Farmers Unions, Right To Repair Coalition Files FTC Complaint Against John Deere

from the do-not-pass-go,-do-not-collect-$200 dept

Not only have corporate efforts to monopolize repair resulted in a flood of proposed state and federal laws, the idea was also included in the Biden Administration’s recent executive order on monopoly power and competition. Said order urged the FTC to tighten up its rules on repair monopolization efforts, whether it’s ham-fisted DRM, or making repair manuals, parts, and diagnostics hard to come by.

At the receiving end of much of the movement’s ire has been John Deere, whose draconian repair restrictions on agricultural equipment often result in customers having to pay an arm and a leg to get their tractors repaired. Promises by the company to improve things haven’t materialized, resulting in the company getting hit with numerous, simultaneous lawsuits.

Last week, a coalition of right to repair advocates, hand in hand with several farmers unions, filed their first formal complaint with the FTC, putting the agency’s recent promises to the test:

“While historically Deere has outcompeted rivals to win farmers’ and ranchers’ business, in recent years it has resorted to leveraging its monopoly power in the market for large agricultural equipment to dominate the repair market for its equipment,” the complaint says. “

A farmer who purchases Deere equipment today may not realize that Deere, under the guise of technological advancement, has made it impossible for farmers to make important repairs themselves or to go to an independent repair shop. Even where purchasers of Deere equipment are aware that Deere requires important repairs to be performed only by Deere-authorized technicians, Deere’s market dominance leaves these purchasers little to no choice but to submit to Deere’s terms.”

The repair asks the FTC to formally acknowledge that John Deere has attempted to monopolize repair through the combination of restrictive, unnecessary DRM and its exclusive repair network, which often forces rural tractor owners to travel hundreds of miles simply to repair their own equipment.

A recent report by US PIRG found that mass consolidation in dealerships has resulted in one dealership chain for every 12,018 farms and every 5.3 million acres of American farmland. That consolidation is clearly by design, and part of the company’s attempts to force Americans to pay significantly more money to repair essential equipment.

Recognizing that this movement isn’t going anywhere and hoping to avoid legislation forcing their hand, several companies like Apple have slowly backed away some of their harsher repair restrictions. Companies that continue to force the issue simply find they’ve driven additional support to a movement that quickly shifted from niche nerd fare to the mainstream.

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Companies: john deere

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Comments on “Farmers Unions, Right To Repair Coalition Files FTC Complaint Against John Deere”

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Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: No Surprise that Most Farmers Buy John Deere

Have you tried to buy a tractor by
* International Harvester
* McCormick
* Farm-All
* Deering
* Case
recently? There are a lot fewer options now than there were a few decades ago. Not saying that there are none, I believe Ford still makes tractors, but there has been a lot of market consolidation.

(preview still borken)

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