According to the provisions of a new political agreement, Europe's right-to-repair legislation would require vendors to stand behind their products for an additional 12 months after a repair has been completed.
Consumers will be able to choose between repairing and replacing defective items during a liability period that vendors must provide. The liability term is set to be at least two years before any extensions.
"If the consumer chooses the repair of the good, the seller's liability period will be extended by 12 months from the moment when the product is brought into conformity. This period may be further prolonged by member states if they so wish," a European Council announcement on Friday said.
The 12-month extension is part of a preliminary arrangement between the European Parliament and Council to implement the European Commission's right-to-repair regulation, enacted in March 2023. The accord must still be formally adopted by the Parliament and Council before it takes effect 20 days after being published in the Official Journal of the European Union.
"Once adopted, the new rules will introduce a new 'right to repair' for consumers, both within and beyond the legal guarantee, which will make it easier and more cost-effective for them to repair products instead of simply replacing them with new ones," the European Commission said on Friday.
The rules require that spare parts be available at reasonable prices, and product manufacturers will be prohibited from using "contractual, hardware, or software-related barriers to repair, such as impeding the use of second-hand, compatible, and 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers," according to the Commission.
The newly agreed-upon wording "requires manufacturers to make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time and, unless the service is provided for free, at a reasonable price, so that consumers are encouraged to choose repair," the European Council stated.
The Commission stated that consumers would be obliged to have choices for getting repairs both before and after the minimum responsibility period expires.
When a defect appears within the legal guarantee, consumers will now benefit from a prolonged legal guarantee of one year if they choose to have their products repaired.
When the legal guarantee has expired, the consumers will be able to request an easier and cheaper repair of defects in those products that must be technically repairable (such as tablets, smartphones but also washing machines, dishwashers, etc.). Manufacturers will be required to publish information about their repair services, including indicative prices of the most common repairs.
The Commission's overall purpose is to address "obstacles that discourage consumers from repairing due to inconvenience, lack of transparency, or difficult access to repair services." To make it easier for customers to discover repair services, the Council announced plans for a European-wide web portal "to facilitate the matchmaking between consumers and repairers."