The European Union has just adopted the  Right to Repair Directive (“R2RD”).  Once it enters into force, the R2RD will require manufacturers of many types of consumer goods to provide repairs beyond the liability period, among other requirements.  This blog post follows up on our previous blog post that discussed the different positions of the European Parliament and Council on the legislative proposal for the R2RD. 

Currently, the right to repair in the EU is regulated by the Sale of Goods Directive and different product-specific Commission Regulations adopted under the Ecodesign Directive.  The Sale of Goods Directive requires sellers to repair defective products during the product liability period.  In addition, different Commission Regulations adopted under the Ecodesign Directive impose on specific categories of consumer goods reparability requirements, such as repair-related transparency requirements, access to spare parts, or improved ease of disassembly, but do not explicitly require manufacturers to repair them.  The R2RD will specifically require manufacturers to repair goods covered by such Commission Regulations if a defect of the goods occurs or becomes apparent outside the seller’s liability under the Sales of Goods Directive.  We provide further details below.

Scope of the Repair Obligation.  The adopted R2RD imposes a repair obligation on manufacturers of goods for which and to the extent that “repairability requirements” are provided for in the EU legislation listed in Annex II to the R2RD.  Annex II lists different Commission Regulations imposing repairability requirements adopted under the EU Ecodesign Directive, and the new EU Sustainable Batteries Regulation.  Covered goods include washing machines, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and other consumer products such as electronic displays, servers, and mobile phones.  The Commission may amend the list of EU legislation and products in Annex II to the R2RD that are subject to the right to repair obligation. 

The requirements of the R2RD also apply to products imported into the EU/EEA.  Manufacturers established in third countries must appoint an authorized representative in the EU.  Otherwise, the importer or distributor of the goods is responsible for compliance with the R2RD.

The Obligation to Repair.  The R2RD requires manufacturers to offer to repair their marketed goods either free of charge or at a reasonable price, unless repair is “impossible.”  National and EU courts will have to define what is “impossible.”  The repair must be carried out within a reasonable time, and manufacturers may provide consumers with a refurbished product if repair is impossible.  Manufacturers may subcontract the repair and will have the option to lend the consumer a replacement product for the duration of the repair, either free of charge or for a reasonable fee.  In addition, manufacturers must provide spare parts at a reasonable price, not impede the use of parts manufactured by third parties, and not penalize consumers for seeking repair from third-party repairers.

European Repair Information Form.  The R2RD also imposes basic requirements on repairers of goods.  Repairers must provide consumers with information on their repair services and fees free of charge and in an easily accessible, clear, and comprehensible manner.  In order to comply with this obligation, repairers may, but are not obliged to, use the European Repair Information Form set out in Annex I to the R2RD.  The form must indicate, inter alia, the goods to be repaired, the nature of the defect, the price (where reasonably calculable in advance) and the estimated time required for the repair.

European Online Platform for Repair.  The R2RD mandates the Commission to establish a European Online Platform for Repair that will allow consumers to easily find repairers, sellers of refurbished goods and purchasers of defective goods.  The European online platform will consist of national sections based on a common online interface and will include links to the national online platforms. 

Amendment to Sale of Goods Directive.  To facilitate the right to repair, the R2RD also amends the Sale of Goods Directive.  This Directive requires sellers of goods to replace or repair goods sold to the consumers if they are not in conformity with the contract of sale or with consumers’ reasonable expectations.  The R2RD extends the seller’s liability period by at least another 12 months if the consumer chooses to repair and includes “repairability” as one of the factors for assessing the reasonable expectations of consumers under the Sale of Goods Directive. 

Transition.  Member States will have to implement the requirements of the R2RD into their national laws by around mid-2026.  Member States may impose obligations beyond those of the R2RD provided they do not diverge from the R2RD requirements.  Thus, producers should monitor closely the transposition of the R2RD in the different Member States.   

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Covington’s Product Safety and Environmental Practice Group has extensive experience advising on EU environmental policy and legislation, as well as EU consumer protection law.  If you have any questions about how the right to repair will affect your business, or about the developments proposed under the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan more broadly, our team would be happy to assist.

(*Alberto Vogel, a trainee in our Brussel’s office who graduated from the University of Turin and received an LLM from King’s College London, contributed to this post.)

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Photo of Cándido García Molyneux Cándido García Molyneux

Cándido García Molyneux provides clients with regulatory, policy and strategic advice on EU environmental and product safety legislation. He helps clients influence EU legislation and guidance and comply with requirements in an efficient manner, representing them before the EU Courts and institutions.

Cándido…

Cándido García Molyneux provides clients with regulatory, policy and strategic advice on EU environmental and product safety legislation. He helps clients influence EU legislation and guidance and comply with requirements in an efficient manner, representing them before the EU Courts and institutions.

Cándido co-chairs the firm’s Environmental Practice Group.

Cándido has a deep knowledge of EU requirements on chemicals, circular economy and waste management, climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energies as well as their interrelationship with specific product categories and industries, such as electronics, cosmetics, healthcare products, and more general consumer products.

In addition, Cándido has particular expertise on EU institutional and trade law, and the import of food products into the EU. Cándido also regularly advises clients on Spanish food and drug law.

Cándido is described by Chambers Europe as being “creative and frighteningly smart.” His clients note that “he has a very measured, considered, deliberative manner,” and that “he has superb analytical and writing skills.”

Photo of Anna Oberschelp de Meneses Anna Oberschelp de Meneses

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate…

Anna Sophia Oberschelp de Meneses is an associate in the Data Privacy and Cybersecurity Practice Group.  Anna is a qualified Portuguese lawyer, but is both a native Portuguese and German speaker.  Anna advises companies on European data protection law and helps clients coordinate international data protection law projects.  She has obtained a certificate for “corporate data protection officer” by the German Association for Data Protection and Data Security (“Gesellschaft für Datenschutz und Datensicherheit e.V.”). She is also Certified Information Privacy Professional Europe (CIPPE/EU) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).  Anna also advises companies in the field of EU consumer law and has been closely tracking the developments in this area.  Her extensive language skills allow her to monitor developments and help clients tackle EU Data Privacy, Cybersecurity and Consumer Law issues in various EU and ROW jurisdictions.