With confirmation that the European Union will be implementing ‘right to repair’ principles in the production of lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges by 2021, increased responsibility will be placed on manufacturers to ensure that these appliances are made longer-lasting, with additional responsibilities concerning maintenance for up to ten years.
The consumer appliance market in the UK is enormous, with projected annual growth estimated to be in excess of £8.9 billion by 2020. With various brands and models on the market, available for direct delivery with a relatively quick turnaround, the choice of product has never been greater. But the question must be asked – what course of action can be taken when things go wrong?
What will ‘right to repair’ mean for consumers?
‘Right to repair’ principles, once implemented in 2021, will mean that manufacturing firms will be required to make models more robust, with longer life spans, as well as supplying spare parts for machines for up to ten years after purchase. These principles will also mean that the energy efficiency of machines will remain a vitally important consideration for manufacturers.
The rationale behind these principles is not only to improve and protect consumer rights for economical reasons, but also for environmental considerations. Such a move will hopefully contribute to a reduction in energy consumption, as well as ensuring longer life spans for existing appliances.
This should mean that your appliance will last longer. Furthermore, if the consumer faces problems with the appliance, the repair process should be made streamlined and easier to navigate.
What course of action can consumers take should an appliance breakdown?
For appliances purchased after 1st October 2015, cover is provided to consumers in the form of the Consumer Rights Act. If you realise that the appliance is faulty within the first 30 days after the sale, you have the right to reject the item and request a refund if there is a fault with it.
The retailer must prove that the fault is not due to the appliance being unfit for purpose or of poor quality at the point of purchase, within the first six months. If the retailer refuses to refund or replace the faulty appliance, then you should contact consumeradvice.scot to report this to Trading Standards as the retailer may be breaching your statutory rights.
For anything outside of the initial six-month period of purchase, consumers should contact the manufacturer directly if the appliance remains under warranty.
In all instances, warranties and extended warranties should be checked. All complaints and claims under warranty should be considered carefully to ensure that the claims are realistic and relative to the age and level of use of the appliance. Fundamental parts of appliances, vital to the products primary function, should be durable and last for a reasonable length of time.
Keep ahead of maintenance/breakdowns
The Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances (AMDEA) is a UK trade association that represents over 85% of all domestic appliances sold in the UK.
The AMDEA highlight that the chain of communication between the consumers and the manufacturer is usually broken as soon as the transaction is completed at a retail level. By registering appliances, important messages in relation to health and safety can be relayed directly to the consumer after this point.
Consumers can register on the AMDEA website www.registermyappliance.org. Through registering, it can be ensured that any safety issues with household appliances are highlighted directly to the consumer by the manufacturer.
This interaction not only alerts consumers to potential issues with appliances but also highlights the relevant course of action to resolve any issue.
The ‘right to repair’ won’t take effect until 2021, but in the meantime, here are our top tips to ensure you don’t get caught out when it comes to repairs on your electrical appliances –
- Register appliances for the latest updates! – Register your product with registermyappliance.org for safety issue updates on any appliances that you own.
- Ensure warranty cover is adequate – Check your electrical appliances have the appropriate cover for what you need. Always check the small print.
- Maintain appliances – For longer life on electrical appliances, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for maintenance. Most manufacturers supply handbooks and operating manuals online for customer reference.
- Ventilate appliances – Ensure that electrical appliances are well ventilated in line with manufacturers advice.
- Use appliances appropriately – Remember to follow manufacturer guidelines on the use of equipment. Inappropriate use can invalidate warranties and recourse if the item breaks down.
If you would like more advice on any consumer matter, you can contact consumeradvice.scot on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can follow us on social media – Twitter: @advicedotscot and Facebook at www.facebook.com/advice.scot, Instagram: @advice.scot, or get ahead by visiting our knowledge centre at www.consumeradvice.scot.