HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – New legislation introduced Wednesday, aims to help hospitals, farmers, and consumers repair technology quicker and cheaper, but critics say, it could negatively impact the integrity and safety of your device.
The Digital Fair Repair Act, introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly would require manufacturers to provide parts, tools, service manuals, and repair software to consumers, so they can go elsewhere to get their technology fixed or even do it themselves.
“A workman’s tool box is no longer sufficient, when devices are now unlocked with a digital code and require specialized replacement parts,” said Emma Horst-Martz, PennPIRG Campaign Associate.
So Representative Austin Davis’ (D-35th District) bill would make it so manufacturers would have to supply those tools and software information to consumers, at what he calls a reasonable price. That way, hospitals can potentially fix their ventilators, and other technology for a cheaper price.
“We estimate we save Geisinger between 10 and 15 million dollars by being able to support their equipment using our own staff,” said Barbara Maguire, Vice President, Quality and Geisinger Healthcare Technology Management at ISS Solutions.
This bill also aims to save time by doing the repair yourself.
“We’ve got a lot of territory in Pennsylvania. If you’re in the eastern part of the state, you may be very close to service, but most of our members in a lot of the state have a significant distance to service centers,” said Dan Dalton, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture.
Tim Wentz with the Northeast Equipment Dealers Association, which represents over 450 equipment dealers, says he’s supportive of consumers getting the tools they need to make their own repairs.
“What we don’t support is the re-programming modification of machines. Do you want to buy a diesel truck that’s been tuned, flashed back to factory spec and you don’t know that it was run and worn out?” said Wentz.
Similar legislation was filed in about 20 other states last year.