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The Right to Repair

Minivanman
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The Right to Repair

So, the right to repair is going to become law this summer and not before time - but is it going to help?

Washing machines are a good example and although having managed to fix most of mine when they've gone wonky, what choice is it when you can either spend £100 to get the repair man to fix say a five year old and well used machine, or buy a brand new one for £199.99 from Argos on credit and with free delivery.

Screenshot 2021-03-10 141300.png


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RobPN
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Re: The Right to Repair


@Minivanman wrote:

 

 

... or buy a brand new one for £199.99 from Argos on credit and with free delivery.

Screenshot 2021-03-10 141300.png


 

Buy cheap, buy twice, as they say.  Wink

Minivanman
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Re: The Right to Repair

Fair point, but how much faith really in say a £500 machine can you have and then if it does does go wrong you a) are stuck with getting it repaired because it cost you so much, b) fingers crossed that spares are going to be available after that nominal five years anyway.

We had a 'not cheap' front loading Bendix machine years back and little trouble apart from a door lock solenoid which I fixed. Ran well for something like six years and washed for four kids plus two adults but no, the Mrs wanted a two year old top loader her grandmother was giving away... and it was nothing but *insert very rude word here* trouble.

The Bendix we gave to a near neighbour (who always seemed to be short of money as it happens) and it ran for another five years at least to my knowledge and only went out in then because they moved home. 

New home, new machine I guess. 

  


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Mook
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Re: The Right to Repair

For me I base my decision on the length of time I've had it, how much use its had and the quoted / estimated cost of repair. So if I bought a device that cost 500 and it failed out of warranty I'd only consider a repair if the cost was less than 25%.

RobPN
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Re: The Right to Repair


@Minivanman wrote:

Fair point, but how much faith really in say a £500 machine can you have and then if it does does go wrong you a) are stuck with getting it repaired because it cost you so much, b) fingers crossed that spares are going to be available after that nominal five years anyway.


I agree, and the figure I *think* I recall being quoted for spares to be available under the new legislation was ten years.

But even that may not be considered long enough IMO.

I bought a Miele washing machine around Oct/Nov 1999 and it's still going strong, only requiring a pair of suspension dampers around 2-3 years ago at a cost of £25.  I'd be somewhat peeved if a minor part failed for which a replacement was unavailable thus causing it to be scrapped.

Miele already have a fairly decent parts availability program; quote,

Spare parts and accessories

When you buy Miele original spare parts and accessories, you can be sure that these are precisely tailored to your appliance. Our spare parts are available for up to 15 years, but at least 10 years from the end of series production.

Baldrick1
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Re: The Right to Repair

It's a good idea for there to be spares to be available for 10 years after an appliance going out of production but only if they are available to all and you have the skills and data to repair it yourself.

I look at the life of an appliance in terms of writing it off over what I think is a reasonable number of years. I then look at the guarantee cost and whether it just covers parts (not worth bothering with generally because it's call out charges and labour that tends to be the killer) or both parts and labour. I then look at breakdown insurance and calculate the best and worst case scenario over that period for an acceptable appliance.

I bought SWMBO a washer dryer a few years ago now for about £500 with a 5 year guarantee, which worked out cheaper than one half the price with a shorter guarantee plus insuring it for up to 5 years. If it fails after 5 years and I can't fix it myself or the cost of parts is high then whatever the spares availability is I shall start again.

Many years ago I was responsible for the design and development of what were then advanced electronic controls for a couple of domestic appliances. Yes, minimising the price of manufacture was a very importand factor as was ensuring that in guarantee repairs were kept to a minimum. Never was building in obsolescence or a finite life part of the design criteria. Yes designs can be made simpler to maintain and repair, with plug in modules etc. but this will significantly increase the cost of manufacture and hence the selling price. Another factor is that reliability will be reduced due to the new inter module connections.

 

Minivanman
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Re: The Right to Repair

@Baldrick1 

Building in obsolescence or a finite life part of the design criteria may not have been your remit, but taken as a whole for the completed product why would it not have been as surely it is not in the manufacturers interest for an item and especially a domestic one not to have a limited life. 

Just being my usual 'cynical with age' I guess and maybe they put all there eggs into the basket of the customer wanting the latest gadget that nobody really needs or can really afford.

Wants and needs as they say, wants and needs.

Reading somewhere very recently about a woman having a little moan about that fact the her food mixer which she bought when her 40 year old son was in nappies was still working!

