I am watching this one with interest. it looks like legally consumer electronics / electrics manufacturers will now need to operate more like Naim by requiring
Make spare parts and technical data available to professional repairers for at least 7 years after the product purchase
Supply spares and service information within 15 working days
Although this doesn’t have to be directly to the consumer, it can be to their service/repair agent.
Hallelujah and about time… for too long planned obsolescence and the discouragement of repairs on the grounds of spares supply logistics and the smoke screen of ‘safety ‘ has been filling our land fills.
Apparently there are 1.5m tonnes of electrical waste generated in the U.K. each year, a mind boggling amount. This is a great move. Back in the ‘old days’ you’d always have things fixed, and they’d go on for years. Nowadays things like washing machines are judged as disposable items. It will be interesting to see how all the cheap crap with the build quality of cornflakes packet fares under the legislation, and what will happen when there is a £150 call out charger on a £199 appliance.
We have a Dualit toaster that’s well over 20 years old. Last year an element broke down. We rang the factory in Crawley and a replacement was sent that I could fit myself, and the toaster should now last another 20 years. But the Dudley is expensive and built like a tank. How will the £9 toaster from Lidl fare, I wonder?
I think you raise an interesting point… what will happen at the very cheap end of the market… perhaps those prices will rise, and the baseline quality will improve… we shall see.
Dualit is like the Naim of small kitchen appliances. and they market them selves in part through their serviceability and spares… I guess this legislation doesn’t have those manufacturers in mind.
I suspect that buying spares from Dualit would typically cost more than replacing the broken item with a cheap new toaster. (You could say the same about Naim servicing, but then you might get inferior sound, whereas a slice of toast is a slice of toast.) Still, lets hope this legislation helps to change all that.
When my Dualit kettle stopped working a few months ago I was disappointed to find that the range of spares available was extremely limited, and the part that had failed was not available. The only possible fix would have been to buy a used one on ebay and cannibalise it.
The Classic Kettle is fully repairable whereas some of the cheaper ones - as I found out when I asked about ours - are not.
I recently had to change the toaster’s timer as well, which cost about £20 I think.
To respond to Chris’s point - Of course you could get a whole cheap toaster for less but that’s not really the point. Do you want something British built and made to last, or a piece of cheap tat made by people paid virtually nothing, possibly slave labour, and then shipped half way round the world on a ship run on fossil fuel?
I suppose I’m fortunate to have the choice, and many couldn’t think of getting a Dualit, or a Naim, but the time for throwing electrical stuff away after a year or two really has to stop. This legislation is at least a step in the right direction.
Ours is a Dualit Classic too. To be fair, they do say that you can return it to them for repair, in or out of warranty. The list of spares you can buy from them is limited to a filter, a lid, a complete base (not individual parts) and an on/off switch. Given how easy it is to disassemble, that makes any DIY repair pretty much a non-starter.
Make sure you get the right one, as there are two types. Remove the bottom and see whether the timer is a square metal box or a smaller plastic one. Dualit initially sent us the wrong one. You can get them on eBay too, for a little bit less than buying from Dualit.
As mentioned above… it’s what you want to pay for the goods. 99% of consumer goods are built to a price so that invariably means taking shortcuts with the manufacturing. If people are going to be perfectly happy to pay extra for products which are a) able to be repaired and b) spares availability for years to come, then okay. However my gut feeling is most people will prefer to get something cheaper and to hell with repairing the item in 2 or 3 years time. Often the punter would prefer to have a reason to throw the item away and get a nice shiny new item; mobile phones has got to be a prime example of this mentality.
When I was growing up it was usual for my dad and one of my grandparents to repair stuff and I learnt how to do the same from them. I remember once changing a door seal on a Bendix washing machine for my mum whilst my dad was away, I would have been around 14 at the time. She got the part from a local shop and I fixed it in a couple of hours after school. For many years I continued to fix rather than throw out, then like many here came across the can’t get parts problem or that impossible to disassemble trap or the cost of the part is nearly the same as a brand new item.
There are a few companies like Naim that keep repairing servicing items forever, my Kitchen Aid mixer needed a new motor assembly and a few other parts, it was collected, serviced and returned for less than half the price of a new one and I expect it will now outlast me. Hopefully, more will do this now. Which is a total contrast to a rather high-end laptop I bought for processing photographs whilst travelling. At 3 years old it was considered uneconomic to repair and I couldn’t get the parts to replace the broken parts. It still ran the latest software and had the preferred 16GB ram to run photoshop/lightroom but had become useless as a lightweight portable because the manufacturer no longer made the keyboard for the machine. Won’t be buying from that company again.
We shall see- I understand there is evidence to the contrary - however it does depend on what you are talking about - a cheap RFI ridden set of Christmas flashing lights would probably fall into the bin it variety for most - but a mobile phone, laptop, fridge freezer, washing machine etc it all starts to look different.
Interesting with phones and laptops - in years gone by they became obsolescent very quickly in terms of capability and performance - that is less an issue now - and so manufactures look to provide new angles for their capabilities in new models as opposed to just working better or as they should have done in the first place and people are holding onto them for a lot longer - the commercial model for mobile contracts and mobile phones has somewhat changed - i wonder what it might mean for software updates etc
As someone who recently had to replace a 5 year old washing machine because it was essentially uneconomic to repair thanks to having a sealed drum bearing that was not designed to be serviced (shame on you AEG), I applaud this. The machine was otherwise in great order and pretty easy for anyone with basic mechanical knowledge and skills to replace seals etc. I felt really bad about it but the bearing was just getting worse and worse and every now and then the drum would wobble so badly it would grab the door seal and wrench it off, causing flooding as a consequence. If the bearing had been repairable I could have easily fixed it for less than a tenner.
Indeed, I think the the UK consumer electronics manufacturing sector on Hifi has a good reputation on repair - perhaps because they tend to focus more more on quality and assurance - I have experienced good repair performance from Naim, Chord electronics and Cyrus well outside of warranty - and I understand there are many many more.
One company I buy from, Icom (not hifi I hasten to add) - has actually offered to repair at their main UK factory whilst you kill a couple of hours and you have booked ahead - now that is the gold standard