French refurbishers are currently creating a stir through an initiative aimed at online marketplaces: The aim is to hold platform operators responsible for the compliance of providers hosted by them with the applicable laws. This also includes refurbished smartphones in the form of copyright levies. At the low price level of refurbished products in particular, the omission of levy obligations creates competitive advantages that are as effective as they are inadmissible.
The requirement that all market participants comply with legal regulations sounds like a matter of course, but in practice it often is not. There are no admission restrictions on a platform for sellers who do not pay copyright levies, for example. That is expected to change. In the future, only those who demonstrably comply with applicable standards and regulations will be admitted. The addressees of the initiative, who offer a very large number of foreign and, of course, non-European sellers a sales platform for their products, are reacting cautiously. It is clear that the implementation would lead to the systematic exclusion of some sellers from platforms.
In this respect, refurbishers are not asking for anything different from what the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) already provides in other areas: sellers and third-party vendors have to organize compliance for their products in each EU country, in particular, compliance with the rules for waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), waste batteries and packaging. Implementation is monitored by national authorities to ensure fair competition, among other things.
The problem of legally compliant trading by sellers hosted on a platform fundamentally affects numerous issues and all countries. Likewise, the levies on refurbished equipment are by no means a French peculiarity. In many other countries, the same situation prevails: copyright levies are no longer only required for devices that come onto the market as new devices. They are also levied on used devices that are offered for sale again. Different conditions apply, framework conditions and different levy rates. That is why 1cc has been supporting both companies and marketplaces for a long time now to ensure they do not have to comply solely with the requirements that are the focus of public discourse. In doing so, 1cc contributes to the legal certainty of the providers, but ultimately also to the establishment and safeguarding of fair competitive conditions.
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