Planned Obsolescence is a term which refers to a business practice that ensures that a version of a product becomes outdated or useless within a known period of time calculated by the manufacturer company. This practice is in the spotlight because of several acknowledged manufacturers having admitted dubious practices related to Planned Obsolescence.
For instance, similarly to what happened in France, FACUA-Consumers in Action, a Spanish non-governmental and non-profit organization dedicated to the defense of consumer rights has filed a claim before the European Commission and the Spanish Public Prosecution Office against Apple for, allegedly, committing various wrongdoings related to Obsolescence practices. This brings back the debate of how this can be addressed by the legislative authorities and possible solutions.
Even though some solutions against Planned Obsolescence have been implemented in the European Union, these measures have been introduced by Directive 2012/19/EU of 4 July 2012 on waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), so they are not focused on consumers' rights protection. Therefore, how could we face Planned Obsolescence in favour of consumers' rights? There are a number of different methods that could be implemented for such purpose:
Competent authorities shall bear in mind when choosing the best practice to implement these measures that they should not slow down the competitiveness and innovation of manufacturers and that some people may prefer to buy cheaper machines even if they are aware of the fact that their products could be useless in a couple of years.
Due to the fact that consumers are increasingly reacting negatively to Planned Obsolescence as they are being forced to buy new products instead of fixing the older ones they already have, some entities are adhering to codes of conduct or quality stamps to disassociate from Planned Obsolescence. Consequently, companies will probably be more conscious in order to avoid these practices if they want to keep their customers and reputation.