The European Commission adopted a package of legislation under the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC) setting out EU wide rules on reparability, availability of spare parts and access to repair and maintenance information for certain energy related products (including amongst others: refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and washer-dryers). The package was adopted on 1 October 2019 and will apply from 1 March 2021 (for most affected product groups).

The new measures aim to facilitate reparability and increase the lifespan of products. Under the new EU-wide rules:

  • Manufacturers, importers or authorised representatives must make certain spare parts available for a minimum period of time after the last unit has been placed on the EU market. This period varies by product group and the particular spare part. For household dishwashers: the minimum period is 7 years for certain spare parts listed in the legislation (for which access can be restricted to professional repairers) and 10 years for other specified spare parts (which must be made available to end-users or professional repairers);
  • Spare parts must be delivered within 15 working days following a request;
  • Manufacturers must also ensure that spare parts can be replaced with the use of commonly available tools and without permanent damage to the appliance;
  • Certain repair and professional maintenance information must be made available to professional repairers; and
  • A list of the spare parts and the procedure for ordering them must be displayed on a free access website by the manufacturer, distributor or authorised representative.

In addition, the package of legislation also sets out other ecodesign requirements for specific product groups, such as on energy efficiency and information requirements (i.e. certain information that must appear on the product, the packaging, the user and installation instructions or online). For eight product groups, the existing ecodesign requirements have been revised (refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, electronic displays (including televisions), light sources and separate control gears, external power suppliers, electric motors and power transformers). Two other product groups are being regulated for the first time (welding equipment and refrigerators with a direct sales function e.g. fridges in supermarkets).

The European Parliament has also called on the European Commission to consider extending the ecodesign requirements on reparability and the availability of spare parts to other durable non-energy related consumer products. So manufacturers of products not affected by these new laws need to keep a close eye on these developments. We’ll keep you updated on this!