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Right to repair: Making repair easier and more appealing to consumers

24 април 2024 09:14, Людмила Калъпчиева
Излъчване: Туида Нюз преди около 1 месец, брой четения: 127
European Parliament

Manufacturer has to repair a product for a reasonable price and within a reasonable timeframe after the legal guarantee period

Access to spare parts, tools and repair information for consumers

Incentives to opt for repair, such as repair vouchers and funds

Online platforms will assist consumers in finding local repair services and shops selling refurbished goods

 

The new rules reinforce the right to repair, aim to reduce waste and bolster the repair sector by making it easier and more cost-effective to repair goods.

 

On Tuesday, Parliament adopted the directive on the so-called “right to repair” for consumers with 584 votes in favour, 3 against and 14 abstentions. The rules clarify the obligations for manufacturers to repair goods and encourage consumers to extend a product’s lifecycle through repair.

 

 

Obligation to repair

 

 

The new rules ensure that manufacturers provide timely and cost-effective repair services and inform consumers about their rights to repair. Goods repaired under the warranty will benefit from an additional one-year extension of the legal guarantee, further incentivising consumers to choose repair instead of replacement.

 

 

After the legal guarantee has expired, the manufacturer is still required to repair common household products, which are technically repairable under EU law, such as washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and even smartphones. The list of product categories can be extended over time. Consumers may also borrow a device whilst theirs is being repaired or, if it cannot be fixed, opt for a refurbished unit as an alternative.

 

 

Information on repair conditions and services

 

 

A European information form can be offered to consumers to help them assess and compare repair services (detailing the nature of the defect, price and duration of the repair). To make the repair process easier, a European online platform with national sections will be set up to help consumers easily find local repair shops, sellers of refurbished goods, buyers of defective items or community-led repair initiatives, such as repair cafes.

 

 

Revitalising the repair market

 

 

The rules aim to strengthen the EU repair market and reduce repair costs for consumers. Manufacturers will have to provide spare parts and tools at a reasonable price and will be prohibited from using contractual clauses, hardware or software techniques that obstruct repairs. In particular, they cannot impede the use of second-hand or 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers, nor can they refuse to repair a product solely for economic reasons or because it was previously repaired by someone else.

 

 

Promoting affordable repair

 

 

To make repairs more affordable, each member state will have to implement at least one measure to promote repair, such as repair vouchers and funds, conducting information campaigns, offering repair courses or supporting for community-led repair spaces.

 

 

Quote

 

Rapporteur René Repasi (S&D, DE) said: “Consumers’ right to repair products will now become a reality. It will be easier and cheaper to repair instead of purchase new, expensive items. This is a significant achievement for Parliament and its commitment to empower consumers in the fight against climate change. The new legislation extends legal guarantees by 12 months when opting for repair, gives better access to spare parts and ensures easier, cheaper and faster repair.”

 

Next steps

 

 

Once the directive is formally approved by Council and published in the EU Official Journal, member states will have 24 months to transpose it into national law.

 

 

Background

 

 

According to the European Commission, the premature disposal of consumer goods produces 261 million tons of CO2-equivalent emissions, consumes 30 million tonnes of resources, and generates 35 million tonnes of waste in the EU each year. Consumers also lose about €12 billion yearly by replacing goods rather than repairing them. Additionally, the new rules are expected to bring €4.8 billion in growth and investment within the EU. The directive complements other new EU rules on Ecodesign and on Empowering consumers for the green transition.

 

Conference on the future of Europe

 

The legislation responds directly to citizens’ demands, as expressed in the Conference on the Future of Europe. More concretely, proposals 5(6), (7), (10) and 11(2) on sustainable consumption and sustainable growth and innovation - launching a “repair” platform; introducing measures to promote a right to repair and access to spare parts; taking EU action to incentivise consumers to use products for longer; and addressing planned obsolescence and ensuring the right to repair.