The government will make it mandatory for car, cell phone and other consumer goods companies to share product details so that consumers can make repair themselves or employ third parties.
The Department of Consumer Affairs, in a statement on Thursday, said it has set up a committee chaired by Nidhi Khare, an additional secretary, to develop a framework on ‘Right to Repair’. The committee first met on Wednesday to identify sectors for the right.
The sectors identified include farming equipment, mobile phones/ tablets, consumer durables, and automobiles/automobile equipment. According to the ‘Right to Repair’ concept, customers must own a product completely after purchase. “…consumers should be able to repair and modify the product with ease and at reasonable cost, without being captive to the whims of manufacturers for repairs”, according to the statement.
The framework proposes to empower consumers, harmonise trade between the original equipment manufacturers and the third-party buyers and sellers, and reduce e-waste, the statement said.
A survey by LocalCircles, a community network, found earlier 43 per cent of the households in India have three or more devices or gadgets that are less than five-year old and need service or repair.
Manufacturers usually retain proprietary control over spare parts, including their design, and the government feels that this kind of monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s “right to choose”.
In a related development, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (also headed by Khare) has issued an advisory to e-commerce companies directing them that the sale of Ayurvedic, Siddha, or Unani drugs through their platform shall be done only after a valid prescription of a registered practitioner respectively is uploaded by the user on the platform.