The European Commission set out a proposal on common rules to promote the repair of consumer goods in March 2023. On 1 February 2024, the European Parliament and Council reached a provisional political agreement on the proposal.
🌱 How will the new rules facilitate repairs?
Under the new rules, the legal guarantee for consumers will be prolonged by one year if a defect appears within the original legal guarantee and they consequently choose to have their product repaired. Moreover, after the legal guarantee expires, consumers can request “easier and cheaper repair of defects in […] products that must be technically repairable”. This, amongst others, includes smartphones, tablets, dishwashers, and washing machines. To strengthen the repair market, manufacturers must publish information about the repair services they offer. This includes “indicative prices of the most common repairs”. The new rules also set out that spare parts for “technically repairable goods” must be made available at a reasonable price. In line with this, manufacturers are being banned from creating barriers to repairs through hardware, software, or contractual clauses. Concretely this means that manufacturers may – for example – not take measure to try to prevent the “use of second-hand, compatible and 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers”.
🌱 What practical support for repairs will there be in the EU Member States?
Under the new rules, EU Member States will have to take at least one measure to promote repairs domestically. The options for this include supporting local repair initiatives (such as repair cafés), offering repair vouchers or VAT reductions, or setting up repair funds. Notably, EU Member States can request support through EU funds for these measures. Additionally, a European repair platform will be set up under the new rules. The platform will make it easier for consumers to search for and find repairers locally. Repairers, including SMEs, can advertise their services through the platform to increase their visibility.
🌱 What happens next?
The European Parliament and Council must now formally adopt their political agreement. Once it has been adopted, the new directive must be published in the official journal of the European Union. The directive will come into force 20 days after this, and EU Member States will then have a 24-month period to transpose the directive into their national laws. The directive is expected to “result in savings for consumers, boost circular economy and support the objectives of sustainable consumption and of the European Green Deal by reducing waste”.