France enacts law forcing companies to make appliances last longer

France is ordering manufacturers to inform consumers how long they can expect their TV, cell phone or other appliance to last — before they buy it.
A shopper examines a new dryer. A new French law will mandate that appliances must last longer than some of them currently do. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

France is ordering manufacturers to inform consumers how long they can expect their TV, cell phone or other appliance to last — before they buy it.

A new French government decree that came into effect this week aims at fighting so-called planned obsolescence. That is when companies design strategies to limit the life span of appliances, so that consumers will have to replace them.

The measure requires manufacturers to inform vendors how long spare parts for an appliance will continue to be produced. The vendor is then required to inform the buyer, in writing. Violators face up to 15,000 euros ($16,800) in fines.

A similar French measure coming into effect next year will require manufacturers to replace or repair faulty appliances for free for the first two years after purchase.

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