Fixing America: Breaking Manufacturers’ Aftermarket Monopoly and Restoring Consumers’ Right to Repair
April 13, 2020
Open Markets Institute released Fixing America: Breaking Manufacturers’ Aftermarket Monopoly and Restoring Consumers’ Right to Repair on April 13, 2020. This report exposes how over time, a deadly combination of anemic antitrust enforcement and technological development have allowed manufacturers to purposefully adopt exclusionary practices and cut off the tools necessary for repair, in powerful and unprecedented ways. Fortunately, lawmakers, antitrust enforcers, and regulators have many policy mechanisms that can reopen repair markets.
This report explains how monopolizing repair allows corporations to extract additional revenue during the lifespans of their products, but this profiteering comes at a larger social cost. Repair restrictions drive up costs for consumers, increase wait times, drive out independent repair shops, produce unnecessary waste, and inhibit broader innovation and self-reliance.
In this paper, Open Markets explores the history of repair markets in the United States, the tactics that manufacturers use to restrict repair, the consequences of restricted repair markets, and the antitrust and other legal tools available to crack open cornered repair markets.