A mandatory universal charger for your smart phones

A universal charger mandatory for your smart phones

A new bill will establish standards to define a universal charger.

The scene will probably be familiar to you: you are at a friend's house and you ask him where you could charge your smartphone, which is almost out of battery. You're about to plug in the wire when you realize you don’t have the right charger. After grumbling between your teeth, you turn to your friend, your eyes full of hope, but to make matters worse, he is part of the Android team.

A situation that may not be repeated again, if we are to believe the bill tabled this Thursday by the Minister of Justice and responsible for consumer protection, Simon Jolin-Barrette.

The bill protecting consumers from planned obsolescence and promoting the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods will establish standards for determining a universal charger that can be used with all electronic devices sold in the province, a first in America, reads a press release.

Other measures are part of the bill, including the prohibition of planned obsolescence, this means adopted by manufacturers to voluntarily limit the life of a device, the creation of a guarantee of good functioning which allows free repair of property, including household appliances, for a period established by law. This measure therefore aims to reduce the overconsumption of obsolete goods, too often replaced a few years later and thrown in the trash.

The consumer's right to repair will also be strengthened in the sense that he will be able to do business with the repairer of his choice and the companies will have to make available the spare parts as well as the information necessary to carry out the repair. The tools used to repair property must also be common.

The bill also affects the automotive industry. The owner of a recent vehicle with problems may directly request the cancellation of the sales contract or obtain financial compensation for the purchase price.

Positive reactions at Équiterre

As for environmental organizations, Équiterre reacted enthusiastically to the all of these measures aimed at combating planned obsolescence. According to reduction analyst Amélie Côté, by following in the footsteps of other European countries that have implemented similar initiatives, Quebec is becoming “a leader on this issue”.

“What is promising is that we want to act on the main obstacle to repair, namely the very design of the objects. By making it mandatory to be able to replace and repair parts with common tools, manufacturers are forced to change their practices. It was high time to reverse this burden and give more power to consumers,” she said in a press release.

The bill would, however, benefit from being improved, believes Ms. Côté. The latter is of the opinion that it would benefit from including a sustainability index that would allow the population to have access to information on the quality of certain products.

A concern also remains about the real impact of these new measures on companies if the money invested in their application is not sufficient to enforce them and punish offenders. A problem currently facing the current law.

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