It should be easier for Australians to get their smartphones, tablets and other devices repaired or replaced, the Productivity Commission has found.
The commission reviewed the so-called “right to repair” in Australia and received more than 300 submissions and comments. Many consumers complained that companies were making it harder and more expensive to get devices repaired by anyone other than the manufacturer.
The most common issues with phones, for example, are smashed screens or the need to replace the battery, but increasingly, companies like Apple and Samsung are making it harder for consumers to repair it themselves – or get it repaired by anyone but Apple or Samsung.
Kevin Purdy, a journalist at the repair site iFixit, told Guardian Australia earlier this year a major issue preventing people from fixing their own devices was the increasing cost of parts, which often meant a repair was as expensive as a replacement.
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“The cost of the repair itself needs to be some reasonable fraction of the total replacement cost of the device or people just won’t bother,” he said at the time. “If it costs much more than about a third of the price of the new device, people tend to gravitate towards just buying a new one.
The director of repair shop Phone Spot, Nicholas Muradian, told the Productivity Commission that Samsung parts were getting too expensive.
“They make their LCD screens that are used to repair mobile devices available but at a price that is too high. That makes it hard for a consumer to justify the repair,” he said. “I am finding that for the same price I am purchasing a part for, Samsung offers the repair to the customer at the same cost. This is an indirect method of putting a stop to third-party repair.”