When discussing policy options for ensuring longer product lives, it is often proposed to achieve this by extending the duration of the legal guarantee. The assumption is that manufacturers would improve the durability of their products to avoid incurring losses.
However, this might not work out as intended, as producers could also seek to compensate for the costs in other ways, such as by cutting manufacturing costs. Longer guarantees could also cause rebound effects in consumer behaviour, and by increasing the control of manufacturers over the repair ecosystem, they could negatively affect independent repairers.
Moreover, the legal guarantee only deals with faults that can in some way be considered as a manufacturing defect. While this can include a product’s insufficient durability (which is far from easy to evaluate given the variation in the way products may be used), it excludes any damage related to mishaps – think of dropping your phone.
In short, the legal guarantee is not the silver bullet that it might seem to be at first sight. Join us for a discussion between policy makers, manufacturers, repairers and other experts to better understand if and how we can expect guarantees to ensure that products are made to be more durable, and to be repaired when they do break down.
You will hear the following panellists discuss their views:
- Rene Repasi, Member of the European Parliament and rapporteur on the proposal for common rules promoting the repair of goods;
- Patrycja Gautier, Senior Legal Officer at BEUC, the umbrella group for European consumer organisations;
- Alain Pautrot, VP After-Sales & Consumer Satisfaction at Groupe SEB, manufacturer of ‘guaranteed 15 years repairable’ kitchen appliances;
- Steffen Vangerow, CEO at Vangerow GmbH and board member of Runder Tisch Reparatur;
- Thomas Opsomer, Repair policy engineer at iFixit and steering group member of the EU Right to Repair campaign.