To empower consumers to choose repair we need to bring down barriers such as the high cost of repair and the difficulty to access professionals, which remain market blockers.
This is why we are urging negotiators to keep the following six crucial provisions, which were introduced by the European Parliament:
1) Deliver right to repair for all products
Europeans are rapidly embracing the circular economy. The data collected in thousands of repair cafés proves that EU citizens want to repair a broad range of products. The new repair rules (Art5) should at least cover the products listed in Annex II and bicycles (as proposed by the EU Parliament).
We call on negotiators to maintain ambition on the broad product scope of the ban of anti-repair practices, as in the Parliament’s version of Art9.a (new):
“6. Member States shall ban practices that impede consumers to exert their right to repair, including but not limited to:
(…) (b) prohibiting any contractual, hardware or software technique that could prevent or limit repair and prohibit the refusal to repair a good that has been previously repaired by an independent repairer, non-professional repairer or end-user.”
2) Broad and affordable access to repair information and all spare parts
Broad and affordable access to spare parts is essential to ensure repair options for consumers and to enable the development of a European repair economy. We therefore call on negotiators to keep the Parliament’s version of Art5.3:
“producers shall ensure that independent repairers, remanufacturers, refurbishers and end-users have access to all spare parts and all repair-related information and tools, including diagnosis tools, at a reasonable and non-discriminatory cost for a period corresponding to at least the expected lifespan of the product.”
3) Transparency on pricing of original spare parts
To increase transparency and ensure compliance with reasonable prices for spare parts, it is essential that manufacturers’ publish binding prices of parts on their websites, as proposed in the Parliament’s version of Art5.3 a (new):
“3a. Producers shall make available on their websites all information related to repair, such as repair prices and prices of spare parts for the goods listed in Annex II.”
4) Support the use of compatible parts and ban anti-repair techniques enacted by manufacturers
To give affordable repair options to consumers, it is crucial to allow the use of compatible consumables, spare parts and accessories that are not necessarily provided solely by the original manufacturer.
For this to be effective it is also essential to ban any hardware or software technique by which manufacturers limit or make impossible the independent repair or refurbishment of a product, or limit the product’s functionality after repair outside of their authorised networks;
We therefore urge the negotiators to adopt the Parliament’s version of Art5.3 b (new): “3b. Producers shall not impede the repair by any contractual, hardware or software technique. Producers shall not impede the use of original or second-hand spare parts, compatible spare parts and spare parts issued from 3D-printing, by independent repairers when those spare parts are in conformity with requirements under national or Union law.”
5) Empower Member States to introduce repair funds and vouchers
The high cost of repairs is still a key barrier between a product being theoretically repairable and actually repaired. The current system implicitly incentivises product replacement over repair, by not factoring all externalities associated with the throwaway economy. Financial incentives for repair can help mitigate this barrier. Success stories of Austria, Germany and France show how these schemes empower and support consumers, dynamise the local circular economy and save huge amounts of emissions and resources.
We therefore support the Parliament’s reference to the schemes in Art9 a (new):
“2. The measures referred to in paragraph 1 may, for example, take the form of repair vouchers, national repair funds or other actions and incentives.”
6) Priority to repair within the legal guarantee framework
To resolve cases of non-conformity of products during the legal guarantee framework the priority should be given to repair instead of replacement. We therefore support the EU Commission’s proposal:
In Article 13(2) of Directive (EU) 2019/771 the following sentence is added:
“In derogation from the first sentence of this paragraph, where the costs for replacement are equal to or greater than the costs for repair, the seller shall repair the goods in order to bring those goods in conformity.”
Cristina Ganapini, Coordinator of Right to Repair Europe