What Is Right to Repair?

Have you heard of Right to Repair? It’s a war that’s been waged as far back as 2001 with motor vehicles. It’s crept its way into everything from cell phones to computers. And most recently farmers have found themselves at the heart of what is a global fight for ownership. At its core, Right To Repair (R2R) is about having an option to go somewhere other than the dealer or the manufacturer when your product needs maintenance.

Even authorized repair centers are not allowed access to schematics and diagrams of how the device is put together in order to best suit the client’s need. Corporations force authorized dealers to meet high sales criteria in order to stay an authorized dealer, and in doing so force independent repair shops to charge high rates to replace a majority of an items parts in order to meet dealer demands. The loss of independent third party retailers and repair parts suppliers like Radioshack has also forced consumers to pay an inflated rate for private services on single items like electronics. Not only forcing consumers to upgrade at the producer’s whim, but forcing their items into obsoletion by refusing to recreate their parts or capping their capabilities.

You Gotta Fight for Your Right

Once a common practice in agriculture, owners and farmers were solely responsible for their regular maintenance and upkeep. Now, thanks to technology and the addition of software to most heavy equipment, repairs can cost up to tenfold of previous generations’. Starting in the mid 80’s with only certain parts of the tractor based around software, the 90’s saw a leap in what was software-based, and the 2000’s saw the entire piece of equipment run through a corporate-approved program. In less than 40 years, owner operators– most often multi generation farmers– have gradually lost their opportunity to cut costs, save money and best control their financial destinies. Just putting a larger piece of agriculture equipment on a tow can cost up to $1,000, plus a week’s time of maintenance and return trip to the farm. All during the time when the equipment is needed most. So, not only is the farmer losing money on the repair they no longer have access to, they also lose money on the harvest and late delivery times to distributors.

Typically, farmers would buy used parts for their machinery needs. Now, buying a used part will result in zero return as used parts are unauthorized by the dealers, forcing owners to buy new parts from the dealer at whatever cost they may see fit. Even replacing an entire computer or operating system would be a fruitless venture as the computer must be activated and authorized by the dealer. This has led to farmers turning to hacked versions of the operating system for even basic repairs.

Finding An Alternative

More and more farmers are turning to older equipment in order to avoid having to deal with R2R issues. If you purchase quality used equipment at auction you can avoid this issue at this time. This month, Compass has several quality tractors and pieces of groundskeeping and farming equipment available in their Whitfield County Public Surplus Auction on March 31 from Noon to 5PM ET. For more information on this event and the items available, visit SoldOnCompass.com or call (800) 729-6466.