The European Commission has adopted a proposal on common rules promoting the repair of consumer goods. It intends to address the growing trend of replacing defective products instead of having them repaired once the product’s legal guarantee expires.

The proposal would also benefit the repairs sector and facilitate a more circular economy.

The legal guarantee is a two-year warranty which states that if a product does not match the contract of sale, the seller must offer free repair or replacement of the product or a refund. This is a mandatory requirement for all products sold within the EU.

Beyond the legal guarantee, the following is being proposed:

  • A right for consumers to claim repair to producers directly, which are repairable under EU law (e.g. washing machines, TVs).
  • A producer’s obligation to inform customers about the products they are required to repair.
  • An online matchmaking repair platform to connect consumers and repairers and sellers of refurbished goods.
  • A European repair information form which consumers would be able to request from any outlet that does repairs.
  • A European quality standard for repair services.

The next step is for the European Council of Ministers to adopt the proposal, and also the European Parliament, both of which may put forward amendments to the final proposal.

This proposal comes almost a year after MEPs voted in favour of a resolution detailing a list of safeguards they expected it to include.

A recent Eurobarometer showed that 77 per cent of Europeans feel a personal responsibility to act to limit climate change. Discarded products are often viable goods that can be repaired but are often tossed prematurely, resulting in 35 million tons of waste, 30 million tons of resources and 261 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU every year.

The lack for consumers opting for replacement instead of repair is estimated to cost almost €12 billion per year. Additionally, the initiative is estimated to bring €4.8 billion in growth and investment in the EU.

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