John Deere, reading own fine print, concedes right to some repair

After much fuss, John Deere has divulged a curious piece of information that allows customers the right to (some) repairs.

Farm equipment manufacturing giant John Deere has staunchly defended the company's repair monopoly on products that customers had bought outright. One of the reasons they cited for needing control over repairing all facets of Deere products was that customers might tamper with machinery and accidentally alter emissions outputs. Critics, consumer advocate groups and farmers en masse have rightfully called this manuever "bullshit". And it turns out, legally anyway, that it has to concede the point after much pressure from advocates.

A copy of the letter (PDF) shared with Fight to Repair, dated February 12, 2024 said that the company "recently discovered that the Operator's Manual for one or more of your products may be missing (a) statement, which clarifies aftermarket support requirements to maintain emissions compliance."

Deere had deliberately omitted the passage in its operator manual that specified emission-related repair rights.

The statement, included in the letter, under the heading "Required Emission-Related Information: Service Provider" reads:

A repair shop or person of the owner's choosing may maintain, replace, or repair emission control devices and systems with original or equivalent replacement parts. However, warranty, recall, and all other services paid for by John Deere must be performed at an authorized John Deere service center.

[…]The [Clean Air Act] specifies that "no such information may be withheld under section 7542(c) of this title if that information is provided (directly or indirectly) by the manufacturer to franchised dealers or other persons engaged in the repair, diagnosing, or servicing of motor vehicles or motor vehicle engines."


Even though the company has sheepishly added the legally required addendum, their behavior might not change.