Earlier this summer, Adam Fullerton’s mother-in-law was on vacation in Taiwan when she inadvertently splashed some water on her iPhone 6, killing it. She did what many customers with a broken device do, and took the phone back to the manufacturer to repair. But Apple told her the device was unfixable, and offered to sell her a replacement for $299. Instead, she turned to Fullerton, an expert phone fixer and operations manager for two Boston-based walk-in repair shops. For less than $40, Fullerton was able to purchase two replacement chips for the phone’s motherboard and a new screen, swap everything out, and get the device working again. Fullerton told that story to Massachusetts’ Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure last month during a public hearing over a digital right-to-repair bill that would make it easier for everyone to fix their electronic devices at home or by taking them to an independent shop. His story neatly makes a case for the right-to-repair movement, whose guiding principle is that if you buy it, you should be allowed to fix it. Manufacturers have long attempted to monopolize repair by voiding the warranties of customers who make fixes on their own, […]

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