The European Commission wants to make ‘Right to repair’ a European policy. A new proposal should make it easier for customers to have broken items repaired, instead of being forced to replace them.
Part of Green Deal
The initiative is part of the Green Deal, which aims to create a more circular and sustainable economy. The Commission says it wants to boost the repair sector itself, but also encourage companies to adopt more sustainable business models.
Within the legal guarantee period, sellers will have to repair (as opposed to replace) products free of charge, within a reasonable period and without inconveniencing consumers. The proposal does provide for one important exception: if repair is more expensive or costs the same as replacing the appliance, replacement will still be allowed.
Outside the guarantee period, producers will have to repair a number of products for ten years if consumers so request. Among others, televisions, washing machines, hoovers, dishwashers and refrigerators are among those “always repairable” goods, unless repair has become truly impossible.
Spare parts and repair platforms
This also means that spare parts should always remain available, up to ten years after an item is taken out of production. Indeed, a key component of the proposal is that anyone has the right to tinker with products, not just the manufacturer itself.
The EU wants to encourage independent repair services, even seeking to set up national online repair platforms so that people can connect with repairers and providers of ‘refurbished’ products in their neighbourhood. By breaking the monopoly of manufacturers, the Commission hopes repairs will become more affordable.
However, the Commission’s proposal still has to pass the European Parliament and the European Council. If adopted, it will also be up to individual member states to translate it into national legislation.