New "Right to Repair" rules for appliances on the horizon

4th October 2019

On Wednesday 2nd October The European Commission announced that it will be implementing new measures as part of its “Energy efficiency first” principles that look to improve the general “eco-design” of a range of products, including refrigerators and washing machines. Amongst other things, these measures include improving product life-spans as well as removing barriers to maintaining and repairing such products, with specific requirements for manufacturers to make spare parts and repair information available for up to ten years after purchase. The regulations also provide for more stringent energy efficiency labelling.

The actual date when these new regulations come into force has not yet been confirmed and, in light of this, we will have to see how the regulations are implemented in the UK in the wake of Brexit. However, UK firms will have to abide by the new regulations if they want to sell appliances in Europe after Brexit. At this point, we cannot predict the extent to which the UK would diverge from the EU position, or implement equivalent standards so far as it is practicable to do so. Similar “right to repair” legislation is also being considered across the US, and so it can be assumed that, notwithstanding Brexit, a similar initiative would be welcomed in the UK.

Eve England, Principal Associate in Eversheds Sutherland’s consumer law practice comments:

“Whilst there is no doubt that these measures are needed to support principles of sustainability, the proposals will have a significant impact on the consumer law regime that applies both in the UK and beyond. The requirement for spare parts to be available for up to ten years after sale of the original product will extend the current “repair and replace” obligations established by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and will mean that manufacturers will need to put new systems in place to ensure sufficient stocks can be produced and stored for this extended period”.

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