The European Commission has passed a new set of rules for the repair of electronics. In addition to the fact that manufacturers must include smartphones and tablets in the list of devices that require maintenance, other changes in European legislation are pending. In particular, the deadlines for mandatory post-guarantee repairs can now be up to 10 years.
Projects must be approved by the European Parliament and EU Member States before the initiative can be turned into law. If the law is passed, repair rules will change significantly across much of Europe. In particular, companies selling goods in the EU must provide free repairs during the legal warranty period and replace non-faulty electronics unless it would be cheaper for authorized services to replace them entirely.
In addition, repairs must be carried out outside the statutory warranty period. The European Commission believes this will help make repairs more attractive than replacing products without regard for environmental damage. Under the new rules, companies that manufacture goods for the EU and are required to ensure the repairability of household appliances, commercial computing devices and soon smartphones and tablets must repair these products within 5-10 years of their purchase, if required by buyers and repair possible in principle.
Manufacturers must also inform their customers which products in their product lines are eligible for repair. The new rules also include the creation of an online repair search platform for European consumers and the introduction of a standard for finding the best repairers.
As a consequence, the EU wants to move away from a consumption model where electronics are bought, used and then simply thrown away – especially since the EU wants to become “carbon neutral” by 2050. Against this background, several laws have already been passed against the so-called “green camouflage”, with which you can make statements about the environmental compatibility of products without proof. For example, any claim that laptops are made from recycled plastic must be backed by expert scientific evidence.
However, advocates of the “right to repair” believe that the new rules are not up to date – EU authorities are focused on improving maintainability but doing nothing to ensure repairs are available and not reaching out to manufacturers one whose policies make repairs significantly more difficult. As such, components can still be prohibitively expensive and their availability to the average user may be limited.
According to activists, universal rules are needed to ensure access to the repair market for independent actors and access to components for all, as well as the provision of repair guides and access to diagnostic tools. In addition, it is necessary to further expand the list of devices for which the maintainability must be guaranteed by the manufacturer.