NAM Regulatory Update: Right-to-Repair Laws Harm Manufacturers and Consumers

As part of an effort to bring more information about the regulatory and legal environment facing American manufacturers, NFPA is monitoring the newsfeed of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and will be bringing important updates like this to the attention of NFPA members.

So-called “right-to-repair” policies undo many of the federal and state laws designed to protect consumers and manufacturers—and they could result in “steep cost[s] to quality, performance, consumer safety, the environment and the broader U.S. economy,” according to a new NAM-commissioned study.

What’s going on: “The Economic Downsides of ‘Right-to-Repair,’” by Capital Policy Analytics’ Ike Brannon and Kerri Seyfert, finds that enacting right-to-repair laws could disrupt supply chains, leave manufacturers open to intellectual property theft, drive up costs for consumers and manufacturers and increase greenhouse emissions in the atmosphere.

Right-to-repair policies, currently in place in more than 30 states, generally require manufacturers to make all tools, guides and parts required to repair their devices available to everyone, including independent repair outfits.

A federal right-to-repair law “would ultimately alter how manufacturers operate their businesses, and there is no guarantee that consumers would benefit, as manufacturers would be forced to change the way their products perform,” according to the study.

Why it’s important: “There is a wide range of unintended and potentially harmful consequences that would arise if the most commonly introduced versions of ‘right-to-repair’ go into effect,” Brannon and Seyfert write.

In addition to making product repair more difficult, such policies could drastically increase compliance costs for manufacturers and drive up prices for consumers.

The NAM, members of the NAM’s Council of Manufacturing Associations and Conference of State Manufacturers Associations recently launched Manufacturers for Sensible Regulations, a coalition addressing the impact of the current regulatory onslaught coming from federal agencies. To learn more, and get involved, go here.

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