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New Right to Repair Rules Will Extend Lifespan of Products, Government Says

In the News

Washing machines, TVs and fridges will be cheaper to run under a new legal right for repairs, the government says.

From Thursday, manufacturers will have to make spares available to consumers, with the aim of extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years, it said.

The right to repair rules are designed to tackle "built-in obsolescence" where manufacturers deliberately build appliances to break down after a certain period to encourage consumers to buy new ones.

Manufacturers will now be legally obliged to make spare parts available to consumers so appliances can be fixed.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57665593

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Hopefully this will reduce the amount going into landfill, however I expect most people will rather buy a new appliance rather than getting it fixed.

snoogans888
3 weeks ago
What do you think of this?
BonzoBanana
BonzoBanana3 weeks ago

The only issue is if they price spares at ridiculous levels it could prevent repair. It's a great policy though but might need to be monitored to see how Companies comply with it and might need tweaking occasionally.

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

BonzoBanana I agree. I love the concept but in practice it’s likely to be a lot more expensive, which seems to always be the case when trying to be eco friendly.

If manufacturers just built things to last in the first place that would be better!

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Mango4
Mango43 weeks ago

Due to the difficulties in finding someone that are actually willing to carry out a repair to an appliance. I generally opt to buy a new one anyway.

Dishwasher has been playing up for a few weeks now, Neff want £99 + cost of parts to repair it, which is reasonable, however if they find they can't repair it or can't get the parts they still want the £99, so debating on taking the gamble that they can repair it or putting the £99 towards a new one which I'll probably end up doing, as I'm probably being cynical , but think why would they make the effort to repair it if they are being paid anyway.

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

Mango4 I can totally see your dilemma and I wish it didn’t have to be like this, difficult in making the right choice. If you buy a new one then you’ll get new warranty in case things go wrong. Doubt you’d get that from the repair.

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Tom
Tom
Founder
3 weeks ago

I've been very much looking forward to this. In my old flat, the fridge got a broken shelf and it was impossible to find a replacement. Now, in theory, should be able to order one from the manufacturer.

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cocolgooh
cocolgooh3 weeks ago

This same thing happened to me and I couldn’t find a shelf that fit it either! I hope this new change will make parts like that easier to come by since it seems such a small part to replace in theory, really.

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andDig
andDig3 weeks ago

Tom, it is unlikely to apply to models already made. Imagine the maker having a separate production run of an unusual item, it would cost so much money.

With new items, they will just make too many of each part, and store those and sell separately. If they have to make enough for 10 years though, then in the end dispose of all the spare parts never sold, someone is going to have to pay for that. It will mean all items will have to increase in cost to cover the manufacture and storage for years of all Spare parts. I can see all items increasing in price by 10% or more to cover this. Many manufacturers only have spares while the item is being sold new, and to cover the warranty. A lot of makers do not have any spares, as cheaper to dispose of the item and give you a new one if it is faulty, than employ engineers to repair items (many Buyers want replacements, and not repairs, so ideal for them as well).

For example, we know a large manufacturer made cassette tapes, they sell for far less than £1 each, their production run was 1 milion made in the factory. But, it took them 2 years to sell them, so they will not make more, as storage costs too high (they usually only stock hold for 6 months). They will not make less than 1 million as cost to make 250,000 (6 months worth) was not cost effective, the item would then have to cost 3 times the amount. Now, there will be major shortage of cassette tapes, as they were the largest manufacturer of them. The same applies to Spare Parts, there will be many thousands made of a part for an item, as long as when made with the main product that is ok, but after it will cost more, so they will have to make (spares) when making the item, but storage will still apply, and every item is different. They will also have to guess how many needed for 10 years to come, which many parts are just never used now for items that they only guess needed for say 2 years. It will be a huge waste and we will all be paying to cover that as well.

(a fridge shelf is ok but would you also want to repair the fridge, solder work etc, imagine what risks will be involved with self repairs by non qualified people, very dangerous, so the new rules not thought through)

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

Tom fingers crossed this will be helpful to a lot of people. My Dad just used a load duct of tape to fix a drawer in his old fridge!

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

andDig you make so many good points here, especially about the waste of unsold parts. Maybe they need you on the committee to help organise this project as you’ve thought of a lot of issues!

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BonzoBanana
BonzoBanana3 weeks ago

andDig It depends on the item of course. Many TV parts are universal electronic components and its more about knowing how to repair them and what parts are compatible, same with white goods you may have many brands that share the same parts as they come from the same third party factory.

I remember a Hitachi plasma tv in the past I bought. It originally cost £3k but I bought it faulty for £13 and researched the item before I bought it. There was a common fault on the set that could be fixed by a resistor. I paid 30p for a resistor and the set was back working perfectly and that was my main tv for a few years. It even had a motorised swivel stand so you could turn it from the remote control. Of course if the panel had failed it would be uneconomic to repair but its amazing what we throw out that only needs minor repair and it's really all about pushing companies to make that an easier choice.

Access to service manuals would be useful maybe free access and also maybe this new law will mean they have to provide spares to anyone. They can't just restrict them to their own overpriced service network. Many German companies do this like Miele. They are reliable devices but repair costs are astronomical when they do fail far more expensive than many competing brands. Hopefully we will see more engineers being able to repair Miele driving down prices.

