Planned obsolescence has long been a consumer expense and irritation. Now brand-name profiteers are pushing a new abuse: Repair prevention. This treacherous corporate scheme does more than gouge buyers on the original purchase. Using both legal ruses and digital lockdowns, major manufacturers are quietly attempting to outlaw the natural instinct of us humanoids to fiddle with and improve the material things we own in order to charge us to fix it. Indeed, the absurdity and arrogance of their overreach is even more basic: They're out to corporatize the very idea of "owning."
Chances are you've bought an Apple iPad, Chevy Malibu, Amazon Kindle, Samsung TV, GE Frigidaire or some other brand-name consumer product equipped with a dazzling array of digital doodads. And in doing so, you unwittingly consented to the corporation's repair-prevention "gotcha" tucked into its license agreement. But in addition to deceiving and/or intimidating buyers into believing they're legally required to trek to the high-dollar Corporate Tech Genius Store for routine maintenance, powerhouse corporate marketers are increasingly forcing customers to bring all their repair business to them.