Imagine you’re a farmer, working in your field one day. The belt on your tractor snaps, so you can’t continue to plant. The rains are coming in and if you do not get the seed in the ground today the harvest won’t be large enough for you to keep the farm. Instead of being able to go purchase the part and repair it yourself, you have to schedule an appointment with a certified mechanic, wait for them to show up in a week or so, and pay hundreds of dollars for them to make a simple repair that you are more than capable of doing yourself.
This is the world that farmers all over the Great Lakes region live in today. Large corporations have put a stranglehold on the ability for farmers to make repairs themselves, adding unnecessary costs to small business owners. Minnesota state lawmakers are working to change this practice, however.
Legislation is awaiting a vote in the Minnesota House of Representatives that would allow individuals and small businesses a right to repair their own equipment. The cost to consumers for these repairs would fall, and more individuals would have choices as to how and where their own property is repaired. Currently, companies like John Deere and Apple only allow repairs at their own facilities.
This practice affects all consumers, whether it be the farmer in the field or the college student with a cracked iPhone screen. “When there [are] only one or two places you can go to get your iPhone screen repaired, [manufacturers] have a lot of power to charge whatever they want,” said Amanda LaGrance, CEO of Tech Dump to WCCO Ch4.
If enacted, Minnesota would become the first state in the nation to reinforce consumer rights to repair their own property at whatever facility makes the most sense to them. The hope is that this legislation can be implemented everywhere soon.