Repairability Index for Smartphones: Will Cell Phone Prices Rise When It Comes?

Repairability Index for Smartphones: Will Cell Phone Prices Rise When It Comes?

With the introduction of a reparability index for smartphones, the EU wants to do something for consumers again. Replacing individual parts and simply putting the cell phone back together in the event of damage should be possible even for laypeople. However, this can have a negative effect on prices.

Easier repair of smartphones and tablets: EU wants to introduce assessment

Nothing has been decided yet, but the EU Commission is currently talking about a "reparability index" for smartphones and tablets. Such a value should indicate how well or badly current devices can be repaired if something breaks seriously - and is not already covered by the manufacturer's guarantee. Many details are still pending, but a possible start is planned for 2023 (source: heise).

Based on the revised energy label, there should be a scale from A to G that offers manufacturers an incentive to design their mobile devices to be more repair-friendly and customer-friendly. The assessment should include how many work steps are necessary to replace parts such as the battery, display or the camera module.

The score should also reflect whether instructions are available and whether you need expert knowledge and special tools. However, the price of spare parts is currently not included in the assessment.

The step is one of several attempts to improve the situation of smartphone customers. For example, there is an obligation under discussion that stipulates that smartphones must be made waterproof in the future and so robust that they can withstand a minimum number of falls.

Smartphone repair: yes please, but what does it cost the consumer?

If one follows the French model in the EU, the cost-effectiveness of repairs - and thus indirectly also the price of spare parts - could also be included in the reparability index. This would counteract a possible price increase that could otherwise result from the planned regulations.

Because a repair, even with original parts directly from the manufacturer, will have to be cheaper than buying a new smartphone. Anything else makes no economic sense for customers or repair shops.

If you value replaceable smartphone parts, you should take a look at the new Fairphone 4 - you can see it in our hands-on video :

But if you condemn the manufacturers for optimized repairability, Apple, Xiaomi, Samsung and Co. could come up with the idea of increasing their entry-level prices on average. That could also be argued, after all, one would have to manufacture tailor-made smartphones for Europe and change production processes.

Two alternatives show that there is another way: In Germany, Thuringia has had some success with consumers this year with the repair bonus. And the recently introduced Fairphone 4 shows that interchangeability of smartphones can also be a strong selling point.


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