As an integral part of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan, the directive proposal currently under debate at the Union level aims to strengthen the right to repair goods. Also known as the R2R Directive (Right to Repair), the legislative initiative specifically seeks to encourage the repair of goods rather than their replacement with new ones.
Moreover, the directive aims to eliminate barriers that discourage consumers from repairing goods, addressing inconvenience or difficulties related to accessing repair services. Therefore, the legislative proposal would contribute to the goal of a circular economy by creating incentives for both producers and consumers. This approach aims to extend the lifespan of products and significantly reduce pollution and waste.
Consequently, to achieve the desired objectives, consumers would be provided with a new set of rights and tools, directing them towards repair solutions rather than replacing goods. These include:
- The right to request the repair of products that can be technically repaired under Union legislation (such as mobile phones or washing machines).
- The obligation of the manufacturer to inform consumers about products they are legally required to repair.
- A European repair information form, which consumers are entitled to request from any repairer, ensuring transparency regarding repair prices and conditions.
- An online repair comparison platform connecting consumers with repairers in their area.
- A six-month extension of the seller’s liability period in case of repair.
The Council’s mandate could potentially require manufacturers to carry out repairs within a reasonable timeframe and at a reasonable cost (except when the service is provided free of charge), ensuring that consumers are not discouraged from exercising their rights. Additionally, to reduce bureaucracy for small repairers, only those with a legal obligation to repair will be required to provide the standardized EU form upon request. For other repairers, providing the form remains optional. If repairers provide the form, the conditions specified in it will be binding for them. Furthermore, the European form must be provided for free, although consumers may be required to pay for the cost of the diagnostic service.
On another note, concerning the European online repair platform, the proposal suggests that it should be operated at the European level, replacing the operation of 27 national platforms. However, member states may maintain existing national online repair platforms or create new ones if the conditions in the directive proposal are met.
Additionally, the Council aims to maintain consumers’ right to choose between repairing and replacing defective products during the seller’s liability period. In the case of a repair request, the seller’s liability period will be extended by six months from the moment the product is brought into conformity. The seller must inform the consumer about their right to repair or replace the product, as well as the extension of the liability period in case of repair.
How could this directive specifically impact traders if transposed into national law?
In the event of the transposition of this directive into national law, traders would be required to update their sales and warranty policies, as well as the terms and conditions of their online platforms, to ensure that consumers are granted the repair rights outlined in the debated legislative act.
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