EU restricts planned obsolescence

for Consumer goods

The EU has issued new regulations imposing obligations on manufacturers of consumer goods to make them longer lasting and to supply spare parts for machines for up to ten years after the sale of the products.

The new rules which apply to washing machines, fridges, dishwashers and lighting have been called the “right to repair”. The regulations are designed to assist consumers in having such products repaired rather than replaced but the right as the regulations are presently framed only apply when the repairs are carried out by professionals rather than by lay persons/consumers.

Campaigners have stated for many years that the equipment appears to break down shortly after expiration of the warranty and they are unable to repair the machines or get anybody who is able to do so thereby forcing them to simply buy a new machine which is cheaper than the cost of repair.

The campaign for the “right to repair” has been supported by environmental activists groups. The new regulations mirror similar regulations in a number of States in America forcing manufacturers to manufacture spare parts such as thermostats, door seals etc. and make same available to purchase by professional repairers.

It will also be a requirement that the spare parts be capable of use with ordinary tools available to everyone. In other words the spare parts must not be manufactured in such a way where specialist tools are required. As the regulations are presently drafted the parts will only be available to suitably qualified professionals but campaigners say that they will continue to campaign to allow lay people to purchase the spare parts and carry out the repairs.

As well as contributing towards these appliances having a longer life the regulations also require that the appliances be more energy efficient.

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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2019