September 22, 2023
ETIRA is pleased to announce its support for the recent agreement in principle reached by the European Parliament and Council to ban misleading advertisements and enhance consumer product information. These new rules were suggested by the EU Commission last year, and required approval from the EU Parliament and Member States. Once in force, they will represent a significant step towards protecting consumers from deceptive marketing practices and enabling them to make more informed choices when purchasing products.
What will be prohibited under the new rules?
The new EU law will outlaw the following practices:
- Generic environmental claims, such as “environmentally friendly,” “natural,” “biodegradable,” “climate neutral,” or “eco,” without credible evidence of exceptional environmental performance related to the claim.
- Commercial communications promoting goods with features that intentionally limit their durability, unless information about the feature and its effects on durability is provided.
- Claims based on emissions offsetting schemes suggest that a product has a neutral, reduced, or positive environmental impact.
- Sustainability labels that are not based on approved certification schemes or established by public authorities.
- Durability claims related to usage time or intensity under normal conditions without adequate proof.
- Encouraging consumers to replace consumables (e.g., printer ink cartridges) prematurely.
- Presenting software updates as necessary when they only enhance functionality features.
- Misleadingly labelling goods as repairable when they are not.
- Introduction of a new harmonized label for products with extended guarantees
ETIRA is especially pleased with the provision to make guarantee information more visible to consumers. Many individuals are unaware that all consumer products come with at least a two-year guarantee in the EU. Additionally, the Commission has been tasked with designing a new label for producers who voluntarily extend the guarantee period without charging consumers.
Responding to this agreement, ETIRA underscores the EU’s commitment to addressing pressing concerns surrounding the premature replacement of ink and toner cartridges, as well as the broader issue of firmware updates that can hinder cartridge use and render printers inoperative for no reason.
ETIRA President Javier Martinez hailed the achievement, stating that better guarantee visibility and a new label empower consumers to choose durable products. He praised the strong stance against early obsolescence and the clarity these rules bring to environmental claims, banning emissions offsetting. ETIRA fully embraces these changes, especially in addressing premature cartridge replacement and firmware disruptions.
The provisional agreement awaits final approval by Parliament and the Council, with an expected full EP vote in November. Thereafter, Member states will have 24 months to adopt the new rules. ETIRA eagerly anticipates these changes promoting transparency, sustainability, and consumer rights in Europe.