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posted by hubie on Thursday February 08, @12:48PM   Printer-friendly

The European Parliament has reached a provisional deal on EU regulations to strengthen consumers' right to repair.

Negotiations over the bill have been ongoing for a while now - the rules were first proposed in March 2022, and the hope is that new requirements will be finalized in 2024.

The thinking is that consumers should be better informed about the lifespan and repairability of products before buying them, and there should be measures to boost repair after the legal guarantee period has expired.

All told, the bill looks set to bolster the repair sector. Manufacturers must make spare parts and tools available for "a reasonable price" and be prohibited from using contractual clauses or hardware or software blocks to obstruct repairs. While singling no company out specifically, the European Parliament said: "In particular, they should not impede the use of second-hand or 3D issued spare parts by independent repairers."

Other consumer rights in the deal include options for borrowing a device while their own is being repaired or opting for a refurbished unit, an additional one-year extension of the legal guarantee for repaired goods, and free online access to indicative repair prices.

Under the regulation, manufacturers must inform customers of the duty to repair and be obligated to fix "common household products," such as a washing machine or smartphone. The European Parliament has left open the possibility of adding more items over time.

[...] It will be a while before this all goes into effect, though. Once both Council and Parliament adopt the directive, member states will have 24 months to get it into national law.

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, @12:59PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 08, @12:59PM (#1343618)

    obligated to fix "common household products," such as a washing machine or smartphone.

    You mean we're getting back to the times when there was a single phone per household? Does it have rotary dial at least or is the smartness staying with the human at the switchboard?

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Thursday February 08, @01:16PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @01:16PM (#1343621) Journal

      I think that what it is now saying is that the smartphone is now ubiquitous, whereas for example, a Raspberry Pi is not. The former is covered by this regulation whereas the latter is not.

      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Thursday February 08, @04:28PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 08, @04:28PM (#1343635) Journal

    If they manufacture a product as a non-repairable brick (such as a smartphone) then it is fine if they replace it with a new identical model. Don't like it? Then build things to have a reasonable lifetime. Could it become necessary to write expected lifetime into law due to corporate greed and lawyers?

    I can foresee other things that could become necessary. "Smart" TVs must have HDMI input ports so that the "Smart" part of the TV can be ignored and never set up.

    Hardware that you buy should not be allowed to become a "subscription". Printing as a subscription, for example. After you buy your car, there is a subscription to keep it running.

    Your smartwatch as a subscription model just to keep it actually working.

    It's just corporate greed. If they can't screw you one way, they will find another way. After all corporate executives are entitled to the style to which they have become accustomed.

    With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Immerman on Thursday February 08, @05:15PM

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday February 08, @05:15PM (#1343639)

      I agree fro a "getting your money's worth" perspective.

      But from the perspective of "don't fill the landfills with toxic single-use electronics" that doesn't help anything.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by turgid on Friday February 09, @07:43AM (1 child)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 09, @07:43AM (#1343689) Journal

      There's an easy way to avoid smart TVs. Buy a monitor instead.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Friday February 09, @02:26PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Friday February 09, @02:26PM (#1343719) Journal

        True. As long as you can get it in, say 60 or more inches. And with multiple HDMI inputs. And a remote for on/off/volume/input/adjustments.

        With modern TVs you don't have to worry about braking the yolk on the back of the picture tube.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Thexalon on Thursday February 08, @05:36PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Thursday February 08, @05:36PM (#1343643)

    In Ernest Callenbach's hippie-utopia fiction book Ecotopia, he envisions a world where not only do consumers have a legal right to repair any product they buy, but there's a specific requirement that the manufacturer test that an ordinary person with commonly-available tools can perform that repair with a reasonably-available instruction manual. There's some allowances made for things like electronics, where "reasonably priced component you can swap out" counts as good enough, but there's none of this "you bricked it, you need to buy a new one for $35000".

    And in a lot of ways, it's the opposite of Brave New World's mantra of "rending is better than mending" because of that dystopia's emphasis on brainwashed consumerism.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @12:43AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, @12:43AM (#1343673)

    Business got copyright and patent law passed that supposedly protects their IP and business models.

    We need a rider, similar to the businesstalk about waiving jury trials and accept their binding arbitration clause.

    "Failure to support a product constitutes a release of said product to the Public Domain".

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by deimtee on Friday February 09, @07:41AM (1 child)

      by deimtee (3272) on Friday February 09, @07:41AM (#1343688) Journal

      Was just coming here to post this, but it needs to be explicitly all the patents AND software.

      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
      • (Score: 1) by jrial on Wednesday February 14, @05:27AM

        by jrial (5162) on Wednesday February 14, @05:27AM (#1344365)

        And copyrighted works in general, for that matter. For software, I'd go further: an institution should be set up (e.g. under government control) that collects all source code and assets for all software distributed in the country. Everything necessary to recreate the product being sold. The moment a piece of software becomes unsupported, source code and assets automatically get released into the public domain. For hardware, it should be all the blueprints and whatever documentation is required for manufacture.

        I'm on the fence on whether it should also apply to other things like audiovisual entertainment. Is it sufficient to simply release the audio of an album (and cover art, booklet), or should we also insist on release of the "source material", i.e. the individually recorded tracks, all samples used, ...? Should we insist on not just the finished movie, in however many "editions" it's released, or the raw footage and the A/V mixing data as well? In the interest of reuse and adaptation of the works, it would be better to have these available as well, but I'm not sure there would be enough demand for it.

        Of course, there's an issue. E.g. with software. Many applications (especially games) license third-party libraries, which they don't own, but which get included in the finished software. Should a third-party supplier be punished when one of their clients decides to abandon the software? And in the case of games: should every patch be centrally archived, or just the last release version? Which would incentivise the publisher to release a stripped-down "hello world" as their "final version" before pulling out of the market.

        Install windows on my workstation? You crazy? Got any idea how much I paid for the damn thing?