On Thursday, July 12, come to the Champaign Public Library from 1-3 PM for assistance with troubleshooting or repairing your electronic devices. Staff will be set up in the Busey Bank Conference room on the library’s second floor. Feel free to stop by even if you just have questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment to come into our campus workshop at a later date to work on your device.
Have questions about your broken electronic device or our variety of services? Ask us at our info booth right next to the UI Sustainable Student Farm Stand on the Quad where you can find a variety of tasty fruits, vegetables, and herbs. We’ll be there outside the Illini Union from 11AM-2PM. You can learn about volunteer opportunities or set up an appointment to come into our campus workshop at a later date to work on your device.
Have questions about your broken or damaged electronic devices? Stop in at our next pop-up repair clinic and we can assist you with troubleshooting and repairing your devices.
We’ll be at the UIUC Undergraduate Library Media Commons on Thursday, June 28 from 1-3 PM. Feel free to stop by even if you just have questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment to come into our campus workshop at a later date to work on your device.
Fill out our Diagnostic Form ahead of time to provide some information on the device and the issue you’re having. That will allow us to a do a little research on the problem so your one-on-one time is used more efficiently.
As Rachel Clun writes in the June 19, 2018 Sydney Morning Herald, Apple US has been find for making false or misleading representations to Australian consumers about their consumer rights. Note that $9 million Australian is equal to $6.6 million USD.
‘Apple has been fined $9 million by the Federal Court for telling some Australian iPad and iPhone owners they could not have devices fixed as they had been previously repaired by a third party. The court action was started by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) after it received complaints about ‘error 53’, which disabled some Apple devices after an operating system update was downloaded. “[The customers said] they were being refused a remedy of any kind by Apple on the basis that their device had had unauthorised repairs, and those repairs could be as minor as just having a cracked screen replaced on an iPhone or iPad, which all of us need to do from time to time,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said. “So these consumers were being told, ‘because you’ve had this third party repair, you are not entitled to any remedy’.” Ms Court said that is not the case under Australian Consumer Law. ” Customers and consumers are free to have screens and other repairs done on their devices by third-party repairers, so long as that repair doesn’t damage the underlying system of the phone,” she said.’
ACCC has found that 5000 consumers may have been affected by the company’s false or misleading statements.
This outcome is surely encouraging for those who advocate for the consumer ‘Right to Repair’ here in the US. To learn more about the ‘right to repair,’ see https://illini-gadget-garage.istc.illinois.edu/proposed-right-to-repair-legislation-in-illinois/ and https://repair.org/association/.
Have questions about your broken or damaged electronic devices? Own a small appliance with minor performance issues? Stop by the Champaign Public Library’s Douglass Branch on Thursday June 21, from 1-3 pm for troubleshooting and repair assistance from the Illini Gadget Garage crew! Feel free to stop by even if you just have questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment to come into our campus workshop at a later date to work on your device.
See the Facebook event for details. We’ll be at the CPL Douglass Branch once a month during the summer for pop-ups. For additional information on pop-ups, see our Facebook page or our Upcoming Events page.
We want to help spread awareness of like-minded projects that foster repair, reuse, consumer empowerment, and community building throughout the world. So we’re highlighting these “kindred spirits” in a series of posts on “Repair Elsewhere.” Look for other posts in the series within the “Repair” category in our post archives or by entering “repair elsewhere” in the site search bar.
The Austrian city of Graz just became one of our favorite places in the world! Why, you ask? Because residents of Graz are actually paid to repair their electronic devices rather than replace them. According to a May 5, 2018 report on the RREUSE web site,
“The Austrian city of Graz has become a non-proclaimed European capital of repair following the introduction of a new funding programme encouraging households to repair rather than replace their electronic devices. Launched in 2017, the scheme gives citizens the opportunity to be reimbursed for up to 50% of repair costs amounting to a maximum of 100 EUR per year. In its first year of operation over 160 households benefitted from this ‘repair bonus,’ with over 90 claims having been registered in the first two months of 2018, indicating a significant rise in interest. The reimbursements apply exclusively to repairs of electrical devices carried out by authorised services registered in the ‘Austrian Repair Guide.'” As of the date this post was written, 100 Euros equal $117.35 (USD).
The City of Graz Department of Environment manages this repair incentive program, recognizing the fact that buying a new device is often cheaper than paying to repair a device already owned. This reality of course creates an economic incentive to discard electronics and appliances before the products have ceased being useful–resulting in more material entering waste streams, and more resources being invested in the manufacture of new products than might otherwise be the case.
