Written by Hugh Metcalf

New law makes it easier to fix your appliances

Sick of shelling out on a new washing machine, fridge or TV whenever yours stops working? Thanks to new rules, it’ll soon be easier than ever to have appliances repaired instead. 

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Image: Anita Austvika

Have you ever noticed that, often, when an appliance breaks in your home, you can’t get it repaired for love nor money if it’s outside of warranty? Well that’s because many manufacturers don’t produce or supply spare parts for common household appliances, including fridges, washing machines, dishwashers and televisions. 

Well, there’s some good news – new EU legislation has been passed which will see manufacturers required to adopt better ‘eco-design’ principles for their products, which includes improving the lifespan and maintenance of new appliances. 

The new law, which is being hailed as part of the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, not only looks to protect owners, but also to help prevent waste electronics being sent to landfill. 

Monique Goyens, Director general of BEUC, the European Consumer Association, said: “The new repair requirements will help improve the lifetime of everyday appliances that currently fail too quickly. It is crucial we bin the current ‘throwaway’ trend, which depletes natural resources and empties consumers’ pockets.”

Here’s what you need to know. 

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Image: Oak Furnitureland

What does ‘Right to Repair’ mean?

When an appliance or electronic breaks down outside of warranty, whether you hire a repair person or are handy enough to give it a try yourself, you’ll be unable to get hold of the specialist parts required from manufacturers to make crucial repairs. This means you’ll have to buy a new one, which is not only not good for your wallet, but the planet too. 

New rules will see manufacturers have to ensure that spare parts are available for models for up to 10 years. They must also design products where elements that may commonly need replacing are easily accessible without damaging the product. At the moment, spares will only be available to professional repairers. 

The new rules will cover televisions, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and lighting, and be brought into effect by 2021. 

What about Brexit?

If the UK does leave the EU, this legislation will not necessarily automatically apply to the UK market. However, the UK government has indicated that it will bring its own Right to Repair rules into place to match, if not exceed, those outlined by the European Commission. 

 

Have you experienced a broken appliance that had to be replaced? Would you welcome these changes? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page

 

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