In 2017, time.lex and CEPS (Centre for European Policy Studies) performed an interesting study for the European Parliament (EP) Research Service regarding the possible introduction of a mandatory guarantee for the lifespan of certain products in the EU consumer legislation framework.
The study was performed in the framework of the adoption of the Online Sales Directive and the Digital Content Directive, where members of the European Parliament have proposed certain amendments to introduce such a lifespan guarantee.
In their ex-ante assessment of the impact of such a guarantee, different policy options were compared in view of their impact on consumer protection, the legal security of traders and manufacturers, the cost-benefit impact, the impact on sustainable consumption and production and the development of the circular economy. The future developments regarding smart products and the Internet of Things was taken into consideration as well.
It is a complex matter, involving different kinds of products, different roles and responsibilities within the distribution chain and different options to define a ‘normal’ lifespan for a mandatory guarantee, versus the principles of contractual freedom that apply currently to the figure of a pure commercial guarantee as set forth in the Consumer Sales Directive (which will likely be merged with the two proposed directives).
The study has been finalised and on 28 September 2017 Sylvain Bouyon of CEPS and Stefan Van Camp of time.lex explained the study and answered questions in a session of the European Parliament, Commission Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO).
The session can be viewed online, including the explanations of the authors, the point of view of rapporteur MEP Arimont and questions of other MEP’s as well as the point of view of the European Commission, who did not include the lifespan guarantee in the proposed directives.
View the published report here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_STU(2017)610999