A report on developing longer product lifetimes was recently debated by the European Parliament’s IMCO Committee. This one only had 225 amendments tabled. The debate reflected the divergent views on other legislative proposals, such as the contract law mentioned above.
It is suggested that while the Directive for on-line sales could keep the two-year limit on claiming as a baseline, there should be a minimum period of five years for large household appliances and movable fixed assets.
The main issue with the longer timescale is that the UK experience has shown that many consumer advisers interpret this limit as meaning that products are guaranteed to last that long without needing to carry out routine maintenance in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions (such as cleaning out or replacing air filters), let alone conducting repairs!
In fact, the European Commission’s recent survey, which we reported previously, found that almost all consumer claims for faulty products occur very soon after purchase. So, specifying longer periods would seem to be unnecessary, unless they are viewed as an effective way of encouraging manufactures to offer longer guarantees. But, while guarantees for large white goods are getting longer, a cheap small appliance is not going to carry a 5-year warranty without some significant increase in cost! The vote will be on 24 April 2017.