The European Parliament has passed a historical resolution for the Right to Repair for consumers with 395 votes in favor and just 94 votes against it. The law will require companies to label their products to indicate how long it would last, and how its repairability rating is. These measures will be developed by the EU commission, while France will introduce repairability ratings on consumer electronics starting from January 2021.
European Parliament votes for Right to Repair
While many tech companies might not be happy about this ruling, it is an absolute win for consumers. They will have sufficient information about how long will their electronic device purchase last, and will not be limited in terms of how it can be repaired. Whether it will make an actual impact on consumer purchasing habits is yet to be seen, but early surveys indicated that 77% of European Union citizens would prefer to repair their devices instead of replacing them.
Here is an excerpt from the explanatory statement from the Right to Repair document from the European Parliament’s website, which sums up the purpose behind the law:
To be sustainable, products must be repairable, so that they can remain on the market for as long as possible. It is time to stamp out practices which prevent or hinder product repairs. On average, 70 % of Europeans would prefer to repair rather than replace a faulty product. However, sellers still tend to be much keener on product replacement.
We need to open up Europe’s product repair market by making repairs simple and affordable. This can be achieved by efforts upstream to provide information on the degree of reparability of a product and also downstream of the value chain to ensure the availability of spare parts, quick repair times and access to information on repairs for sellers, independent repairers and also consumers, to encourage home repairs. In particular, we must support local, independent repairers. It is unacceptable that intellectual property mechanisms make carrying out product repairs the prerogative of the designer or distributor. Logistical and financial support mechanisms must be deployed to help these local tradespeople.
We also hope to boost consumer trust in repaired products and propose introducing a guarantee to cover product repairs.
Even though France will start earlier than other European countries with labeling, the commission will take time to set up repairability scales, and rules, which will dictate how manufacturers label their products going forward.