New ‘right to repair’ for large household appliances
10 March 2021 by Andreea Brindas
The blog will explore the rights that consumers have with regards to repairing large household appliances that broke down outside of the warranty period as well as the proposed new legislation which aims to enhance such consumer rights.
What is the current position?
We have all been there- we buy a new appliance which comes with a warranty from the manufacturer, usually for approximately 12-36 months (length may vary subject to the appliance itself and the manufacturer) and as soon as the warranty runs out, so does your appliance.
Given that the warranty has run out, the manufacturer is under no obligation to repair the appliance; even if you find a third party to do such repairs, it may well be that such third party will require a spare part which the manufacturer does not produce and/or sell separately.
This would leave you out of pocket with the only option being purchasing a new appliance to replace the broken one.
It was noted from various statistics that this ‘vicious’ circle leads to climate change from the greenhouse gases released during the manufacturing process as well as the disposal of the ‘old’ appliance, which may be less than 5 years old.
What is the new Legislation?
In 2019, the European Environment Ministers have put forward proposals for new legislation to force manufacturers to make appliances that last longer and are easier to repair, with the aim that such proposals would extend the lifespan of appliances by up to 10 years. For the avoidance of doubt, the proposals refer to large household appliances, TVs, and lighting.
As part of the proposals, it was also suggested that the manufacturers be legally obliged to manufacture spare parts for appliances to ease repair.
Despite Brexit and resistance from the manufacturers, the UK Government have welcomed the proposals and confirmed that consumers may be able to benefit from this right as early as summer 2021.
What is the effect on manufacturers?
Once the proposals are fully implemented, the UK manufacturers of large household appliances who export to Europe will also have to comply with the new standards for them to be able to carry on with such export.
What is the difference between the new Energy Labels?
The proposals also include provisions to make appliances more energy-efficient and, as part of the same, new energy labels based on an A-G scale will be introduced, which will simplify and replace the current energy efficiency classes (A+, A++, A+++).
The new energy labels introduce a higher standard for each grade which means that very few appliances will be classed into the top class A.
Whether you are a consumer or a manufacturer, the Corporate & Commercial team at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your rights and how the new legislation may affect you and/or your business operation. Should you require any further information or assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch – call 01206 700113, or email [email protected].