EU, UK inch towards tough repair rules for devices - Mobile World Live

EU, UK inch towards tough repair rules for devices

26 NOV 2020

The European Parliament approved recommendations designed to force manufacturers of mobile phones and other electronics to ease the repair process, as UK authorities announced similar proposals to cut electronic waste.

Following a vote on recommendations put forward by its Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, the parliament called on the European Commission (EC) to create legislation giving users a “right to repair” electronic goods.

It also pushed for increased support for the resale market and an end to practices it claims shortens the lifespan of consumer devices.

Additionally, it wants changes to marketing and advertising rules to clarify environmental claims being made; new waste management directives; and removal of any legal obstacles preventing repair, reuse or resale of devices.

In its statement, the European Parliament also reiterated calls for the adoption of a common charger for devices, a major aim of EU regulators for many years, with Apple a regular target of such moves.

While the European Parliament can push for action in specific areas, it is up to the EC to draft appropriate legislation. This will then have to be approved by both bodies alongside the European Council before becoming law.

UK moves
Following the European Parliament vote, the UK parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) released its own report into the issue, calling for a law to encourage a “repair culture” for electronic goods.

While the European Parliament did not identify specific companies in its statement, the UK’s committee used the opportunity to attack Apple’s policies.

“Tech companies such as Apple have been found to glue and solder together internal components making any repair nearly impossible.”

“The EAC found that consumers do not have control over the products they own; they cannot take components out to repair themselves and they cannot access manuals on how issues can be fixed. Instead the charges proposed for repair by Apple in particular can be so expensive it is more economical to replace the item completely.”

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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