The right to repair could save you a lot of cash

It’s a conundrum almost every consumer can relate to: you go to get something repaired only to find out it’s cheaper to buy a brand new one. That’s why the federal government is looking to make it easier for people to repair their own things. 

Driving the news: The 2023 federal budget introduced a goal to give Canadians the "right to repair" the stuff the buy.

  • "Devices and appliances should be easy to repair, spare parts should be readily accessible, and companies should not be able to prevent repairs with complex programming or hard-to-obtain bespoke parts," the budget says.

Why it’s happening: The feds don't really expect most people will fix their own laptops and phones, but enshrining the right to repair in law could make it possible for independent repair shops to service more of your devices. 

  • Many companies try to force you to go to a repair service that they either own or register—and no surprise, those are often more expensive than indy shops.

Yes, but: In some places, right-to-repair laws haven't had the intended effect, with companies managing to comply without making it much easier for consumers.

  • An Apple phone repair kit, for example, only costs US$49 to rent for a week, but they weigh 79 pounds and Apple puts a US$1,200 hold on your credit card until they get the toolkit back.

Why it matters: Right-to-repair laws could save you money and time, but the devil will be in the details of how the rules are written. In the meantime, here are 100 repairs you can do on your own already.