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Consumers purchasing smartphones [What Europe does for you]

With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for consumers purchasing smartphones.

Your smartphone provides you with many very useful services, such as communication, navigation, entertainment, and payment. As smartphones have become vital accessories for many people, it is important that they are reliable, safe and available when needed.

Thanks to EU rules introduced in 2018, you can buy your device from an online store in any EU Member State, at the same price, no matter which EU country you live in. EU law provides a legal guarantee period of two years, during which defective devices must be repaired or replaced free of charge. EU rules ensure that that you receive the documentation for your device in the language of your country and that mobile telecommunication products sold in the EU bear the CE label to show that they conform to safety standards.

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As a smartphone is only useful when its battery is charged, the EU promoted a universal charger for smartphones sold in the EU. The industry committed to use the micro-USB connector or a charger with a USB-connected detachable cable. So now (in most cases) you only need to carry one charger for all your devices.

If you forget to unplug your charger, you need not worry about your electricity bill. EU ecodesign regulations require that external power supplies use only negligible amounts of electricity (no more than 0.3 Watts) when not in active use.

Smartphones contain materials such as tin, tungsten, and gold, whose mining and illegal trade are often controlled by armed groups. To protect human rights, new rules will oblige EU manufacturers to take responsibility for the origin of imported minerals.

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