You just can't win.... or can you. 🙂  


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7up
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Re: The Right to Repair

Personally i think it's about bloody time this happened - i nearly hit the roof with excitement when i heard this on the news earlier. For me it's not always about the cost, it's literally about "the right to repair" - if i want to. Not if they deem it acceptable or unacceptable, if I've paid for it, owned it, looked after it and their design has gone wrong, i should have the right to be able to fix it instead of them saying "oh well mate, it's knocking on a bit now, just spend some more money and buy a new one". I don't want to give them even more money if the previous item has failed long before it should.

Look at those old Belling cookers - they can't be killed short of being torn to bits by claws at the metal recyclers. They just keep going and going. Buy a fancy new thing with instant heat hobs and it'll be dead within a couple of years - as I found out years ago when one packed up suddenly and just out of warranty. But would YOU be seen dead with a belling? - Most of you wouldn't and yet you'll be the first to complain about how unreliable stuff is.

I'm a fixer. I like fixing things. I absolutely loathe throwing fixable stuff away. I don't have a lot of money unlike many out there, i can't afford a lot of new wonderful stuff that the 4x4 chelsea tractor brigade take for granted. I value the things i have - be it new or 2nd/3rd/4th hand and if it goes wrong, i want to fix it and keep using it. I don't give a national hoots whether the manufacturer or sales man says i should bin it, if it's still got life in it with a bit of time and effort, whats the point binning it? - It may be trash to one person but it's treasure to another who can get life out of it. Sometimes i can't fix something but i'll work out a way to bodge more life out it - it might not be perfect but if it works and keeps it going then job done. I downgraded from a Nokia 3.2 running Android 10 to another old Medion running Android 5.1 that someone was selling cheap on ebay - because i can get that phone to do far more than the newer one - so to me, it has value while the seller probably thought it was fairly worthless.

A few months back i was driving an old CR-V. I bought it for £695. It wasn't in the best condition for a 20 year old motor but it did the job. It failed the MOT 6 months later but i put it through a workshop for £220 and got it fixed and passed. I figured i'd be lucky to get £300 for it but at least it would keep going. The mechanic i used was previously our next door neighbour over a decade ago. In previous years he said to me "in my country, we make a car like this last a lot longer than in this country". That's always stuck with me. Anyway he said to me to put it on the facebook marketplace for £800 and someone would buy it. I didn't believe it but sure enough i did, within 18 hours it was gone for £700 - with a full honest description of all if it's faults. The buyer came over and i showed her everything it had wrong, everything i'd tinkered with, things i hadn't tinkered with due to time etc. She still wanted it - in fact she was desperate for a big car to take her grandchildren out in within her price range. The moral? I thought i'd be lucky to get anything back to cover the MOT fix. I got over double because someone else valued it's potential - and that's something a lot of people have lost sense of in recent decades.

For me household tips / recycling centres are a crime too. Once it goes in, they don't let it back out and yet so much stuff there still has life in it for tinkerers - I've seen entire computer systems get binned cos they're 5 years old but round our way everyone wants a new thing every couple of years. My desktop PC is a decade old in July - one 2GHz processor core, 4GB ram. It was clearly a budget PC (and i got it for a bargain price of £97 too!). By todays standards it's underpowered and old yet not only has it been running 409 days, it's also running a web server, FTP server, acts as file storage for our other devices (eg phones / laptops) and also runs CCTV monitoring software 24/7 - all on a single core.


@Mook wrote:

For me I base my decision on the length of time I've had it, how much use its had and the quoted / estimated cost of repair. So if I bought a device that cost 500 and it failed out of warranty I'd only consider a repair if the cost was less than 25%.


I think that's shocking if i'm honest Mook. if the repair cost is less than 25%? - Even if you got another 7 or so years of life out of it at 35%? Does everything have to be anout how new and shiny everything is these days? Just the manufacturing of all this new stuff uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of pollution and by products (eg toxic waste). You need to think of the next generations you're leaving on this planet - you're borrowing from their futures.

The boss recently decided that the hand held Dyson V6 was knackered and needed completely replacing. The flap at the bottom has a broken release mechanism and the batteries are dying but it does still work reliably but without the turbo mode. She went ahead and bought a new V7. She was going to bin the V6 but after i asked how much she said i could have it. I've got it upstairs, it still works perfectly well and i can keep that running for years but she wanted to send it to landfill. I could fix it, no doubt it'll cost me £80 for a new dirt bin, batteries etc but even so, £80 is less than £300 for a new one - which proves that many these days have more money than sense.

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Baldrick1
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Re: The Right to Repair


@Minivanman wrote:

@Baldrick1 

Building in obsolescence or a finite life part of the design criteria may not have been your remit, but taken as a whole for the completed product why would it not have been as surely it is not in the manufacturers interest for an item and especially a domestic one not to have a limited life. 


