On Thursday (today), the Malta Business Bureau (MBB) organised an information and consultation session with businesses on the EU’s proposal for a ‘Right to Repair’ Directive. The proposal aims to promote the repair of products instead of replacement. As a result, this promises to reduce waste and increase the circularity of products.

If the new rules are approved, repair service providers will be obliged to provide ‘Repair Information Forms’ to customers upon their request. These forms shall include details such as the nature of the repair, a price range, duration and other conditions. Crucially, this form cannot be amended within a 30-day period.

The European Commission claims that such information will increase the transparency of repair services and grant consumers more choices.

Gabriel Cassar, MBB’s EU policy manager on sustainability, provided an overview of the proposals’ main elements and what they mean for business in practice. This includes changes to the way businesses must make a ‘repair versus replacement’ decision when presented with defective goods, both within and outside legal guarantee period.

“EU data shows that millions of tonnes of viable products are prematurely discarded each year, resulting in wasted money, resources and significant greenhouse gas emissions,” MBB explained.

The proposal consequently puts forward several points to facilitate the repair of consumer products. This includes a significant change to the way producers and sellers must handle claims on defective products within the guarantee period. In cases where the cost to replace that defective product is greater than the cost of repair, sellers shall always be obliged to repair that product.

The Malta Chamber policy executive (sustainability) Gabby Grech Larsson delivered the organisation’s perspective on the proposal, seeing it as a “key way to reduce product waste and contribute towards the circular economy in Malta.”

Ms Grech Larsson also highlighted the Malta Chamber’s extensive work on sustainability issues through several committees and initiatives.

Officials from the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) addressed the webinar to share their perspective. Grace Stivala, director general within the Office for Consumer Affairs and Andre Sghendo senior manager EU/International Affairs addressed questions and concerns raised by participants. Some of the most salient points raised by participants centred around the need to ensure adequate technical capabilities among repairers, the enforcement of the legal guarantee period, and the repair obligation placed on producers.

“The proposal for a Right to Repair Directive is seen as a key file in the EU’s circular economy agenda. The MBB has been working closely with national and EU policymakers to put forward the views and concerns of Maltese businesses,” MBB said.

Those interested in further information are encouraged to contact the MBB EU Policy team on [email protected].

The MBB is the EU business advisory organisation of The Malta Chamber and The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA). It is also a partner of the Enterprise Europe Network.

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