The Right to Repair Europe coalition celebrates the broad support for repair shown by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) in today’s vote on the file “Sustainable Consumption of Goods – Promoting Repair and Reuse”.
The IMCO report significantly improves the Commission’s proposal by introducing provisions to tackle the high cost of repair via reasonable and transparent pricing of spare parts, the promotion of an open repair ecosystem and bans on unfair anti-repair practices enacted by manufacturers.
- Access to more information and parts for independent repairers and end users: The IMCO report guarantees access to all information and spare parts for everyone, including independent repairers, remanufacturers, refurbishers and end-users. This provision does a much better job at promoting independent and self-repair than existing ecodesign rules. However we regret that this broader access will only be granted for the 9 product categories currently covered by ecodesign requirements (1), plus bicycles. This selection unfortunately leaves out the most problematic and unrepairable products.
- Affordability of repair: producers of the 10 product categories listed above will need to make parts available at a reasonable and non-discriminatory price for a period corresponding to at least the expected lifespan of the product. Fixers will also be able to find original part prices on the producers’ websites and to use compatible, salvaged and 3D printed parts without incurring in functionality downgrades. This represents a huge improvement from the status quo, as original spare parts are often scarcely available and only at prohibitive costs, which has been clearly discouraging repair. The report also encourages Member States to promote repair via financial incentives.
- A solid ban of anti-repair practices: we applaud the strong ban of any contractual, hardware or software techniques producers use to impede repair. This is a big win for consumers’ right to repair: this provision has the potential to unlock repair by making it more accessible and removing unnecessary technical barriers.
- A comprehensive new obligation to repair outside of legal guarantee: the IMCO report strengthens the new obligation to repair put forward in the original proposal by stressing that consumers should be able to pick the provider of their choice, promoting independent repair and self-repair.
- Priority to repair within the legal guarantee framework: to resolve cases of non-conformity, the priority should be given to repair instead of replacement. Unfortunately, several justifications to opt for replacement (e.g. sellers/producers’ claims of better cost-effectiveness) remain, which is problematic. To safeguard consumers’ convenience, the repairs will have to be carried out in “reasonable time” and temporary replacement goods are foreseen if this is exceeded.
Once the position of the EU Parliament will be confirmed by the plenary vote, the ball will be in the European Council’s camp, which is already working on its general approach. We strongly call on Member States representatives to keep up the ambition shown today by the IMCO Committee.
Cristina Ganapini, Coordinator of the Right to Repair Europe coalition, said: “We applaud the huge improvements introduced by the IMCO Committee to ensure the affordability of repair, the ban of unfair anti-repair practices and the promotion of broad repair options for consumers. We now urge the European Council and Member States Ministries not to let their citizens down. They have been demanding the right to repair what they own for years and this is the time to make it happen.”
Claire Darmon, Head of Public Affairs at Swappie, said: “The obligation to repair outside of warranty coverage is a major step towards strengthening consumers’ right to repair as it also anticipates that consumers should be able to choose to go to any repair provider, regardless of affiliation with the original producer. This is a critical step towards opening up the repair market, ensuring a more even level playing field between repair service providers and promoting more consumer trust in independent repair.”
Edoardo Bodo, Environment Policy Officer at RREUSE, said: “The IMCO Committee’s near-unanimous support for this report is a resounding answer to the call for more repairable products coming from both consumers and independent repairers, who will now be able to access all the necessary information and spare parts needed to repair the products we all use on a daily basis. While the scope of these requirements is still too narrow, today’s vote represents a key milestone in our journey towards a universal right to repair for all European citizens.”
- Smartphones and tablets, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, fridges, displays, welding equipment, vacuum cleaners and servers.
- The Right to Repair campaign is a coalition of European organisations pushing for system change around repair. It consists of over 100 members in 20+ countries, including NGOs, repair businesses, repair networks, and repairers themselves.
- Photos from our event with MEPs and NGOs in front of the EU Parliament on 24 of October here. All photos by Mark A Phillips
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