Matt Atlas

European Parliament Votes In Favor Of Right To Repair

The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution instructing the European Commission to draw up a strategy for a more sustainable market, to force manufacturers to make products with long service life.

The EU Commission is now expected to “develop and introduce mandatory labeling, to provide clear, immediately visible and easy-to-understand information to consumers on the estimated lifetime and reparability of a product at the time of purchase.”

Future legislation directly responds to the common practice, especially technology companies, to shorten products’ lives through planned obsolescence. For digital devices, Parliament explicitly requires, for example, that the manufacturer provide “corrective updates” for the entire expected life of the product. At the same time, these updates have disabled the reduction of the device’s performance or functionality.

The European Parliament also demands that the user have a better enforceable right to repair a product once purchased. It wants to achieve this by combining more measures. For example, the manufacturer will need to provide independent repairers with the necessary repair information (the requirement is primarily against Apple’s long-standing practice), manufacturers’ obligations to support standardized replacement parts, and setting minimum parts availability times. Here, legislation should also address their availability at a reasonable cost.

Users of the products themselves should also have an enforceable right to information about the product’s standard life, the availability of spare parts, or software updates. One of the other proposals is also better support in the so-called secondary market laws, the sale of used products.