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The European Parliament has bolstered plans for the right to repair. MEPs believe the proposals the European Commission unveiled this spring are not ambitious enough.

Spare parts and repair information also available for Repair Cafés

The EP believes that not only professional, branded repairers should have access to spare parts, repair information and tools needed to fix broken items. Independent repairers, refurbishers and end-users should also benefit, at a fair price. In the EP views, these advantages would also extend to Repair Cafés.

Extra year warranty and more repair vouchers

The MEPs further want to extend the statutory warranty period for products by an extra year after a repair. In this way, consumers will be rewarded by additional warranty for choosing to have a product repaired. How long the legal warranty period is varies between EU member states.

But also for products that break down after the warranty period, the parliament wants to give additional incentives to make repairs, by, for instance, allowing consumers to get a replacement device on loan for the duration of the repair. Professional repairs should also become more affordable for consumers. To achieve this, the European Parliament wants more countries to follow the example of countries like Austria and France and create repair vouchers and other financial benefits.

On 21 November, the European Parliament agreed on the above tightening measures. However, this doesn’t mean that these measures will take immediate effect. The parliament must still negotiate the final content of the law on the right to repair with the Council of the European Union, which includes national ministers from all member states. On 22 November, the Council also released its ideas on the right to repair.

‘Great if Repair Café volunteers have the advantages professional repairers have’

Martine Postma of Repair Café International hopes the proposed tightening will be included in the new law. “This would allow our volunteers to repair better, and they would no longer be disadvantaged compared to professional repairers. That would be great. If we want to make repairing more appealing, that is an absolute prerequisite.”

Martine does point out that, for the time being, the right to repair will only apply to a small number of product groups, namely only dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, bicycles, refrigerators, welding equipment, screens, servers, smartphones/tablets and vacuum cleaners.

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