European Commission Proposes Directive to Fight Built-in Obsolescence of Consumer Goods

On March 30, 2022, the European Commission tabled a draft directive amending the currently effective Directives 2005/29/EC (on unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices) and 2011/83/EU (on consumer rights), as an element of the green transition, including through the enforcement of measures against built-in obsolescence of consumer goods.

The draft directive envisions that consumers must be given information about the duration of guaranteed durability of each product as well as the possibilities for repair of products. In the cases of smart devices and digital services, consumers must be informed of the future software updates to be provided by the manufacturer. Such information must guarantee that the consumer will not be misled about the expected life cycle of the relevant product or about the need to purchase additional consumables to keep it operational.

In addition, the Draft prohibits the provision of false or misleading information about the environmental or social impacts of the product, respectively its durability or the options for repair. Manufacturers will be required to provide information also in cases where their products will have limited functionality if using consumables, spare parts or accessories manufactured by third parties.