- Measures to boost repair after the legal guarantee has expired
- Incentives to use products for longer, such as repair vouchers and funds
- Online platforms will help consumers find local repair and refurbished goods shops
EU negotiators reached a provisional deal on a bill that aims to reduce waste and bolster the repair sector by making product repairs more accessible and cost-effective.
On Thursday, Parliament and Council reached a political agreement on a stronger “right to repair” for consumers. The agreed rules clarify the obligations for manufacturers and encourage consumers to extend a product’s lifecycle through repair.
Beyond the legal guarantee
Consumers will benefit from new rights that make repairs more appealing and straightforward after the legal guarantee has expired. Key measures of the agreement include:
- an obligation for the manufacturer to repair common household products like washing machines, vacuum cleaners, and even smartphones, with the possibility to add more products to the list over time;
- a requirement for consumers to be informed about a manufacturer’s duty to repair;
- options for consumers to borrow a device whilst their own is being repaired or opt for a refurbished unit as an alternative;
- free online access to indicative repair prices;
- an additional one-year extension of the legal guarantee for repaired goods.
Revitalising the repair market
MEPs played a key role in strengthening and making the EU repair market more competitive. Manufacturers will have to make spare parts and tools available at a reasonable price. An agreement was also reached on prohibiting manufacturers from using contractual clauses, hardware or software techniques to obstruct repairs. In particular, they should not impede the use of second-hand or 3D issued spare parts by independent repairers.
Facilitating repair services across the EU
To make the repair process easier, a European online platform with national sections will be set up. Through these platforms, consumers in every EU country will be able to find local repair shops, sellers of refurbished goods, buyers of defective items or community-led repair initiatives, such as repair cafes.
Promoting affordable repair
Parliament prioritised making repairs much more affordable for consumers. The negotiators agreed that each member state will have to introduce at least one measure to promote repair, such as repair vouchers and funds, information campaigns, repair courses or support for community-led repair spaces, or in line with existing rules on taxation, a reduction of the VAT rate on repair services.
Rapporteur René Repasi (S&D, DE) said: “With today's agreement, we have come closer to establishing a consumer right to repair. In the future, it will be easier and cheaper to have products repaired instead of buying new, expensive ones. This marks a significant success for the European Parliament, which has been vehemently in favour of empowering consumers in the fight against climate change. The agreement introduces an extra 12 months of legal guarantee for products and ensures independent repairers have improved access to spare parts. Furthermore it prohibits manufacturers from using contractual clauses, software and hardware techniques that hinder repair”.
Once the directive is adopted by both Council and Parliament, and published in the EU Official Journal, member states will have 24 months to transpose it into national law.
The agreement on the right to repair marks a significant step in the EU’s efforts to extend the lifespan of products, reduce waste and support a more sustainable and circular economy. It complements other new EU rules on Ecodesign and on Empowering consumers for the green transition.