COVID-19 Crisis Increasing Demand for Repair, Disrupting Supply Chain for Electronic Devices
Minneapols, MN — A coalition of environmental advocates, small businesses, and repair experts are calling on the state of Minnesota to immediately address dangerous barriers to repair. With hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans sheltering in places, lack of access to repair parts and information could leave people completely isolated. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and the state’s legislature could prevent this by passing emergency Right to Repair legislation that guarantees Minnesotans access to repair parts, diagnostic software, and repair manuals during this crisis.
“This is going to be an increasing problem,” said Tim Schaefer, Environment Minnesota’s State Director. “This is something that we’re going to need to take care of sooner rather than later to prevent a bigger problem for our economy.”
“We are experiencing a need higher than we have ever seen with families needing technology needed for distance-learning,” said Tammy Gillard, Executive Director of Minnesota Computers for Schools. “We need access to parts and pieces because everything we get in we need to make a good, usable solution for families.”
Many Minnesota businesses that provide repaired or refurbished electronics are already struggling to keep up with the unexpected surge in orders. That problem will only get worse if Governor Walz and Minnesota’s legislature fail to act now to protect repair.
“We have been involved with the Right to Repair and the push for Fair Repair legislation for the past 6 years, asking for affordable access to repair parts and repair manuals,” said Amanda LaGrange, CEO of Tech Dump and Tech Discounts. “We knew the need for affordable technology in our community at that time, and now we are seeing fully new levels of demand.”
“Our customers are telling us that the orders for some critical items –such as security firewalls, routers, and switches for data centers– have lead times of up to two or three months for new equipment,” said Neil Vill, CEO of World Data Products. “Our customers cannot wait that long.”
“It’s clear that the solution that we needed before this happened is still the best solution during the crisis — and that’s just to open up access to parts and information to make repair as feasible as possible,” said Schaefer.
The coalition is calling for Governor Walz and leadership in the state’s legislature to act immediately. It’s also asking Governor Walz to temporarily implement Right to Repair by executive order if the legislature is unable to pass legislation this session.