The article further points out “In addition to the repair bonus, Graz has also introduced a parallel funding instrument of up to 1200 EUR per year which is available for non-commercial repair initiatives such as repair cafes in order to cover cost of operation, consumables or public relations activities.” Again, as of the date of writing this post, 1200 Euros equals $1404.18 (USD).
We wish there was a similar scheme to incentivize repair, and to support non-commercial repair initiatives (like the Illini Gadget Garage) here in Illinois, or anywhere in the US for that matter!
We applaud the Graz Department of Environment for recognizing the economic barrier to repair and taken action accordingly. If repair cost (or perception of how much repair might cost) is making you to consider replacing an electronic device or small appliance, consider coming in to the Illini Gadget Garage. We’ll guide you through troubleshooting the problem, and repairing the item yourself, if you’re open to that. The cost of a new part is often so much cheaper than buying a new device, especially if you’re willing to do the labor yourself. If you don’t have the time to try our collaborative repair approach, if repairs required are complex, or if you ultimately decide not to give the “do-it-together” route a try, we can help you research local repair options (though we cannot refer you to specific shops and do not endorse any particular businesses). We’ll help you identify shops that work on the type of device you need assistance with, so you can call them to ask about costs, check out online reviews, etc. We’re here to help you become more educated about repair and more comfortable with considering repair before you make any decisions about recycling, donating, or throwing away a device. Note that we can help you find local recycling and donation options too, if that’s needed.
We’re not likely to open a branch of the Illini Gadget Garage in Austria any time soon, but if you’re interested in making a donation to support our free-to-public collaborative repair services, see the “Donate Form” page for more information (and thank you!).
Tomorrow, Thursday June 14, come to the Champaign Public Library from 1-3 PM for assistance with troubleshooting or repairing your electronic devices. Staff will be set up in the Busey Bank Conference room on the library’s second floor. Feel free to stop by even if you just have questions, or if you want to schedule an appointment to come into our campus workshop at a later date to work on your device.
Join the Illini Gadget Garage at the Champaign Public Library (Foundation meeting room, 2nd floor) this Saturday, June 9th from 1:30-3:30 PM to learn how to bring new life into old electronics just with a bit of cleaning and TLC. A short presentation will demonstrate some of the simple ways that cleaning your devices can keep them functioning well and in use longer. After the presentation, there will be a workshop session where you can try out some of your newly learned cleaning processes on devices that you bring in. The Illini Gadget Garage staff will provide some useful household cleaning products to help scrub up those dingy devices.
See the Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/2279158958780787/.
Illinois is one of 12 states currently with proposed legislation that would support what is called the “right to repair”—that is, the right of consumers and smaller independent repair businesses to have access to instructions, parts, and tools necessary to repair electronics. If passed into law, this type of legislation would require manufacturers of electronic equipment to sell repair parts and release service information to consumers and independent repair shops.
For more information on the “right to repair” movement, see our previous posts, Introducing Right to Repair and its Roots in the Automotive Industry and Right to Repair and the Tech Industry. You should also check the web site of the Repair Association, previously the Digital Right to Repair Coalition, a group which advocates for the repair industry and legislation to protect consumers’ right to repair the devices they own, or to take them for repair to the repair shop of their choice (not just those controlled by the manufacturers). See their “Statement of Principles” at https://repair.org/association/. This page also includes a summary of the history of the right to repair movement.
In Illinois the proposed bill is called the Digital Fair Repair Act (HB 3030). See the full text of the bill on the Illinois General Assembly web site. According to the General Assembly site, that bill was referred to the House Rules Committee in March 2017 and no recent action has taken place. If you’re interested in contacting your elected officials to express your support for this bill, the Repair Association has made it easy for you, with a form that will help you contact legislators based on the zip code you enter–see https://illinois.repair.org/. Of course, the form can also assist you in determining your legislators if you care to contact them and oppose the bill.
Other states with similar proposed legislation include Nebraska, New York, Minnesota, Kansas, Massachusetts, Wyoming, Tennessee, North Carolina, Iowa, Missouri, and New Jersey. To learn more about proposed legislation in those states, see https://repair.org/stand-up/.
Incidentally, as in so many cases, the European Union is ahead of the US in terms of facilitating the repair of consumer products and thinking about designing products with repair in mind in the first place. On July 4, 2017 the European Parliament voted to approve a resolution calling on the European Commission, member countries and producers to take steps to improve repairability. While the resolution doesn’t place requirements into law, it does illustrate the desire of elected officials to address the issue of repair and design for repair in future laws and voluntary programs. See the 7/13/17 E-Scrap News article “EU body takes aim at planned obsolescence in devices“ written by Jared Paben for further information.