Consumers immediately have the right to obtain repairs for certain electrical and electronic devices
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"Right to repairs" - more rights for consumers, an additional challenge for manufacturers

As of March 1, 2021, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, televisions and other products must meet stricter standards for reparability. The new EU-wide ecodesign rules apply as of the reference date. According to these rules, manufacturers must now keep spare parts in stock for a certain period of time and design the relevant products in such a way that components can be taken apart using conventional tools and without destroying the appliance.

Gert Jäckel
Do the repairs yourself, or get help from a commercial repair technician
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The Ecodesign Directive, which previously set standards mainly for energy efficiency in products, has now been expanded to include regulations about the longevity of products. The goal is for products to have a longer lifespan and to significantly reduce the volume of electronic waste, as well as protecting valuable resources and the climate.

"Don't throw it out, repair it" is the motto and the idea behind the new EU regulations. Since March 1, 2021, all new appliances need to be easier to repair. Replacements for non-critical small parts such as spray arms, seals and silverware baskets in dishwashers must be available for seven, eight or ten years depending on the product (see table below), so that consumers can repair their defective appliances themselves. If more extensive repairs are required that cannot be done "on your own" (like replacing an electrical component), an expert needs to be consulted. The goal of the new directive is not for consumers to purchase electrical components and put themselves and others at risk.

The following product groups are affected by the new directive

Product groupSpare part availability period

Cooling appliances for private customers

At least 7 years
Cooling appliances for direct sales (e.g. in a supermarket)At least 8 years
Electronic displays (including televisions)At least 7 years
Household dishwashersAt least 7 years
Household washing machines and household washer-dryersAt least 10 years

Right to repairs for washing machines and washer-dryers
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For manufacturers, the new rules mean another challenge for product design. In the future, they will need to design the relevant products in such a way that the appliance or its spare parts can be disassembled at the end of the lifespan using generally available tools, and/or replaced without permanent damage to the appliance. In addition, defined spare parts and the process for ordering these spare parts must be available to the public on the freely accessible website of the manufacturer, importer or authorized representative at the latest two years after a model is put on the market, and until the end of the availability period (between 7 and 10 years) for these spare parts. Delivery must take place within at most 15 business days after receipt of the order. Furthermore, appliance-specific repair and maintenance information must be provided for commercial repair technicians.

Example: What will washing-machine manufacturers need to consider in the future?

You can find all of the important information for household washing machines and household washer-dryers here (download):

  • Availability of spare parts
  • Maximum delivery times for spare parts
  • Access to repair and maintenance information
  • Information request for coolants
  • Request for disassembly for the purpose of material utilization and recycling while also avoiding environmental impacts

The corresponding text passages are indicated in a different color.

Source: COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) 2019/2023 of 1 October 2019 laying down ecodesign requirements for household washing machines and household washer-dryers pursuant to Directive 2009/125/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, amending Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1275/2008 and repealing Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1015/2010 

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