Repair advocates Repair.org and U.S. PIRG have called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate John Deere for potential violations of the Clean Air Act.
Research done by Repair.org, the organization states, has “discovered that Deere’s repair restrictions seem to run contrary to Clean Air Act requirements related to independent repair and required certifications. However, Deere restricts access to necessary repair software to only its branded technicians and dealerships.”
“John Deere is breaking the law and squeezing farmers every day,” says Willie Cade, Repair.org board member. “Deere has been locking farmers out of their own tractors while reporting that farmers have full repair choice…EPA should figure out exactly what is happening and take corrective action to stop it.”
John Deere announced in March 2022 that it would sell Customer Service Advisor, a software tool that provides limited diagnostic and repair capabilities, directly to consumers. The company has also pointed to EPA and environmental concerns as reasons that they refuse to provide access to materials needed in fixing equipment, notes Repair.org and PIRG.
The EPA requires that manufacturers of nonroad diesel engines apply and obtain a certificate of conformity with the Clean Air Act on an annual basis. If the EPA deems that a manufacturer fails to comply with emissions standards or the Clean Air Act, it can deny or revoke a company’s certification.
“Federal agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission are starting to crack down on illegal repair restrictions,” says Repair.org executive director Gay Gordon-Byrne, referring to recent FTC actions against Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment, Harley Davidson and Weber Grills. “Companies like Deere should be warned: If you are illegally blocking customer repair, we’re going to work to hold you accountable.”