MEPs set out vision of ‘right to repair’ ahead of the Commission’s draft

Yes to a right of repair, but consumer goods must also become more durable, MEPS says

A “right to repair” must be tied to the design of more durable products that can be fixed without unreasonable processes, as well as labeling that better inform consumers and extensions on guarantee rights, MEPs have said.

In a resolution by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), MEPs stressed that an effective right to repair should address all aspects of a product’s lifecycle and take into account product design, as well as the key ethical principles of production, standardization, information labeling on reparability and on the expected lifespan of a product, consumer guarantees and public procurement.

Tabling the resolution on behalf of the committee, IMCO chair Anna Cavazzini (Greens/EFA) said: “Repairing broken or damaged products means saving money, saving energy and resources, which is more essential than ever for the creation of a resilient single market. To repair their own products enables consumers to quit the throwaway society and to take an active role in shifting to a circular economy. The EU must deliver on the right to repair. Today, the Internal Market Committee clearly defines its expectations for the Commission’s upcoming initiative.”

MEPs make clear that a proper “right to repair” should give the repair industry, including independent repairers, and consumers access to repair and maintenance information from manufacturers at no extra cost.

Concerning digital devices, MEPs argue that “software updates have to be made available for a minimum period of time”, and demand consumers are fully informed at the time of purchase on the availability of updates. These should not lead to a diminished performance of, for example, smartphones.

Practices which unduly constrain the right to repair or lead to obsolescence could be considered as “unfair commercial practices” and blacklisted under EU law.

Measures to motivate consumers to choose repair over replacement are also needed, according to MEPs. These may include the obligation to provide for a replacement good for the duration of a repair for certain products, extending guarantees and granting bonuses for consumers who choose to repair.

The draft resolution is due to be voted on by MEPs in April’s plenary session.

According to a Eurobarometer survey, 79% of EU citizens think that manufacturers should be required to make it easier to repair digital devices or replace their individual parts, and 77% would rather repair their devices than replace them.

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