The purpose of the repairability index was to reduce waste and direct the consumer to more sustainable products. Nevertheless, it is far from a success according to a major consumer association. She explained the reasons for this failure and called on the government to carry out a reform.
The index is not relevant information
In January 2021, the repairability index came into force as part of the law on combating waste. Since then, manufacturers of electrical and electronic equipment have had to include a repairability index on certain products. This is also a logical step, because many French people prefer to repair their devices rather than make a replacement. However, this repairability index is currently failing according to a statement from the UFC Que Choisir consumer association published on December 14, 2021.
The association recalls that this index giving a rating out of ten should be on products in five categories, namely televisions, smartphones, mobile phones, window washers and lawn mowers. From 2024, the repairability index will then become a “durability index” and will be extended to other categories of devices.
However, the analysis of 330 products on sale on almost a dozen online platforms proves that the index does not represent relevant information. Indeed, the UFC Que Choisir has raised ratings around 7/10 for some smartphones and televisions. Now, this is quite curious insofar as spare parts are the most difficult to obtain for these two categories of products.
Why such a failure?
For the consumer association, the repairability index offers brands an “artificial satisfaction on the repairability of their products”. In addition, the law would allow these same brands to inflate their ratings. For example, let’s mention laptops for which the reset of the operating system is a valid criterion. However, this kind of practice did not wait for the entry into force of this measure to become a habit.
In addition, several online sites and some major retailers do not bother to display the index. It should be said that official checks to verify the application of the law will appear only at the beginning of 2022 year. And even in case of display, the detail of the index calculation is not easy to find or is sometimes simply unavailable. The association also claimed to have contacted several brands in order to obtain details of their rating grid. Unfortunately, the brands provided them only in one case out of ten.
As a result, the UFC Que Choisir has made some requests to the government. The association is mainly calling for a revision of the law and the construction of the index. The goal is to ensure that the index really reflects the possibility of repairing products. The association also communicated on the famous scoring grid, access and clarity of which must be guaranteed.
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