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UK’s energy efficiency framework brings forth a right to repair

A new law which gives consumers the right to repair electrical appliances in the home is coming this summer, say UK ministers.

The overall objective with this new piece of legislation is to ensure manufacturers make spare parts available for up to 10 years after purchase, although in some cases [1] they will only be supplied to professional repair companies in order for work to be carried out.

According to the BBC [2], it is thought that these new rules will extend the lifespan of products by up to a decade and save consumers an average of £75 per year. It is also estimated these measures will reduce the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste in the UK each year and will contribute to reducing carbon emissions.

However, industry charity Electrical Safety First (ESF) has warned that this well-intentioned green policy could bring forth several key safety problems.

In response to the report, ESF said [3] that consumers should not attempt to repair their electrical appliances without the knowledge to do so safely as poor repair work can lead to an increased risk of fire or electric shock.

The complexity of modern household appliances will make it challenging for consumers to undertake repair jobs. The charity is urging consumers to reach out to and enlist the help of specialists when making repairs.

It has even gone as far as to say that the government should help create a network of competent repairers, approved by manufacturers to ensure the safety of citizens in the long run.

In a data set from 2019 [4], ESF said that between 2014 and 2019 there were 53,387 domestic appliance fires from products including tumble dryers, washing machines, fridge freezers, microwaves and dishwashers. Microwaves were involved in 9% of all appliance fires.

Already this year, there have been 53 recall notifications for electrical products in the EU, all of which pose a serious risk to end users. Manufacturers are largely quick to notify retailers and consumers if their products have been deemed unfit for purpose. That said, manufacturers can only be confident in their own product’s safety if the equipment has not been interfered with.

The lines of defect responsibility will undoubtedly be blurred as the right to repair pushes through and it is likely that manufacturers will have to work hard to ensure the integrity of their products are not compromised by poor repair workmanship.

It remains to be seen if this right will benefit consumers in the long run because if the product undergoes repairs by anyone other than the manufacturer, who is responsible if something goes wrong with the machine post-repair? To learn more about the rise and fall of recall trends and to acquire knowledge about how to plan for one, download our 2021 State of the Nation Recall Index report.


References:

  1. https://www.independent.co.uk/...
  2. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/bus...
  3. https://www.eca.co.uk/news-and...
  4. https://www.electricalsafetyfi...

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