Bill 29 - An Act to protect consumers against programmed obsolescence and to promote the durability, repairability and maintenance of goods

Option consommateurs considers that Bill 29 makes positive contributions for consumers, but that it needs to be strengthened to promote the durability of goods and access to repair in Quebec.
In our view, the new warranty of good working order introduced by the bill poses a risk of reducing consumer protection. We fear that, in practice, this new form of warranty will have the effect of setting aside the legal warranty already in force in the Consumer Protection Act, which stipulates that a good must have a reasonable service life. As a solution, we recommend that the bill stipulate that the duration of the warranty of good working order set by regulation must be at least as long as the reasonable life already generally recognized by the Consumer Protection Act, and that it may in no case exclude the application of the other forms of legal warranty provided for in the Act.
Furthermore, we believe that the government should take the opportunity presented by Bill 29 to address the problems encountered by consumers seeking to enforce the legal warranty. To this end, we propose imposing time limits on merchants for the performance of their obligations, as well as measures to prevent them from transferring liability to other players in the supply chain. In addition, we recommend that the new anti-citron warranty be extended to cover goods other than automobiles.
Bill 29 should also be amended to promote access to repair. To this end, Option consommateurs recommends that repair information be freely available on the Internet. We also recommend that the obligation to make spare parts and repair services available be extended beyond the reasonable life of a good already recognized by law.
Option consommateurs also questions the effectiveness of the measure to display the duration of the guarantee of good working order provided for in Bill 29. In our view, a repairability index could have a greater effect on the market, by enabling consumers to opt to purchase the model of an appliance that offers better durability, and thus increase demand for durable appliances and gradually lead manufacturers to change their practices.
Finally, we propose to increase the penalties applicable to offending companies to dissuade large multinationals from ignoring Quebec law, and to substantially increase the budget of the Office de la protection du consommateur to ensure compliance with these new obligations.