Right to repair regulation: what’s the latest?

Find out more about right to repair laws in this summary 2024 Global Outlook webinar on product compliance.

Compliance issues beyond chemicals came under the spotlight in Enhesa Product’s recent Global Outlook for product compliance webinar, part of the 2024 Global Outlook series. In looking at regulatory issues that affect a product’s lifecycle beyond chemicals, Enhesa Product analyst Stacey Bowers highlighted ‘right to repair’.  

As regulatory authorities around the world look at ways to reduce waste and extend the lifetime of consumer products, right to repair is an emerging topic – and one to watch out for in 2024.  

Among the developments discussed were proposals in the EU and New York state’s Right to Repair Act, a first in US legislation. Introduced in March and July 2023, respectively, these proposals aim to reduce waste and simplify the replacement of goods for consumers.  

Read on to find out more.

What is right to repair?

Right to repair regulation is underpinned by the following principles, which aim:  

  • to reduce wastage – by decreasing how many products, such as electronic devices, are sent to landfill and the disposal of individual materials 
  • to save money – by opting for repairs over replacement, which is typically cheaper 
  • to increase lifespan of products – by encouraging consumers to repair the defective part, such as a battery, rather than replace the entire product, increasing the longevity of their original, loved goods 
  • to enhance the consumer experience – by requiring businesses to comply with replacement requests, even if the repair falls outside of the legal guarantee.

The EU’s Right to Repair proposal

Last March, the European Commission submitted for consideration a proposal for a directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods, with the intention of encouraging repairs over replacements of products.  

Currently, under the sale of goods directive, consumers can choose between free replacement or repair when their product breaks. Under the new proposal, repairing the defective item – by making spare parts more accessible, for example – would be encouraged over wholesale replacement of the product. This would therefore reduce the waste of potentially functional goods being disposed of at landfill.  

Alongside promoting sustainable consumerism, the proposals aim to help customers save money; the only exemption to the above requirement would be if the repair costs were higher than those of replacement.  

Further, if consumers request a repair of their product (either for free or for a price), manufacturers will be obliged to comply under the new directive, even if the defect falls outside the legal guarantee.  

The proposal for a directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods is currently subject to approval from the European Parliament and Council. From then, any member state would have two years to transpose the directive into their national laws. 

New York’s Digital Fair Repair Act

In New York, the Digital Fair Repair Act was enacted in July 2023, the first of its kind in the US.  

This new law requires the original equipment manufacturers to make documentation, parts and tools available to independent repair providers. Any equipment used for the diagnosis, maintenance, or repair of an electronic device will need to be provided, so smaller companies and individuals have the necessary resources to repair products.  

This act aims to save families in New York approximately $330 per year in repair costs, offering the public the means to make sustainable choices.  

Following New York’s unprecedented step, similar laws were passed in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. Further, more than 30 states in the last three years have been considering similar bills.  

2024 Global Outlook

Right to repair was just one topic covered in the 2024 Global Outlook on product compliance. Watch the webcast now.  You can also find out more about the full Global Outlook series here, including links to on-demand webinars and how to access Global Outlook articles. 

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