March 31, 2023
The Right to Repair coalition (R2R), welcomed the step forward of the “EU Right to Repair proposal”, but notes the EU’s lack of ambition to make repairability an affordable reality.
R2R said that the proposal does not address the burning issues of the affordability of repair and of anti-repair practices. The proposal focuses on reducing replacement of products within legal guarantee, by requiring sellers to repair when costs are equal or lower.
In post on its website, R2R said that there are a few steps in the right direction like the introduction of an obligation for Member States to create national online platforms to register repairers, refurbishers and purchasers of defective goods for refurbishment – with the possibility to extend its scope to include business-to-business relationships as well as community-led repair initiatives.
R2R said: “We welcome this proposal as a first step to support citizens looking for repair options or circular venues for their old devices. This is also an important step towards legitimising the role of independent repairers in providing remedies in the case of product failure (e.g., getting access to parts and information).”
Another small improvement, according to R2R, is that, upon consumer’s request, repairers shall submit a harmonised repair quote/estimation called the “European Repair Information Form” including mandatory information such as the type or repair suggested and its price or, if the precise cost cannot be calculated, the applicable calculation method and maximum price of repair.
R2R added: “Unfortunately, while consumer information is essential, the suggested harmonisation of quotes won’t automatically make any repair affordable. When presenting the proposal, EU Commissioner Reynders stressed that the tool will make repair affordable, by creating a competitive environment for repair SMEs. But we consider this insufficient, without tackling expensive spare parts and other barriers to repair.”
The prioritisation of repair over replacement is the right direction to reduce the environmental footprint of unnecessary waste. However, the obligation, as proposed, would only apply to a very small portion of real-life cases, R2R said. On top of that, the Commission does not clarify who should verify whether a repair would be more affordable than a replacement and via which methodology.
The Commission’s proposal focuses primarily on the direct role of manufacturers and vendors and only covers a tiny scenario of repair cases. Yet empowering independent repair networks is essential to make repair more mainstream and ensure affordability.
Cristina Ganapini, Coordinator of the Right to Repair Europe coalition, said: “We welcome this attempt at making repair more accessible, especially via the introduction of online registers for repairers and the harmonisation of cost estimations. However, the Commission missed an opportunity to concretely address the burning issues of the affordability of repair and of anti-repair practices. We need a truly universal right to repair including independent providers and granting universal access to affordable spare parts, repair manuals and diagnostic tools.
The proposed concrete obligations to repair are too narrow to bring on the repair revolution that we need. Asking sellers to repair during the first two years, but only when cheaper than replacement, and granting consumers post-guarantee access to repair, but just for a few product categories, simply isn’t enough. We call on the EU Parliament and Council to step up the ambition of this first right to repair proposal in the EU.”
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Categories : World Focus