Every year billions of dollars are spent on smartphone screen repairs. That’s a lot of money spent yearly according to Catie Keck’s “Right to Repair is Less Complicated and More Important” article published May 10th, 2019. The author’s message is that electronics are easier and cheaper to replace than they are to repair. This is because large corporations over inflate their prices to repair phones to try and sway the customer to just upgrade their phone, rather than fix the old one. In this article she uses the classical orientation form of argument, this can be seen from her claim, her call to action, and the use of logos (logic) throughout her “essay”.
At the very beginning of Keck’s article, she discusses how companies like Samsung, and Apple are making it cheaper to upgrade your phone rather than repair their current devices because of “…manufacturer repair monopolies, if something you own breaks, you’re potentially looking at fixes offered exclusively through the manufacturer itself or an authorized agent—and those ain’t cheap”. In the big picture you can see that Samsung, Apple, and other large manufacturers for electronics even outside of phones, don’t provide first party parts (parts made directly from the manufacturer themselves) to the general public. Instead they partner with very few, specific repair shops - or in Apple’s case Best Buy - to repair their products. This in turn makes it impossible to buy a first party part as a consumer. On top of that, each manufacturer typically has special software tools put in place so that even if you did manage to get your hands on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/ first-party part, you would be able to physically install the new screen, or whatever part you’re replacing, but the part you replaced may not work because you didn’t do what the manufacturer requires on the software end of things. On top of that everything that these companies are doing is completely legal, because there are no laws against this practice.
Moving on we can see how Keck uses Logos as an appeal to a logical approach. She goes on to explain how “…Massachusetts led the way on right-to-repair reform with the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act…”. This act “mandated that automakers make available the parts and information necessary for repairs…” (Keck). Her point is obviously very logical; if Massachusetts can pass a law, and the federal government can incorporate that very same law on the federal level for cars, what makes it so difficult to do so for electronics? Another good logical argument that Keck makes is how 20 different states had proposed right to repair bills to go into effect on the state level, yet an unknown amount of bills have not been focused on or have just been dropped. This is very suspicious in the public’s eye and just in general. What Keck suggests is happening, is that “thanks … to shady corporate lobbying and the money manufacturers are willing to throw behind pushes against these initiatives. Her point is furthered even more-so when she ties in how New York shut down their right-to-repair initiative because Apple convinced them that lithium ion batteries are extremely dangerous and burst in flames easily. This in fact is obviously not true, I have been repairing phones for close to 4 years and never have I accidentally punctured the battery or started a fire.
The third piece used in her article that makes it a classical argument is her peroratio, or call to action. Her call to action is through legislation. She goes onto say that “…senators (have) zeroed in on the agriculture and farming sector, right-to-repair groups have been pushing for state-level legislation…” So, if you were to reach out to your local legislation you may be able to get the ball rolling that way. If we as consumers can convince even one state to incorporate any form of right to repair, all the states would follow. Even if you don’t reach out on the local level, you’ll still be able to make a difference through your presidential vote.
As the technology around us evolves, the laws should too. However, technology is evolving at a rate where governmental legislation can’t and/or won’t keep up. If the government won’t pick the ball up, we as consumers and individuals must and that’s what Keck is trying to get across; is that we need to be able to repair our own things at wherever. Otherwise it’ll be as though large corporations bent all of us over.