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US DOJ Comments On Right To Repair John Deere Case

 |  February 15, 2023

This week the Department of Justice (DOJ) urged a federal court in Illinois not to throw out a class action suit against John Deere over repair restrictions.

For the past few years John Deere has been at the center of the right-to-repair debate. The company put software locks on equipment that only authorized dealers can disable, preventing farmers or an independent repair shop from diagnosing and fixing a machine.  

In 2022 Deere maintained that 98% of repairs can be done without using an authorized dealership and it recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the American Farm Bureau Federation recommitting to farmers having access to repair information and tools.

Related: New Antitrust Suit Goes After John Deere Over Tractor Repair

The DOJ filing said that farmers could face higher repair costs due to the restrictions on repairing their equipment and the court should reject Deere’s stance that a competitive market for tractors and other agricultural equipment equates to a competitive market for repairs.

The DOJ filing also said repair restrictions increase financial pressures on farmers, noting an “uptick in family farmer bankruptcies nationwide” since 2014: “These various machines, or ‘tractors’ for short, enable American agriculture. When they break or fail to operate and repair markets function poorly, agriculture suffers.” the filing said.