With at least four lawsuits pending, John Deere appears to be giving a little in the right to repair battle that is still ongoing in the US.

From May of this year, customer service advisors will be available for customers and independent repair shops to purchase directly from the company through the John Deere website.

Diagnostic software

The company describes service advisor as "enabling customers to diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair their own equipment".

Up until now it has only been available through John Deere dealerships and there have been suggestions that the agents were withholding it from sale.

Indeed, Eagle Lake Farms which is the plaintiff in the latest case, filed on March 15, 2022 in Illinois U.S, accuses John Deere of "contractually prohibiting the dealerships from providing farmers and independent repair shops with access to the same software and repair tools the dealerships" has.

Direct purchase now possible

John Deere said in a statement, released on March 21, that "equipment owners and independent repair shops will have expanded access to customer service advisor".

Deere also claimed in the statement that the software is already available through its dealers, which begs the question as to quite what it is that is being enlarged; is it just the availability, or are there parts of it that hitherto have not been accessible to independents?

Being able to obtain it directly from the company, rather than through its agents, will mean that accusations of withholding the software can no longer stand, weakening the argument that it is trying to create a monopoly for its dealer network when it comes to repairs.

Backing off after lawsuits?

Naturally, the company is not acknowledging that this is any form of concession. Yet it does, at the very least, address a major concern of those who have been vocal in their accusations against Deere in the right-to-repair argument.

The company has also promised that "enhancements in 2023 will include the ability to remotely download secure software updates to embedded controllers".