Why French chains like Fnac Darty refuse to join repair bonus scheme

Apple, Auchan and Carrefour have also failed to certify their repair teams to the government’s eco-initiative

Government repair scheme has been hindered by a lack of certified repairers and the refusal of large companies like Fnac Darty to sign up

A cash bonus of €10 to €45 is available for people who choose to repair their appliances rather than buying new ones – but some of France’s largest chains are yet to sign up.

The bonus réparation is only available for appliances that are repaired by businesses with QualiRépar certification. A list is available at ecosystem.eco

The scheme has not taken off as the government had hoped since its launch last December.

In its first four months, just €500,000 of the available €62million ring-fenced for the scheme had been used.

Read more: France doubles cash bonus for repairing appliances. How can I benefit?

Scheme competes with company’s own repair service

It has been hindered by a lack of certified repairers, and the refusal of large companies, including Apple, Fnac Darty, Auchan and Carrefour, to sign up.

In the case of Fnac Darty, the group considers the scheme to be competing with its subscription-based repair service, Darty Max. The service offers unlimited repairs for between €10 and €20 per month, depending on the types of appliance covered.

The government’s repair bonus does not apply to appliances under warranty, and since Darty Max is considered to be a form of warranty, clients are not eligible for the aid.

The group has, therefore, resisted the certification process, as it claims this would reward clients who are less cautious and do not pay for Darty Max cover, to the detriment of those who do.

Read more: ‘France’s new repair grant for appliances is great – in theory’

Products already under legal guarantee for two years

Consumer group UFC Que-Choisir has warned that allowing such ‘affinity insurance’ deals to qualify for the bonus would be an “unjustified use of public aid”, as this type of insurance is “rarely advantageous for customers in the long run”.

France’s garantie légale de conformité already guarantees that faulty products can be repaired or replaced for free in the first two years.

The government has suggested that large companies could be incited, or even forced, to sign up to the repair bonus scheme, but no concrete measures have been announced.

Other major companies, including Boulanger and E. Leclerc, have already obtained the certification for their after-sales service repair teams.

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