Some products are simply designed to be uneconomic to repair. Some washing machine parts are designed into one central drum but they could also be designed so that bearings for example could be easy to replace. Hopefully this law will motivate them to design products to be repairable. As you say they don't want warehouses full of spares so they can design products so individual parts are repairable. Instead of whole replacement drum mechanisms just boxes of bearings. It might also mean they don't radically re-engineer products each year but have a slower evolvement of design which again will make repair easier. Maybe share the same parts on a product over 5 years or more.

The companies that resist this will be uncompetitive with companies that do because they will be forced to hold more spares stock and warehouses cost money etc.

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.miele.de

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davidstockport
davidstockport3 weeks ago

Tom This might be of help, if you can't get the exact size you can get one that can be cut to size.

https://www.espares.co.uk/product/es1562230?utm_source=google+shopping&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=google+shopping&gclid=Cj0KCQjw8vqGBhC_ARIsADMSd1CqdiP8DTzfu-7xMJXR7DwAYGLrxuyg_E5Lvd-RKi-NpJy0p5bIj2EaAkbiEALw_wcB

If you can find a source of plexiglass (plastic) you could probably make one for even less.

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tara73ziva
tara73ziva3 weeks ago

It’s good if they don’t charge the earth for the replacement parts or for a engineer to come out as some times is cheaper to purchase a new item

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BonzoBanana
BonzoBanana3 weeks ago

The government could improve this by not charging VAT on repairs but putting more VAT on actual purchases. So a TV may go up in price but repairing it goes down in price. This could significantly increase the number of products repaired rather than replaced. It would also help our trade deficit and increase the number of service technician jobs in the UK. A double win.

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tara73ziva
tara73ziva3 weeks ago

BonzoBanana that’s definitely a good idea

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andDig
andDig3 weeks ago

It is NOT a good idea with lower priced items, labour by a qualified engineer, often costs more than parts. Manufacturers often build in the price a certain % to cover faulty units, but if they have to make spare parts that will never be purchased, as labour costs are higher than buying a new one, all those parts will be destroyed in the end, and the cost has to be added in the price of all items initially.

If they have to make parts separately, then a short production run can cost more than the item is worth, even on expensive products (often spares are made when the main item is made, so low production costs and they just don't make up as many complete units).

Imagine many customers trying to solder in new parts and forgetting to turn off the electric, killing themselves, or others. Or, it blows up after they fitted the new parts.

UK and EU makers will comply, but look on eBay and Amazon and most Sellers are in China, so expect them to be there in many years and even comply? (often even now many items do not show CE for safety on them, check your items, if no CE mark on many products, that is illegal to sell in the UK, but there are loads on those sites and no one takes any notice. How much lead is in the paint used, how can you tell if the electrical product is safe without a safety test?)

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andrea2011
andrea20113 weeks ago

That'll be a excuse for spare parts to be charged at ridiculous prices

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HopeThisHelps
HopeThisHelps3 weeks ago

Even spares available now are far too expensive, I brought a discounted washing machine for £250, five years later new pump, and door catch assembly £185, + labour £120, = £305.00. If you can repair any appliance yourself great, but if you cannot, most people will simply buy a new one, as all the manufactures have to do is lower the cost of the new appliance, to make the cost of a repair not worth while.

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

BongoBongo have you heard of Repair Cafes? It’s where knowledgeable volunteers will fix items for you. I think the government should support these initiatives as part of this change.

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tumblespots
tumblespots3 weeks ago

In the good old days products lasted for years and years....

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Stapmevitals
Stapmevitals3 weeks ago

Totally agree, those were the days!

My main bugbear is with digital items that involve the dreaded PCB board within.

I had a new boiler installed, and ten months later it stopped working. PCB board was faulty. Next the washing machine went phut. Yup, PCB board yet again. (repair cost over £200.00 to replace said part = cheaper to get a new machine. Grrr).

I always try to buy manual operated stuff....

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tumblespots
tumblespots3 weeks ago

Stapmevitals Talking about 'manuals' why don't you get printed instructions with products these days?

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Stapmevitals
Stapmevitals3 weeks ago

Why make life easy when you can make it thundering difficult tumblespots...😳

??? Lol.

(Why is life so complicated..... sigh...)

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andDig
andDig3 weeks ago

tumblespots because the makers try and cover 1 million languages and that needs a whole tree! - makers try and make no more than a few slight variations to cover all countries with 1 model, so same item, and may be only the power adapter and slight software differences. That means higher production runs, making items a lower cost. Paper also weighs a lot, which adds on shipping costs. Downloading a manual is then just for the language you require, not lots of others, so better for the price of the item, and saves paper.

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tumblespots
tumblespots3 weeks ago

andDig It doesn't help people who haven't got a computer. The world assumes these days that everyone has internet access and they don't and it's frustrating even when you do! Having to find your way to a site that, in my experience, then gives you access to a manual that covers half a dozen models and you have to figure out which bits do actually apply to your model. This isn't progress...

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

andDig I agree. I’ve received manuals before which are thick books and I only need a couple of pages which are in English.

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lornaae
lornaae3 weeks ago

I think this is great, hopefully it will be more environmentally friendly and economical

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snoogans888
snoogans888
Original Poster
3 weeks ago

lornaae let’s hope so. Some people have raised some very good points on how this might make matters worse, but I suppose we have to try to make changes in the hope it makes things better.

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gerrykelly25
gerrykelly253 weeks ago

It is a positive move in a bid to encourage less waste. I think perhaps it will be tricky to find people to carry out the repairs however. We have become so used to simply replacing broken items, the need for people qualified to carry out repairs has dwindled.

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