Governor Gavin Newsom recently approved California’s SB 244, also referred to as the Right to
Repair Act, positioning California as a pivotal state advocating
for comprehensive electronics or appliance repair rights. Effective
on July 1, 2024, the legislation will have profound implications
for consumers, independent service repair facilities, and
electronics and appliance manufacturers.

The Right to Repair Act follows in the footsteps of similar laws
in several other states. In December of 2022, New York signed into
law the Digital Fair Repair Act, which requires original equipment
manufacturers (OEMs) to make available to independent repair
providers and consumers the same diagnostic and repair information
that is available to authorized repair providers. Shortly
thereafter, Minnesota and Colorado followed suit. The Minnesota law
follows New York’s in many respects but requires OEMs to make
parts and documentation available to consumers regardless of
whether they are also made available to authorized repair
providers. Colorado’s version of the law has similar
requirements to Minnesota’s law, but mainly applies to farming

The European Union took a different approach. Rather than
forcing OEMs to provide parts and documentation to consumers and
independent repair providers, the EU law imposes an obligation on
all entities providing repairs to repair certain goods (household
washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, and electronic
displays) if the goods meet repairability requirements spelled out
in other EU legislation. Notably, mobile phones, cordless phones,
and tablets are forecasted as the next set of goods to carry
repairability obligations for manufacturers.

Compared to these previously enacted laws, California’s
Right to Repair Act most closely resembles that of Minnesota.

Changes from Previous Obligations

  • Self-service. Currently, under the
    Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, similar obligations are imposed
    on manufacturers, but the documentation and parts need only be
    shared with service providers. Under the Right to Repair Act,
    consumers will have direct access to the documentation, parts, and
  • Greater coverage of electronics and
    The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act imposes
    obligations on manufacturers only for electronics or appliances
    carrying an express warranty from the manufacturer. The Right to
    Repair Act removes the requirement of an express warranty as a

Key Provisions of the Right to Repair Act

  • Manufacturers’ obligations. Central to the
    act is the directive compelling manufacturers to provide, on fair
    and reasonable terms, consumers, service and repair facilities, and
    service dealers with both sufficient documentation and functional
    parts and tools (including updates) to diagnose, maintain, or
    repair electronics and appliances. That directive applies to a wide
    range of electronics and appliances that are sold in California,
    from smartphones and tablets to laptops and televisions. The
    directive only applies to products with minimum retail prices
    ranging from $50 to $99.99 or greater than $100, depending on the
    product. Products related to infrastructure (e.g., agricultural,
    utility, industrial, mining, outdoor power, and garden equipment),
    alarm systems, and video game consoles are excluded.
  • Requirements for documentation. The act
    requires OEMs to provide sufficient documentation, including
    manuals, diagrams, reporting output, service code descriptions, and
    other materials that the OEM uses or provides to an authorized
    repair provider to diagnose, maintain, or repair the product.
  • Requirements for parts and tools. The act also
    requires OEMs to provide functional parts for their products,
    including replacement parts or an assembly of parts, both new and
    used, that a manufacturer makes available to authorized repair
    providers. Tools include hardware and software for diagnosis,
    maintenance, repair, calibration, or restoration of operability for
    electronics or appliances.
  • Requirements for fair and reasonable terms.
    Manufacturers must offer documentation, tools, and parts on the
    most favorable terms with which the same were provided to an
    authorized repair provider. If a manufacturer does not use an
    authorized repair provider, then documentation, tools, and parts
    must be offered at cost (not including research and development
    (R&D) expenses).
  • Length of obligations. If the electronics or
    appliances are sold for $50 to $99.99, the OEM’s obligations
    last for three years from the date the last model or type was
    manufactured. If the electronics or appliances are sold for more
    than $100, the OEM’s obligation lasts for seven years from the
    date the last model or type was manufactured.
  • Exceptions to manufacturers’ obligations.
    Manufacturers that provide equivalent or better, readily available
    replacements to consumers for free are not required to provide
    documentation, tools, or parts to anyone. Additionally,
    manufacturers are not required to divulge trade secrets, license
    any intellectual property (IP), or distribute the source code for
    any electronics or appliances.

Service providers’ obligations. Service
providers that are not authorized dealers must provide written
notice to consumers informing the consumer that it is not an
authorized dealer prior to servicing any electronics or appliances.
And such service providers must disclose if non-OEM replacement
parts will be utilized.


The Right to Repair Act underscores California’s commitment
to ensuring that consumers are provided reasonable options and
fosters a competitive service provider industry. However, the act
has its boundaries. It does not encompass every electronic product
or appliance, nor does it mandate unrestricted access to all repair
resources of a manufacturer. Nonetheless, it gives consumers and
service providers sufficient knowledge and substance to participate
and compete in the service provider industry.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.