New rules to massively strengthen EU's right to repair successfully pass through European Parliament with 584 votes for, just 3 against

Gigabyte G5 (2023) gaming laptop on a white desk
(Image credit: Future)

The European Parliament has just adopted new rules making the right to repair much stronger across EU member states. The new rules not only give consumers a hand in requesting support for repairing items from manufacturers but also crack down on ways to block third-party repairs. All of which should see everything from laptops to vacuum cleaners to iPhones become much easier to fix, saving having to buy a new one.

"Consumers’ right to repair products will now become a reality," says René Repasi, MEP. "It will be easier and cheaper to repair instead of purchase new, expensive items. This is a significant achievement for Parliament and its commitment to empower consumers in the fight against climate change. The new legislation extends legal guarantees by 12 months when opting for repair, gives better access to spare parts and ensures easier, cheaper and faster repair."

Under the new rules, manufacturers will need to inform consumers about their rights, offer extended legal guarantees, and provide cost-effective repair services. Furthermore, they will have to provide spare parts and tools at a reasonable price and can no longer block consumer repairs through hardware or software, which strengthens the ability of repair shops to fit suitable replacements.

"In particular, [manufacturers] cannot impede the use of second-hand or 3D-printed spare parts by independent repairers, nor can they refuse to repair a product solely for economic reasons or because it was previously repaired by someone else," notes a press release for the legislation.

A pan-European online platform will be set up to offer advice to consumers about where they will be able to get a product repaired, including local repair shops, and community-led repair initiatives, such as repair cafes.

One manufacturer that will likely be at odds with the new legislation is Apple, which has employed something called parts pairing to prevent third-party replacements of certain components. Parts pairing means that even if a part on an iPhone is replaced with a like-for-like replacement by a third party, it may not be recognised by the phone unless officially sanctioned by Apple. 

Apple isn't the only company to use tactics such as parts pairing, but Repasi did note in a press conference that Apple would now need to justify any way in which it intends to block repairs on its devices and that it would have difficulty in doing so once the legislation is in place. They said it may end up as a matter for the courts to decide.

"The right to repair is actually extending consumer rights, and is giving a very current example of what Europe is doing to support its citizens," Repasi said.

The State of Oregon also passed legislation recently to strengthen the right to repair and prevent parts pairing and similar practices, and more widely a few US states have been keen to adopt stronger right to repair legislation, including California


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Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.