Repairing smartphones: consumer advocates demand quick action

The right to repair is also a priority of the Ampel-Coalition. Different approaches are being pursued as to how smartphones and other electronic devices can become more sustainable. Consumer protection is all about one thing: rapid implementation.

We are now years away from the last serious smartphone with a removable battery – with the exception of notable exceptions such as the current Fairphone. Other damage to the device can also mean that the cell phone is practically unusable and thus becomes electronic waste, although actually only a small part needs to be replaced.

Repair of smartphones: consumer protection wants priority in implementation

The EU and the German government want to declare war on the throwaway society for electrical appliances – for example with a right to repair, which also obliges manufacturers to enable repairs and to keep components available. Klaus Müller, head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), is now demanding that you step on the accelerator with the plans.

“We would like that within the first hundred days on the way, ”explains Müller (source: dpa via heise online). According to consumer advocates, it should be ready by mid-March – an ambitious goal, because there is a lot to be done.

For example, since March last year, manufacturers of large electrical appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines have had an eco-design guideline. The producers have to start with the construction make repairs easy with common tools. Spare parts must be available for seven to ten years.

An early step in the direction the EU now wants is the self-repairing charging cable:

In the EU, they want to go from the big to the small and also introduce mandatory refrigerators for smaller devices such as tablets and smartphones. In addition, tough regulations for resilience are planned. The warranty obligation is to be expanded so that customers have a longer right to the removal of defects.

Consumer protection puts pressure, manufacturers have long been on board

The right-to-repair movement, which is also growing stronger in the USA, has already seen its first successes: for example, has Apple announcedto make spare parts available to private customers in the future. However, it is questionable whether the regulations on repairing and avoiding further electronic waste will actually proceed as quickly as one would like consumer protection to do.