Fixing faulty, out-of-warranty white goods and gadgets is set to get cheaper in France from September, when a new grant to offer repairs via a "QualiRépar"-certified operator will come into force.
The new system is a result of the ‘loi anti-gaspillage’ (anti-waste law) from February 2020, and the launch on April 7 of a new fund solely intended to help with the repair of electric and electronic equipment (équipements électriques et électroniques, EEE).
From September 2022, this new fund will enable people in France to benefit from a reduction in the cost of repairing out-of-warranty goods.
The main aims are to encourage consumers to repair their broken goods rather than buy new ones, to reduce the environmental footprint of production, and to promote and encourage reparation skills.
Currently, the cost to repair goods can reach 44% of the cost of a new product for white goods, and 50% for smaller kitchen goods such as microwaves, figures from energy and environment agency Ademe show.
This means that when a product breaks out of warranty, most people simply replace rather than repair. Ademe statistics from 2021 show that of the 1.5 billion EEE goods put on the market in France in 2019, the repair rate was only 10%.
Ademe has estimated that the new fund should enable the number of repairs of out-of-warranty appliances to rise by 41% by 2027.
What equipment will be eligible for the repair fund?
Only electrical and electronic equipment that is out of warranty will be eligible for the repair fund. From September 2022, this will include:
The list will gradually be extended to include more items.
However, the fund will not cover all breakdowns or issues; it will be up to the repairer to assess whether the breakdown is eligible for the scheme before including the aid in the final quote estimate.
How will it be paid for?
The fund will be financed by Ecosystem and Ecologic, eco-organisations of the waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) sector. The money comes from eco-taxes paid by equipment manufacturers.
How much will the grant be?
The amount has not yet been fixed officially, but it should be around 20% of the cost of the repair including VAT.
How can I benefit from the fund?
Consumers do not need to do anything, except contact a repairer who has obtained the "QualiRépar" label, which has been set up by the eco-organisations.
There will be an online search portal that will help consumers to find repairers closest to your home.
The repairer will then include the deduction in their quote and final bill, if the repair qualifies. They will be reimbursed later.
Mathilde Versmee, an economic analyst and head of the repair fund at the consumer defence association CLCV, explained: "When a consumer goes to a repairer, they will get a deduction from their bill and the repairer will be reimbursed by the eco-organisations over a period of thirty days.”