The European Commission has adopted a proposed new law to promote the repair of goods. It says that over the last decades, replacement has often been prioritised over repair whenever products become defective and insufficient incentives have been given to consumers to repair their goods after a warranty period expires.
The new law aims to make it easier and more cost-effective for consumers to repair, rather than replace, goods. Additionally, the Commission hopes that more demand will translate into a boost to the repair sector and provide incentives for producers and sellers to develop more sustainable business models.
It aims to ensure that more products are repaired within the warranty period, and that consumers have easier and cheaper options to repair products that are technically repairable when the warranty has expired or when the good is not functional anymore as a result of wear and tear.
The proposal introduces a new ‘right to repair' for consumers, both during the legal warranty period and once it has expired.
During the warranty period, sellers will be required to offer repair except when it is more expensive than replacement.
After the warranty period has expired, a new set of rights and tools will be available to consumers aimed at making repair an easy and accessible option:
- A right for consumers to claim repair to producers, for products that are technically repairable under EU law, like a washing machine or a TV. This aims to ensure that consumers always have someone to turn to when they opt to repair their products, as well as encourage producers to develop more sustainable business models.
- A producers' obligation to inform consumers about the products that they are obliged to repair themselves.
- An online matchmaking repair platform to connect consumers with repairers and sellers of refurbished goods in their area. The platform will enable searches by location and quality standards, helping consumers find attractive offers, and boosting visibility for repairers.
- A European Repair Information Form which consumers will be able to request from any repairer, bringing transparency to repair conditions and price, and make it easier for consumers to compare repair offers.
- A European quality standard for repair services will be developed to help consumers identify repairers who commit to a higher quality. This ‘easy repair' standard will be open to all repairers across the EU willing to commit to minimum quality standards, for example based on duration, or availability of products.
The Commission's proposal has to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council.
The proposed new law follows last year's package of European Green Deal measures aimed at making sustainable products the norm in the EU and boosting circular business models.