Right to Repair Becomes Law in Colorado

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Key Takeaways

  • Colorado's governor has signed a right to repair bill into law.
  • The measure requires access to documentation and tools, and bans parts pairing.
  • Multiple other states already have their own laws.

Colorado is the latest state to adopt a right to repair law after Governor Jared Polis signed a key bill.

HB24-1121 requires that any company making most forms of “digital electronic equipment” provide the information, parts, and other resources needed for users to fix the devices themselves.  It expands on Colorado legislation that already had similar demands for farming equipment and powered wheelchairs.

The new law applies to products made from July 1st, 2021 onward, although companies won’t have to comply until January 1st, 2026.

As with Oregon’s right to repair law, Colorado also bars parts pairing, or blocking third-party components from being used in repairs. Companies will have to abide by this rule starting January 1st, 2025.

There are exemptions, including transportation like aircraft, motor vehicles, and vessels. The law doesn’t apply to medical devices beyond wheelchairs, safety equipment, and some forms of construction and energy-linked hardware. Game consoles also aren’t included — as The Verge explained, brands have lobbied against this over fears of hardware-linked piracy.

Governor Polis argued the right to repair will ultimately reduce e-waste, save money, and boost small businesses. If your phone’s battery wears down, for example, you can install a new battery instead of either paying a premium for official repair or else replacing the device altogether.

Multiple states already have their own right to repair laws with varying levels of strictness, including California, Minnesota, and New York. Colorado’s law increases the pressure on companies to factor these laws into their design decisions.

Some tech giants have already changed their approaches after ignoring or opposing calls for more repairable products. Apple has gone from fighting these bills to supporting a nationwide commitment to the concept, and has engineered some of its more recent products (including the iPhone 15 line and MacBook Air) to make repairs somewhat easier.

Not every manufacturer has wholly embraced the idea. iFixit recently dropped its Samsung partnership over allegations the Galaxy phone maker wasn’t much interested in do-it-yourself repairs. 404 Media learned that Samsung required independent repair shops to not only report customers who fix devices with unofficial parts, but to “disassemble” those devices. While right to repair laws don’t necessarily address that behavior, they along with existing warranty law could mandate policy changes.