On 23 April, the EU Parliament adopted the ‘right to repair’ directive with an overwhelming majority of votes in favour of the directive. The aim of the legislation is to incentivise consumers to choose repair over replacement, thereby extending the lifecycle of products and bolstering the repair sector in the process. This article outlines the key elements of the directive and how it might apply to UK businesses selling goods into the EU. 

Repair services and extending warranty periods 

Manufacturers will face new repair obligations. They must inform customers about their rights to repair and provide timely and cost-effective repair services. If a defect appears within a product’s warranty period, consumers will benefit from an additional one year extension of the warranty period. 
If a warranty period has expired, manufacturers will still need to repair common household products which are considered repairable under EU law, including washing machines, vacuum cleaners and smartphones. The existing list of these post-warranty repairable items may also be extended in the future. Consumers can also request to borrow a product whilst theirs is being repaired or if the product is beyond repair, elect for a refurbished product as an alternative to buying a new replacement.

Products covered

The new repair obligation is limited to products purchased by consumers. Items covered include white goods such as washing machines and also TVs, phones, tablets and batteries for light forms of transport (e-bikes etc.).

Making repairs accessible and affordable 

The directive also puts pressure on EU member states to make repairing more accessible for consumers. Each EU member state will have to implement at least one measure to promote repair, for example repair vouchers and repair funds. A European wide online platform with national sections will also be set up to help consumers easily find local repair options or community-led repair initiatives and repair spaces. 

A repair marketplace

Manufacturers will have to provide spare parts and tools at a reasonable price and will be prohibited from using contractual clauses, hardware or software techniques that obstruct repairs. This includes not preventing independent repairers from using second-hand or 3D-printed spare parts. Manufacturers will also not have grounds to refuse repair solely on the basis of cost or because the product was previously repaired by someone else.

Application to non-EU companies  

UK companies will need to comply with the directive if they are selling products into the EU. The directive specifically caters for consumers purchasing goods from a non-EU based manufacturer, stating that the non-EU manufacturer’s authorised representative should perform the repair. 

Where there is no authorised representative, the obligation will be on the EU-based importer or failing that, the EU-based distributor. Therefore, UK companies without an EU authorised representative should consider appointing one or making repairing arrangements with the companies which import or distribute their products into the EU. 

GB based companies selling goods into Northern Ireland should also consider how the directive may apply to their goods through the Windsor Framework.


This new EU legislation goes far further than what we have in the UK which while called “right to repair” was never more than an obligation on manufacturers to provide their specialised repair network with replacement parts.

In terms of next steps, the directive will need formal approval from the EU Council after which it will be published in the EU Official Journal. EU member states will then have 24 months to transpose the directive into national law. 


For more information on the new 'right to repair', please get in contact with Shraiya Thapa or Kirstin Roberts.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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