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Collective press release

Paris, May 11, 2021

Fee for Private copying on refurbished appliances:

French purchasing power under threat

From June 2021, the purchasing power of the French will be threatened by the rising price of refurbished smartphones and computers. The Commission pour la Remuneration de la Private copying wants to establish a new levy on these essential goods. At a time when access to these products has become a basic necessity, this work poses a major risk to the purchasing power of the French, which has already been undermined by the health crisis.

It's nothing new: access to tech products already represented a significant expense for the French, an expense exacerbated by the confines of the year 2020. Unthinkable just a few years ago, the price of a new smartphone is now higher than that of a computer. On average, it costs 420 euros[1] to buy a smartphone - a fortune for most consumers!

In this context, refurbished products have become an essential solution, and 1 in 5 French people have already taken the plunge[2]. These refurbished items, whose functionality is guaranteed by professionals, are up to 70% cheaper than their new counterparts. An essential saving for most consumers: 67% of French people interested in refurbished smartphones explain that it's their price that makes them attractive[3].

Copie France, the company that collects remuneration for Private copying, has been trying for several months to apply a €14 lev y to phones larger than 64 gigabytes, which represents almost 90% of the market. This additional cost will weigh heavily on the wallets of French consumers, since it will effectively increase the price of refurbished phones, which have never been so popular with the general public. In fact, 2.6 million models were sold in 2020[4], 20% more than last year.

For its part, the Private copying Commission is working on a new official scale for second-hand products. But whatever the amount, this new fee will have a direct and immediate impact on the purchasing power of the most modest French citizens: it will increase the cost of access to essential tech products that are also more environmentally-friendly.  

Applying the Private copying levy first to phones and then to reconditioned computers means an immediate price increase for consumers. It would also continue to widen an already wide digital divide, which is becoming even more pronounced in the current crisis.

It would also hit the refurbished sector hard, threaten thousands of jobs in France and harm the reduction of the environmental impact of digital technology. Over 75% of this impact comes from the manufacture of terminals. Extending their lifespan is therefore key. Paradoxically, the government itself says so[5].

It is urgent and essential that the government show courage and consistency by explicitly exempting reconditioned products from this fee, in order to preserve the purchasing power of the French and the future of a promising industry.


Jean Lionel Laccourreye, Sirrmiet Chairman

Benoit Varin, President of Rcube

Thibaud Hug de Larauze, CEO of Back Market

Karine Schrenzel, Managing Director, Rue du Commerce

Thierry Petit, co-CEO, Showroomprivé.com

Xavier Court, co-founding partner of Veepee

Jérôme Arnaud, General Manager, Cordon Group

[1] Prices for 2019, GFK annual survey

[2] IFOP survey for Smaaart

[3] Baromètre Kantar pour Recommerce 2021 ″LE MARCHÉ DU MOBILE D'OCCASION" (Kantar barometer for Recommerce 2021)

[4] GFK 2020 annual survey

[5] Environment and digital roadmap