MADRID, Feb 10 (Portaltic/EP) –
Users buy an appliance or electronic device, such as a television, a washing machine or a smartphone, with the intention of acquiring an effective and durable tool, precisely what is intended to ensure the European Union (EU) with a new agreement that reinforces the right to repair, by extending the warranty and requiring reasonable repair prices and even prioritizing repair over replacement.
Nowadays it is common that, when a component of an electronic device breaks, affecting its usability, Users find no other alternative than to replace said device with a new one, whether for convenience, the price of the repair or its difficulty.
This type of behavior has consequences for the environment: every year there are 35 million tons of waste in the European Union, according to data provided by the European Commission.
In this framework, last Friday, February 2, the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Parliament reached a interim agreement to strengthen consumer protection rulesamong which is established the “right to repair“, to “clarify manufacturers’ obligations and encourage consumers to extend the life cycle of their products through repair.”
This regulation, known as directive on the right to repair (R2R), refers to the right of users to have, when devices such as televisions, washing machines or mobile phones break down, the customer can demand that the corresponding manufacturers repair the device instead of replacing it. With this, they intend to promote the use of repair methods by making access to repair services repair is more “easier, faster, transparent and more attractive”.
In the absence of a directive being adopted by both the Council and Parliament, and published in the Official Gazette of the EU, the proposal opens up reparability options, which are broadly as follows.
REQUEST REPAIR FROM THE MANUFACTURER
The moment the device breaks, be it a computer screen or a part of a washing machine, under the new agreement, the Users may choose to contact the manufacturer’s technical service directly. to request to repair the device with a price and in a “reasonable” period of time.
This is one of the main points that will guarantee the agreement. Thus, as long as they are framed as devices repairable according to EU legislation, users will be able go directly to the brand and request a repair at any time, even if it is no longer within the warranty period.
Once the repair is requested from the company, users will receive a European form in which manufacturers provide the conditions established for the repair process of your devices. That is, the company will detail information related to the repair diagnosis, necessary spare parts, price, estimated time and other conditions.
In this way, users will be able Compare different repair offers depending on the manufacturer or other third party companies and have “free decision”, about where to fix the product.
The form must be offered free of charge. However, it must be taken into account that companies may require users to pay for the cost of the diagnostic service of your broken device.
After starting the repair, users will be able to require that it be carried out within a “reasonable” period of time. Furthermore, as some companies currently offer, while it is being repaired, the customer will be able to request a temporary replacement device.
In the same way, unless the repair is an option that the company offers free of charge, for example, because it is within the warranty period, the The price for the service offered by the manufacturer must also be “reasonable.” Thus, manufacturers will offer more competent options than those offered today, which can usually have a high price.
Once the device in question has been repaired and returned to its owner, users should take into account that They will have an additional twelve months of warranty with the manufactureras detailed in the agreement.
With this extension of the warranty period, users will be able to go to the company again, in case the device fails again or has not been repaired correctly. In this way, the responsibility to the brand to offer quality repairs.
REFER REPAIR TO A THIRD PARTY SERVICE
Another option that users can use is to repair your device at a third-party repair company. This is an alternative that is currently available, however, it presents some difficulties in obtaining good service.
For example, one of the problems that users face is lack of knowledge of available repair companies. Therefore, with what is stipulated in the EU agreement, they will be able to go to the European online repair platform.
This platform will be a space that will make available to consumers the different repair services available at EU level and cross-border. Instead of having to review 27 national platforms, you can browse the same platform until you find the service that best suits you.
Thus, the platform will have different sections for each Member Statewith information from national repair platforms, both public and private.
On the other hand, another of the problems that this modality presents is that, on some occasions, the Manufacturers do not make it easy for other companies to carry out the repairputting obstacles like prevent the correct operation of the device if non-original components were used for repairs or not distributing information on how the arrangements should be carried out.
In order to stop this type of actions, the agreement states that prohibit the practices of the companies that prevent the use of second-hand or 3D printed spare parts by independent repairers.
Likewise, brands must provide information on spare parts, necessary materials and procedures to fix the devices. In fact, all of this must be available from your website.
SELF-REPAIR THE DEVICE
A third alternative is that users can repair damaged devices by their own means. In this case, the measures mentioned above apply, with which users must be able to access, through the brand’s website, the necessary information.
That is, they must have content such as repair tutorialsat the same time they must be able access necessary partseven with the possibility of compare them from the web. All this, provided by the manufacturer.
Despite all this, for the moment, this is a provisional agreement. Therefore, must be formally endorsed and adopted by both institutions in the futureso it will not be definitively effective yet.