for, as I recall, $75.

    Haven't bought any LG product since.

(1)