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The Productivity Commission’s ‘Right to Repair’ inquiry has highlighted the behaviour of original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and repairers, flagging potential issues with existing laws.

As outlined in the Commission’s issues paper for the inquiry, the government has set out to assess the costs and benefits of a right to repair products in Australia and the impact that regulation or policy changes could have on market offerings for repair services and replacement products. 

Within the paper, the behaviour of manufacturers, and whether their actions support or harm consumers, was identified as a key issue. 

“The Commission is seeking to determine whether competition in the primary market is sufficient to offset the effects of any OEM control in the repair market, including considering the impact of switching costs, lock‑in and information limitations on consumer decision making,” the paper noted. 

Repair markets, the paper outlined, are mostly influenced by OEMs, which typically operate either their own maintenance and repair arm or contract a network of authorised repairers.