Not always right to repair
22 January 2019
TO ADDRESS environmental concerns around product obsolescence and recycling, the EU is planning legislation giving EU consumers a ‘right to repair’ – forcing manufacturers to make longer lasting goods that are easier to repair.
Commenting on this, Phil Buckle, chief executive of leading safety Charity, Electrical Safety First, explains why it is not quite as simple as it might seem.
“We understand that many consumers get frustrated with products that break down just after a warranty ends and they find it uneconomical to get it repaired and cannot fix the item themselves.
“There are a number of products which are not designed to be ‘user-serviced’ and it’s particularly difficult obtaining parts for many tech products, as the manufacturer often retains stock for in-house repairs only. But for many people now carrying their life in their mobile phone, for example, waiting a month for a repair via the manufacturer is inconceivable. Instead they are likely to take the faster, cheaper option, by using an unauthorised repair shop – which often use non-approved parts. Alternatively, consumers might buy a component online, to undertake the repair themselves.
“However, these components can often be substandard, untested and potentially dangerous. And using a high street repairer is equally problematic. Without the technical expertise, equipment or experience, it is not surprising that complex repairs can be counter-productive, often creating further safety issues.
“Electrical Safety First has been raising this issue with manufacturers for some time now and we are encouraging them to support a network of authorised repairers. We also want them to consider - when it makes economic and environmental sense - making products more accessible to self-maintenance. This would, we believe, provide consumers with a repair solution that meets their needs.”