On March 22, 2023, the European Commission presented a draft directive on a right to repair for consumer products. This is the next step to enable a more sustainable use of resources in the course of the Green Deal.
The aim is to promote the repair of certain devices as a sensible alternative to excessive renewal and thus put a stop to planned obsolescence. For the consumer products covered by the scope (e.g. washing machines and dishwashers, televisions, tablets, smartphones, etc.), buyers are to be able to claim repair for approximately five to ten years - i.e. even after expiry of the statutory warranty. Manufacturers therefore remain responsible to a certain extent for the functionality of their products even after the warranty period has expired. In addition, the consumer should be free to decide who should carry out the repair.
For manufacturers, this means that they must establish their own infrastructure for repairs and at the same time enable other companies to offer comparable services that compete with their own repair service, for example by keeping spare parts on hand. Upon request from consumers, manufacturers and independent repairers are required to provide a quote on repair costs. In addition, national online platforms are envisaged where citizens can obtain information about repair services and sellers of refurbished goods.
Even though the proposed directive is still at an early stage, manufacturers should think about the not inconsiderable structural as well as financial challenges early on. A look at neighboring France shows that even more possible regulations on the reparability of products can be implemented. Under the French so-called repair index, manufacturers must classify the reparability of their products and label them accordingly for consumers.
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