Consumers’ ‘right to repair,’ merger rules, clothing tags set for FTC vote By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S Federal Trade Commission will vote Wednesday on whether to make it a priority to address the issue of manufacturers pushing consumers to use licensed dealers for repairs of smartphones to farm equipment, a practice that critics call anti-competitive.

The agency will vote on the “right to repair” issue based on a report released in May that manufacturers use various ways to discourage repairs by third parties that often charge consumers less than dealers, it said in a statement. These include disparaging spare parts not made by the manufacturer, and license agreements.

The issue was one of dozens spelled out in an executive order that the Biden White House put out this month.

The FTC’s commissioners, three Democrats and two Republicans, will also vote in an unusual open meeting on whether to rescind a 1995 policy statement.

If rescinded, a company that had been stopped from proceeding with one merger must give prior notice to the FTC if it is contemplating a similar transaction. The FTC could then stop the new transaction without spending months to investigate the new deal.

The FTC will also vote on whether to rescind a rule requiring clothing manufacturers to spell out how their clothing should be cared for.

The agency’s new progressive Chair Lina Khan held the FTC’s first open meeting in years on July 1.

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