The Right to Repair (R2R) is the concept that individuals, businesses, and independent repair shops should have access to the information, parts, and tools needed to repair and maintain products they own, rather than being forced to rely solely on manufacturers for repairs.
When we buy things the former owner exchanges ownership with us. This is especially true with the relationship we as consumers have with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The core concept of R2R is to give control back to owners, enabling them to make decisions that are best to extend the life of their purchases.
In South Africa, the R2R movement has been established strongly in the motorist Industry. As Right to Repair South Africa notes “The Right To Repair – is a campaign that aims to give motorists more choice in where and with whom they can have their vehicles serviced without their service/maintenance plan or warranty being compromised.” The movement started in May 2013 the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) announced a Right to Repair (R2R) campaign based on the belief that for there to be fair competition, South African legislature needed to follow the international Right to Repair movement in line with SA’s existing consumer and competition laws (righttorepair.org).
R2R in South Africa has aimed to allow consumers the right to select where their vehicles are serviced, maintained, and repaired. This is at competitive prices in the workshop of their choice. The manufacturer’s demand to service and maintain advantage can be costly and eliminates competition. The escalation of prices and lack of access to parts through this model also means that the insurance costs of owning a vehicle are also high.
Successful R2R campaigns in other countries have led to the enactment of legislation dictating that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are required to provide the same information to the independent aftermarket dealers as they already provide to their franchised dealers. Certain legislation also codifies the consumers’ right to choose its preferred dealer without fear of losing their warranty (rightorepair.org)
The European Commission (EC) is looking at adopting a new proposal intended to enable and promote the repair of a range of consumer goods and household devices. Distortions in the rights of owners to repair their property may potentially destroy the used market, including the market for unused or hardly used products. The Right to Repair should be extended to all forms of consumer products as it is practical and sustainable. This legislation benefits Reverse Logistics in several ways:
1. Increased demand for repair services: Right to repair legislation allows consumers to repair their devices and equipment, which can increase the demand for repair services. This can create more opportunities for Reverse Logistics companies that specialize in repairing and refurbishing products.
2. Access to repair information: Right to repair legislation can require manufacturers to share repair information with independent repair technicians and Reverse Logistics companies. This can help Reverse Logistics companies diagnose the end-life of products more efficiently, reducing turnaround time and costs.
3. Reduction in e-waste: By repairing and refurbishing products instead of disposing of them, right to repair legislation can help reduce the amount of e-waste generated. This can benefit Reverse Logistics companies that specialize in e-waste management and recycling.
4. Expansion of the Secondary Market: Right to repair legislation can increase the availability of refurbished and repaired products in the secondary market. This can create more opportunities for Reverse Logistics companies that specialize in reselling and redistributing products.
Overall, right to repair legislation can create a more sustainable and efficient Reverse Logistics ecosystem by promoting repair and reuse of products. It reduces the greenhouse gas emissions due to the reduced stress on economies to produce commodities and consumables. It will ultimately lead us towards a circular economy of use which can only benefit growing markets and the environment.