I think that it comes down to the reputation of a manufacture. Apart from that, with all the different usage requirements I think that it would be very difficult to design a machine subject to heavy usage to survive for 1 year with minimal failures whilst designing in less than say a 10 year life of typical usage. The far more persuasive thing is to follow the car manufacturers example and keep adding in 'must have' bells and whistles so like the lady with the food mixer, people want an excuse to upgrade.

I suspect that it also a matter of how you cost these things. If you analyse your failure statistics and find that say 10% fail within 5 years then one way to enhance your reputation could be to hike the price by 10%-20% then shout to the world "Now with a 5 year guarantee" so that the general public think that it is now more reliable. In truth you are just covering the cost of the failures.

I remember a discussion one day between two people comparing the reliability of two fridges from 'different manufacturers' with one person explaining how unreliable the one was compared with the other. A week earlier I had been on a production line with fridges being assembled. At the end of the track the line divided with one line having 'manufacturer A's' doors  fitted and the other track 'manufacturers B's'

idonno
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Re: The Right to Repair


@Minivanman wrote:Fair point, but how much faith really in say a £500 machine can you have and then if it does does go wrong you a) are stuck with getting it repaired because it cost you so much, b) fingers crossed that spares are going to be available after that nominal five years anyway.

Of course it doesn't actually say it will be cost effective to repair. I had an Indesit washer dryer which, not a million miles after the the warranty expired, started to sound pretty rough - typical! Took the back off and the noise was coming from the drum bearing.

 

Anyway I found a website that supplied a lot of Indesit spares but for some reason I couldn't find my particular model when I banged in 'bearing kit'. Decided to drop them an email and got a reply by return. Indesit did bearing kits for some models but not mine! What they did do was a complete replacement drum with the bearing already installed (moulded) as part of the drum. That was going to cost a cool £220 and I'd have to swap out the heater plus other parts to get it going again.

 

For just another £45 on that price I got a new, uprated model. Included in the price, delivery and taking the old machine away! Needless to say what I did.

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RobPN
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Re: The Right to Repair


@idonno wrote:

... Needless to say what I did.

Swerved Indesit I imagine!  Thumbs_Up

Jonpe
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Re: The Right to Repair

Forgive me if I've mentioned my Seiko digital watch in another context on this site already, but it's the most durable 'heritage' item I own.  Bought in the spring of 1980 and having been worn daily ever since, it's still going although it has a few scratches, the 'glass' is slightly cracked in one corner, and the light stopped working at least a decade ago.  Sadly, last week the first digit slowly faded to nothing which causes a problem from 11 o'clock till 12:59.

In the 90s people used to laugh at this old-fashioned timepiece but once we entered the new millennium it became an item of interest, especially among the younger generation who used to enquire where I got it from and how much it would cost them to buy one.  In the not too distant future I suppose it'll only be of interest to the Antiques Roadshow or similar. 😀

Would I exercise my right to repair?  No, at £39.99 (less than £1 per year) I think it's time to let it slip away peacefully in favour of my radio-controlled Casio.

Seiko Epson also make printers which I understand are of high quality, although I doubt anyone has used one daily for 41 years.

Minivanman
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Re: The Right to Repair

@idonno 

Can't remember the make for the moment, but one machine I had trouble getting a broken back end of a dial for proved impossible even after a lot of searching on the internet for the particular part number until as I suspected that the same machine was made under a different  name and sure enough it was - but that did not help much with finding the bit I needed. Finally went down to a well stocked washing machine repair shop not that far away and the guy recognized it straight away as being used in several machines.

It was a lot of hassle but I was not going to let a silly low cost (less than a fiver) part beat me or leave with the choice of paying back then a £45 call out charge or dumping the machine.

Regarding that drum bearing the same thing happened with a daughters two year old machine which developed a real grating sound as the drum was turned. Cheaper to err... dump it and buy a new one. 


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gleneagles
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Re: The Right to Repair

I wonder if some older products were more reliable or in our case we were just luck, bought a indesit washing machine when they first became available, lasted for 15 years with no problems (cost £ 60 new)

Some problems stem from companies being took over by others, keeping the same name but using cheaper parts.

Like others I certainly welcome these changes, this should have been done years ago.

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Mook
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Re: The Right to Repair

For me it's not a case of more money than sense @7up, but the opposite in fact.

We know the cost of repair for my hypothetical device would be £125, and yes you may well get another few years out of it but equally, you may not. What if you fix this issue spending £175 by using your 35% only for it to fail in a few months time with another unrelated issue.

What do you do now? Do you risk throwing good money after bad? But the screamer is when it originally failed you have to ask the question why did it fail considering it's age and here I can think of quite a few scenarios. There are too many factors for me regarding the risk of wasting money hence my 25% line.