Right to Repair bill could save families $330 per year, say supporters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- With inflation at its highest rate in 40 years, consumers are looking for ways to save money. One way may be to make old electronics new again.

Nico Gist of Sacramento did what many people do every day: he cracked the screen on his smartphone.

The manufacturer quoted the cost of repair at a couple hundred dollars.

"Completely unfair. I thought it was pretty ridiculous that it would cost that much to make a fairly simple repair," said Gist.

Sander Kushen of the consumer group CALPIRG says manufacturers limit the availability of parts and even service manuals to outside vendors, forcing the prices of repairs up. Adding to the difficulty in getting repairs done, some manufactures will void your warranty if you use a third party repair shop.

"The research shows that opting for repair over replacement could save California families $4.3 billion per year," said Kushen. That's an average of $330 per family.

"It's about having the option. If you own it, you should be able to fix it," Kushen said.

CALPIRG supports SB 983, or "Right to Repair" legislation introduced Monday by State Senator Susan Eggman (D - Stockton), which would open up access to consumers and third party vendors to parts.

Gist thinks that's a great idea. "It would basically give me the freedom to repair the products as I see fit," he said.

The bill would cover not only electronics, but appliances such as washers and dryers.

Supporters also say the bill would eliminate e-waste.

Kushen says Americans throw out 416,000 cell phones each year. "Essentially, kind of goes back to the whole problem of creating this culture of waste where we have this product that we can only use for a certain amount of years," he said.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE! 7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.