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San Diego students, electronic repair stores rally to support California's Right to Repair Act

San Diego CALPIRG students and an iTech repair store say manufacturers are making it too hard and too expensive to repair electronics and appliances.

SAN DIEGO — Local students and tech repair shops are rallying to make it easier and more affordable to repair your electronics and cut down on waste by rallying behind a potential Senate Bill known as the Right to Repair Act

Mekayli Claros is a student at UC San Diego and said last year before school started she had to buy a $1,600 laptop to start school to replace her old one that couldn’t be fixed in time. It was costly.

“I took it [laptop] to BestBuy to have it repaired and they told me it would take six weeks and $800 just to have it shipped out for a new screen,” said Mekayli Claros, CALPIRG Students board member.  

The repair man says don't blame him.

“Apple made it impossible for that part to work, namely biometrics. So, if your fingerprint scanner goes out face scanner goes out, even if I put a new one in there, it's still not going to work,” said Tony Heupel, iTech iPhone & Macbook Repair owner. “We’re constantly being blocked by manufacturers for little, small parts.”

He stood with a handful of CALPIRG Students, a student-driven nonprofit, outside his repair lab in Clairemont among 200 pounds of e-waste he’s recently accumulated. He said he had to spend a lot of money for a cheap part to save a client’s data.

“I had to go purchase and iPhone 14 Pro Max for $1,500 so I could take a teeny tiny two cent piece part of out of it so I could get her data,” said Heupel.

The Right to Repair Act requires electronic and appliance manufacturers to give consumers and service repair shops access to maintain and repair products. CALPIRG says this Act could save Californians more than 5 billion dollars on electronic repairs each year.

Claros with CALPIRG said California households throw out roughly 46,000 cell phones daily. 

“Senate Bill 244 by Senator Susan Eggman will give consumers what they need to fix our stuff. So we can keep our devices working longer, save us money and to throw less away,” said Claros.

Other states such as New York have passed similar laws.

Last spring the California Senate unanimously approved the Right to Repair Act. The House has until Sept. 14 to pass it and send it to the governor for approval.

“Wouldn't you like to be able to fix it yourself just slide on a new screen,” said Heupel.

Students are praising Apple after the company recently dropped its opposition to the Right to Repair Act as long as it protects consumer privacy and HP tweeted its support.

“We have the right to have better access to repairing our devices to where we don't have to empty our wallets and not worry about falling behind in our classes,” said Claros.

To learn more reducing e-waste and recycling resources click here.

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