The bill ensures a consumer’s right to repair products at shops other than authorised centres without infringing the product warranty.
The Consumer Guidance Society of India (CGSI) in association with Shri Vile Parle Kelavani Mandal’s Pravin Gandhi College of Law and Kohinoor Education Trust’s Schools of Management submitted its ‘Right to Repair Bill’ template to the Consumer Affairs Ministry, Government of India.
FPJ in its May 9 issue, for the first time wrote about CGSI, India’s oldest consumer body, looking to submit a bill that ensures a consumer's right to repair products at shops other than the authorised centres without infringing the product warranty.
CGSI also talked about a manual and tool kit that would give details of availability of the product and its spare parts.
Philosophy of the 'Right to Repair' Bill
“Basic philosophy behind this bill is that tomorrow if someone has looked into a product, the authorised dealers should not raise their hands to say that nothing can be done. Or for example, three years down the line if something was to happen to the washing machine, they should not say spare parts are no more available. It is true that technology is bringing in changes speedily, we also do not say that companies do not make money but there should not be any hanky-panky,” said Dr M S Kamath, general secretary of the CGSI.
The bill mentions about a minimum number of authorised repair center and independent repair providers, having an appellate body to look after the issue of repair complaint, compulsory registration of the product and the spare part details, time for which they will be available, establishment of a right to repair fund, penalty for failure to provide information, penalty for anti-repair practices, and penalty for fraudulent practices among others.
“We want the government to consider these points when they make a bill of their own. There are times when an authorised center is far away and it also charges more to repair a product or gadget. The idea of this bill is that a person can go to a nearby place and get it repaired at a cheaper rate without having to lose the warranty,” said Kamath.
Repair portal launched to display repair-related information for consumers
“We have already launched a portal related to repair where details like product manuals and videos are put up. We are encouraging companies to put up repair-related information on it. We started work on it some time though it is voluntary for the companies to be on board and put information related to repairs. We are yet to see CGSI’s template so we cannot comment offhand,” said a senior government officer from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs.
The CGSI had backed its demand for the rules after a survey it conducted. As per the survey findings, 95% of the respondents said that manufacturers should provide detailed repair manuals to customers, whereas 87% said they would be comfortable assembling a product if given a comprehensive manual. Nearly 69% believed that the Right to Repair Act will have an impact in reducing the environmental damage caused due to premature disposal of products while 94% opined that India should declare the Right to Repair Act as a basic right.