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Bossfight: Allstate Insurance enters the Right to Repair fight, loans its lobbyists to fight Apple

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The Right to Repair movement got state legislatures to consider more than a dozen Right to Repair bills last year, and have made great strides in the EU and elsewhere, but for every two steps forward they manage, they're forced a step or two back by giant corporate lobbyists, led by Apple, who want to ensure that third parties can't repair products, and that a manufacturer's decision it's time to retire a product from the market won't be challenged by independent repair depots. Repair is a huge industry -- depending on how you measure it, it's between 1-4% of US GDP. And most of that business is done by mom-and-pop shops and medium-sized service depots. That diffused market means that repair dollars stay in their communities, rather than being stashed overseas by tax-dodgers like Apple. But it also means that the companies who lose when Right to Repair is defeated have to overcome a lot of coordination costs to push back effectively. All that is about to change: Allstate, a giant insurance company, has just acquired Icracked, a large phone repair chain (Allstate made the acquisition through its Squaretrade subsidiary, which offers third-party warranties on a variety of products). Allstate has pledged to use its might to fight for Right to Repair, loaning R2R activists its state lobbyists to help see bills through. Allstate, the fourth-largest insurance company in the country, is an ally the movement is happy to have. "Right now, the struggle on right to repair is us Davids versus a whole slew of Goliaths,” Nathan Proctor, the Director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at US PIRG told me in an email. Read the rest

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