It’s Getting Easier To Be Handy
The implications for many Americans are just starting to sink in. The Executive Order signed by President Joe Biden last week may indeed help hundreds of thousands of Americans, if not millions, in ways most never thought of before.
One of the most striking changes imposed by the order is something farmers have been asking about for years. They call it “Right To Repair”. In essence, many farmers have been hampered keeping their equipment up and running since manufacturers in many cases require their approved technicians to do repairs. Or the machines like tractors and combines are designed so the buyer simply can’t do the repairs. Only factory-approved and pricey technicians and workshops have the equipment needed to get machines back in operation after a breakdown.
And then there is one of the more shady sides of the farm equipment industry. Its often referred to as an “Extended Use License Agreement”. A fancy phrase that means a farmer can buy the tractor, but in reality agrees that what really happens is they just bought a license to use the tractor. The manufacturer still owns it. Kind of like a lease. And it requires the farmer to comply with all the manufacturers' methods of operation and repairs. Some cell phone companies do the same thing. You buy the right to use the phone, but the manufacturer owns it.
And then with technology upgrades or software advances, some manufacturers won’t support older equipment so the pricey purchase from a few years ago is worthless and the buyer needs to get a brand new one or go without.
The Biden Administration is trying to tackle the thorny issue with this new Executive Order which covers “Right To Repair”, or R2R, for not just farmers, but lots of us who buy, or lease pricey stuff.
The new order covers 72 specific ways the government wants to open up markets, sales, and ownership options for things we buy, and make it easier for those of us who want to tackle repairs, to do it without expensive requirements imposed by manufacturers. That might even extend to things like smartphones.
While there are some areas of the order that are winning support, there are complaints that overall, the Order may be more of a government power grab than something to benefit Americans. Always something to think about.
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