Europe Proposes the Right to Repair Products Even Beyond the Warranty

Legal - April 5, 2023

The Commission is Thinking About Easier and Less Expensive Repairs, Especially for Electronic Devices, Even Beyond the Legally Provided Warranty Period

With the aim of reducing the environmental impact, envisaged by the Green Deal, the European Parliament is preparing to launch a proposal useful for also counteracting the planned obsolescence of tablets, smartphones, computers and various household appliances. The new bill would also propose the right to repair for products, even after the expiry date of the envisaged guarantee, following precise standards of transparency relating to the conditions and prices of the envisaged interventions.

The definitive push for the new law proposal by Brussels was given by the criticality registered towards the enormous number of objects, especially electronic ones, replaced every year rather than repaired, as a more ecological conduct would require. In recent decades, in fact, companies have encouraged customers to replace any damaged products, avoiding a repair that would have allowed them to be used for a long time to come. In this way, the quantity of easily repairable devices, replaced with new and updated products, has become unsustainable, in view of a necessary ecological evolution.

The new rules envisaged will allow the repair of the products, even after the end of the warranty, with prices and conditions that are advantageous for the customer and above all, sustainable for the environment. To achieve a similar goal, companies will have to develop business and production management models that are more optimized and aimed at the extreme reduction of waste. The European Commission also provides for the right, on the part of the customer in possession of a fixable product, to also contact repairing businesses not directly linked to the manufacturing company, so as to allow a choice of the most advantageous conditions for the repair. For the development of a manageable competition system at the service of the end user, there are also online platforms for choosing the most convenient repair service by comparing offers also based on territorial distance.

Among the new rules under study, there are also those relating to the regulation of labels that certify, on products, their biological and ecological characteristics, to prevent the use of labels with untrue wordings. Brussels will be able to impose administrative sanctions with a deterrent effect against companies that fail to prove the reliability of the eco-sustainability labels affixed to their products. In this way, Europe, try to protect economic operators and consumers who intend to accelerate the ecological transition envisaged at the continental level.

Among the terms that Europe will keep under control are those related to the composition of products, their energy consumption and their ecological functions. Expressions such as “carbon neutral”, “climate neutral”, “biodegradable”, “compostable” or “ocean friendly”, found on many labels, will have to be certified by the manufacturer to avoid penalties. At the moment, almost 40% of the labels that present the eco-friendly characteristics of the products on which they are printed are misleading or without scientific foundations, concretely increasing the risk of greenwashing.

The European Commission will ask the manufacturing companies to prove, through certifications recognized at a continental level, the veracity of the ecological statements on the labels, starting from the possible extraction of the elements used in the assembly, up to their disposal. Control commissions will be established throughout the European territory which will have to supervise the certification necessary to define a truly sustainable product and avoid the sanctions provided for by the new laws under discussion. The ecological transition necessary and requested by Europe can no longer allow the diffusion of labels that expose ecological characteristics scientifically not proved