The beginnings of a legal framework for refurbished



In 2020, 2.8 million refurbished phones were sold in France, a figure up 25% compared to 2019. For several years, refurbished products have attracted consumers, both for economic and ecological reasons. And companies tout “like new” or “refurbished” devices. But these ambiguous designations will have to disappear. A decree published on February 17, 2022 has brought some order to a sector that has hitherto been very poorly regulated.

The text bans the use of expressions “new condition, like new, new or any equivalent mention” for a product “accompanied by the mention “reconditioned””. For Raphaël Bartlomé, head of the legal department of the UFC-Que Choisir association, this ban is “real progress”. “The marketing discourse consists of talking about reconditioned products to enhance the opportunity. However, consumers must not be led to believe that these products are equivalent to new. »

According to the decree, to be qualified as “reconditioned”the product must have “has undergone tests on all its functionalities in order to establish that it meets the legal security obligations and the use that the consumer can legitimately expect”. Then, “if there is any”interventions should “to restore its functionality”.

In addition, all saved data of the previous user must have been deleted. ” Nothing new “, reacts Raphaël Bartlomé, who specifies that second-hand goods sold by professionals should already meet safety and compliance obligations.

Above all, the text does not list the tests to be carried out, which reduces its scope. To the chagrin of Benoît Varin, co-founder of Recommerce, a pioneering reconditioning company in France. If he welcomes the publication of the decree, the leader regrets the absence of creation of a certification. “It’s very complex, but I think we can succeed in launching a label, through the professional federation for reuse, to control the quality of reconditioning. »

From a legislative point of view, the hope for a stricter definition, and therefore less vague for the consumer, rests with the European Commission, the only one capable of laying down a binding framework. She should speak on the issue in the course of this year 2022.

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