EU’s new right-to-repair rules force companies to repair out-of-warranty devices

EU's new right-to-repair rules force companies to repair out-of-warranty devices

The European Union has adopted a right-to-repair directive that will make it easier for consumers to get their devices fixed. The new rules extend a product’s guarantee if it breaks under warranty, while obliging manufacturers to repair devices no longer covered. The law still needs to be approved by member nations. 

Devices sold in Europe already offer minimum two-year warranties, but the new rules impose additional requirements. If a device is repaired under warranty, the customer must be given a choice between a replacement or a repair. If they choose the latter, the warranty is to be extended by a year. 

Once it expires, companies are still required to repair “common household products” that are repairable under EU law, like smartphones, TVs and certain appliances (the list of devices can be extended over time). Consumer may also borrow a device during the repair or, if it can’t be fixed, opt for a refurbished unit as an alternative.

The EU says repairs must be offered at a “reasonable” price such that “consumers are not intentionally deterred” from them. Manufacturers need to supply spare parts and tools and not try to weasel out of repairs through the use of “contractual clauses, hardware or software techniques.” The latter, while not stated, may make it harder for companies to sunset devices by halting future updates

In addition, manufacturers can’t stop the use of second-hand, original, compatible or 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers as long as they’re in conformity with EU laws. They must provide a website that shows prices for repairs, can’t refuse to fix a device previously repaired by someone else and can’t refuse a repair for economic reasons.

While applauding the expanded rules, Europe’s Right to Repair group said it there were missed opportunities. It would have liked to see more product categories included, priority for repair over replacement, the right for independent repairers to have access to all spare parts/repair information and more. “Our coalition will continue to push for ambitious repairability requirements… as well as working with members focused on the implementation of the directive in each member state.”

Along with helping consumers save money, right-to-repair rules help reduce e-waste, CO2 pollution and more. The area is currently a battleground in the US as well, with legislation under debate in around half the states. California’s right-to-repair law — going into effect on July 1 — forces manufacturers to stock replacement parts, tools and repair manuals for seven years for smartphones and other devices that cost over $100.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

By John Routledge

Founder and owner of - I'm an avid tech junkie, a lover of new gadgets and home automation. You will often find me reading, writing, and learning about new technologies. I've been featured in many leading technology magazines where I've written about my favorite topics.