Right to repair rules get overwhelming EU Parliament support

21 Nov 2023

Image: © Tomasz/Stock.adobe.com

The proposed rules would make sellers prioritise repair options for consumers and aim to reduce some of the cost barriers in the repair sector.

The European Parliament has voted in support of enhanced right to repair rules that aim to reduce waste and offer greater repair options for consumers.

The rules received an overwhelming majority of 590 votes in favour, compared to 15 votes against and 15 abstentions. These measures were proposed earlier this year as a way boost the repairs industry as well as encourage more sustainable consumption among EU citizens.

The draft legislation will let consumers choose to repair rather than buy, even after the warranty of their product expires.

The rules will make sellers prioritise repair during the statutory warranty period if it is cheaper or equal in cost to replace a product, unless repair is not feasible or is “inconvenient” for the consumer. MEPs have also proposed extending the legal guarantee for one year after a product has been repaired.

The products that can be repaired include smartphones and various household appliances such as vacuum cleaners and washing machines.

These rules also aim to reduce the costs associated with repair and the lack of available repair services, which the European Parliament said may discourage consumers from taking this option. The goal is to ensure that repairers and consumers have access to all spare parts, repair information and tools at a reasonable cost.

The draft legislation proposes setting up digital platforms help consumers find local repair shops and refurbished product sellers in their area. MEPs also propose offering vouchers and other financial incentives to consumers through national repair funds.

Speaking on the result, rapporteur René Repasi, MEP, said parliament is responding “directly” to the demands of consumers.

“People want to extend the lifespan of their devices, but it’s often too expensive or difficult,” Repasi said. “We have put in place a number of measures to encourage consumers to opt for repair rather than replacement, with a particular focus on supporting independent repairers and establishing financial incentives.”

The European Council is expected to adopt its own negotiating position tomorrow (22 November). After this, it will negotiate with the European Parliament, with a first meeting scheduled for 7 December.

“We hope that the Council will adopt its position soon, so that we can start negotiations to turn these measures into legislation and pave the way for a truly circular European economy,” Repasi said.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic