Brice Bunner

Why AllState getting in on the Right-to-Repair resistance is good for you


Image ©: TechbullionYou don’t own the device you’re reading this on. Did you know that? Even if it’s a phone, tablet, or laptop that you purchased with your own money, your usage is only temporary. That’s because at the moment, manufacturers like Apple and Google are fighting the R2R (Right to Repair) bill. But, thankfully, the little guys just got a big boost. When a company the size of AllState purchases a repair shop, chances are the tide will turn on this story. But what that new tide will bring is the real question.

Ownership rights with technologyImage ©: Student Loan Hero

What if the auto dealership called and told you they were going to seize your car because your mechanic put in after-market brake bulbs? I’d imagine you’d say “but this is my car that I purchased with my own money!” Unfortunately, the idea of ownership has become a little less solid over the past few years. With the rise of cellular contracts and liability clauses for social-media use, tech giants have been able to wheedle their way into the fabric of what you've always considered "yours."

The truth is that, right now, Apple and Google have the legal right to remotely turn off your phone, tablet, or laptop if they feel you’ve breached the contract you blazed through when you first booted up your device. You know, that “accept” button you clicked—well, it dutifully evaporated your rights of ownership.

Getting the popular kid on your side

We learned from the playground that one of the best ways to insulate yourself from bullying is to be friends with the popular kids. When Allstate decided to purchase a repair shop, it was kind of like the popular kid entering the playground. Only, we still aren’t sure which side that new kid is on.

On one hand, this move could be instrumental in bringing even more buy-in from other corporate companies. Maybe enough to finally swell the interest enough to fight the tech giants. Getting support from AllState could mean Apple and their ilk will back down from the fight, or work to find a more economical solution.

But on the other hand, we know that Allstate is not a technology company. So, what could their true motive be? They’re looking to streamline their coverage by bringing technology appraisals and payouts in house. Making repairs vertical means they can curtail costs more.

This is great that a high-profile company is looking to be green, but it could create other problems for smaller repair shops. Maybe Allstate takes over the repair industry to such a scale that those little guys still can’t turn a profit. After all, it would make sense for them to create exclusive relationships with Apple and Google.

Sustainable choices can be financial

Regardless of what happens to the smaller repair shops, the outcome is that Allstate will be providing refurbished or repaired devices to their customers. That’s a sustainable business model in a horribly unsustainable industry, and we are all for that. But as the R2R bill continues in its back and forth, we are hopeful that Allstate’s involvement will help push the bill through.

The takeaway, however, is that Allstate’s purchase was a financial one that translates easily to sustainability. It’s important to note that often businesses miss this financial component. But by its nature, sustainability is a financially prudent move, since it aims to sustain resources in an ongoing way. How much more sustainable would your business be if it thought of those actions as financial rather than green?

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