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Rules promoting the repair of goods

Promoting repair improves the sustainable consumption of goods by consumers

The Commission adopted a proposal on common rules promoting the repair of goods on 22 March 2023. 

This initiative delivers on the Commission priority of the green transition, specifically the European Green Deal and its objective of sustainable consumption. The European Green Deal aims at transforming the EU into a circular economy. One key element of the circular economy is improving the sustainable consumption of goods, thus reducing waste as well as avoiding the use of unnecessary resources and the production of greenhouse gas emissions. 
The New Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Consumer Agenda announced that the Commission will promote sustainable consumption by repair and work towards a new ‘right to repair’. 

The Commission is pursuing this objective in a comprehensive manner. The proposal for Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation promotes the reparability of products from the production phase. The proposal for a Directive on Empowering consumers for the green transition enables consumers to be informed about the reparability and durability of goods when deciding to purchase them. This proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods adds a new dimension: promoting repair in the after-sales context when the goods are used by consumers. The three initiatives together cover the full life-cycle of goods and jointly deliver on the ‘right to repair’. 

Problems identified and objectives of the proposal

When the goods consumers purchased become defective, consumers often decide not to repair, but discard them prematurely, although these products could be repaired and used much longer.

First, this happens when goods purchased by consumers become defective and are covered by the legal guarantee under the Sale of Goods Directive. In this case, consumers have a choice of free remedies provided by the seller and can generally choose between replacement and repair. As most consumers prefer replacement, returned goods mostly end up as waste.

Second, this happens outside the legal guarantee, when consumers are not entitled to free remedies and have to repair at their own cost. This is for instance the case for defects that occur two years after purchase, defects that are due to wear and tear or due to mishandling. In this scenario consumers are often reluctant to repair, because they do not find convenient repair options: they cannot find suitable repair services, are not certain about the conditions and quality of repair or have concerns about high repair costs. In addition, there is low use of refurbished and second-hand goods, limiting the potential for reuse of viable goods.

Discarding reparable goods and replacing them with new ones leads to increased waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and to unnecessary use of resources. 

Considering all of the above, the Commission is proposing measures to promote more sustainable consumption by increasing repair and reuse of goods both within and outside the legal guarantee.

The main elements of the proposal

Measures proposed within the legal guarantee

The proposal introduces an amendment to the legal guarantee framework regulated by the Sale of Goods Directive

  • Prioritising repair as a remedy for non-conformity of goods whenever repair is cheaper or as costly as replacement. This will lead to more repairs compared to the current situation, while consumers remain entitled to have their goods brought into conformity with the contract.

Measures proposed beyond the legal guarantee

The proposal presents several measures to facilitate and encourage repair and reuse of goods: 

  • Obligation to repair goods to which reparability requirements under Union legal acts apply. The producers will be obliged to repair outside the legal guarantee. They can repair for a price or for free as part of a commercial guarantee. Examples of product groups currently covered: household washing machines, household dishwashers, refrigerating appliances and vacuum cleaners. More products will be added in the coming years, starting with smartphones and tablets. 
  • Informing consumers about producers’ repair obligation. Producers who are obliged to repair need to inform consumers of the obligation and provide information on the repair services. 
  • Online national repair platform, matchmaking consumers with repairers and sellers of refurbished goods. The platform will help consumers to find and compare different repair services, based on various repair conditions, including indicative prices.  Consumers can also find sellers or refurbished goods and purchasers of used goods for refurbishment. The platform will help consumers find attractive repair or reuse options as an alternative to buying new goods. 
  • A European Repair Information Form. The form provides standardised key information on the conditions and price of the repair service. Consumers will be able to request the form from any repairer, who may not alter the conditions for 30 days. Consumers will have the possibility to compare repair services and find the one that suits them best. 
  • A voluntary European quality standard for repair services will help consumers identify repairers who commit to certain quality standards. The standard will boost consumer trust in repair services across the Union. The Commission will facilitate the development of this standard.

These measures will lead to an increase in the repair of goods in the Union. Consumers will benefit from significant saving by using their products longer.  The EU economy will benefit overall: the repair sector will grow as a result of increased demand, while sellers and manufacturers will be encouraged to develop sustainable business models. The environment will benefit from less waste, demand for new resources and greenhouse gas production.

What are the next steps

The proposal will be transmitted to the co-legislators, the European Parliament and the Council, where it will be dealt with according to the ordinary legislative procedure. 
The negotiations on the Regulation on Ecodesign for Sustainable Products and the Directive on Empowering consumers for the green transition are at a more advanced stage, as these proposals were adopted one year earlier.



22 MARCH 2023
Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods
22 MARCH 2023
Impact assessment - Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods
22 MARCH 2023
Summary of Impact assessment - Proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods