The European Parliament waved through rules designed to encourage consumers to repair products such as mobile phones rather than replacing them, with manufacturers obliged to make the process easy and cost effective.

In a vote earlier today (23 April), politicians rubber-stamped the proposal widely known as the “right to repair”, with the formal nod from the European Council now all that is required before it is published in official papers. European Union countries will then have two years to transpose the policy into their own laws.   

The rules ultimately aim to cut down on the mountains of eWaste produced across the region and have been in the works for several years, with a legislative proposal eventually published in March 2023.  

In a statement the European Parliament claims the directive will “clarify obligations” to manufacturers around repair, while it also introduces measures to encourage consumers to extend the lifetime of their mobile devices and other electronics.

Within the requirements, manufacturers will have to provide “timely and cost effective” repair services and inform customers about the option being available. Anything fixed will have an additional year added to the warranty.

Smartphones are also on a list of products where companies are obliged to offer repairs for beyond the end of the initial guarantee.

Reasonable prices
Under the upcoming rules manufacturers will have to provide tools and spare parts at a “reasonable price” with a ban on contractual clauses, hardware or “software techniques” deemed to obstruct repairs.

“In particular, they [OEMs] cannot impede the use of second-hand or 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers, nor can they refuse to repair a product solely for economic reasons or because it was previously repaired by someone else,” the statement noted.

Outside of obligations on manufacturers, EU member states will each have to implement at least one measure to promote repair of electronic goods. Examples given include providing vouchers, information campaigns, offering courses or backing community-led schemes.

There are also plans to create an EU-wide online platform giving information on where to source repair facilities for consumers.