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'Right to repair' law

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'Right to repair' law Empty 'Right to repair' law

Post by steamdrivenandy Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:54 am

I was just reading about the new law that's supposed to come in later this year.

It's all very well saying spares have to be available for 10 years but if the product is designed so that repair is impossible it doesn't help.

Last week our 4 year old kettle had a spring fall out of the lid mechanism. It didn't stop the kettle working but the lid wouldn't stay open in order to fill it. The spring looked undamaged but despite trying I couldn't find a way to refit it. The angles and access meant it was impossible.

So I contacted the manufacturer as this was the second kettle of that design that we'd had and the first had to be replaced under guarantee due to lid problems.

As the kettle was out of guarantee they offered me 40% off a replacement and I chose a design where there was no hinged lid, so we won't have that problem in future. 

At the time I thought to myself that kettles that last only a year, or four years must add up to an awful waste of resources. Trouble is, I can't see this new law making that spring any easier to fit.
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Post by Paulmold Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:19 am

My Saturday job when I was 15 was in a local electrical store and our most popular items were kettle elements. They really were such a simple job to replace its criminal now that you have to throw a kettle away when element  burns out or fails to work. We also sold (and fitted) toaster elements. No doubt nowadays  I wouldn't   be allowed to do such repairs without at least a City & Guilds qualification or whatever  its called now.

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Post by bikeralw Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:53 am

Many times it's just not feasible or economic to repair small electrical items. We use a portable halogen cooker. When the element burnt out I priced up a replacement, it was two thirds of the price of a new cooker, so not worth repairing.
Also the inbuilt battery failed on my dashcam, I contacted the manufacturer who told me a battery was available, but due to having to unsolder connections to get the camera apart they didn't recommend it as a DIY job. They would do it, but with postage and labour the cost again was almost two thirds of the price of a new unit.
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Post by Roopert Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:05 pm

Does the legislation have some sort of "reasonableness" clause for the cost of a part? If not, it simply won't help.

I've got a Hotpoint dishwasher (inherited when I bought the current house). I've never used it because it needs a new seal on the door. When I enquired (about 10 years ago), the 1m length of rubber seal would have been around £80!
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Post by steamdrivenandy Wed Mar 10, 2021 12:17 pm

Roopert wrote:Does the legislation have some sort of "reasonableness" clause for the cost of a part? If not, it simply won't help.

I've got a Hotpoint dishwasher (inherited when I bought the current house). I've never used it because it needs a new seal on the door. When I enquired (about 10 years ago), the 1m length of rubber seal would have been around £80!

I agree, the charges for spares are ridiculous sometimes. Spare supply is often shipped out to unscrupulous third party businesses and the prices set to encourage new purchases. It's not an ethical or ecologically friendly business model but I can't see a way to alter it. I suspect the Act will be toothless and a waste of time.
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Post by HairyFool Wed Mar 10, 2021 4:57 pm

The Right to repair legislation does include making the object repairable in the 1st place although I can't see that being particularly enforceable.

I friend of the family used to be an upholsterer of the old school but had bought an electric stapler. He hadn't used it much in 2 years (prefered black tacks) when it stopped working. He took it to a shop to be told it couldn't be repaired so gave it to me to look at as he knew I liked to fix things. 2 minutes  to open the case, 1 minute to resolder a wire, 2 minutes to screw back together.

Conversely our Philips vacuum stopped working. I could find 1 screw holding it together but had to virtually destroy the case to release the clips that actually did the job. Apparently under EU regulations Electrical must require a tool to get them open for safety regulations which is the only reason for the screw.

We bought a Miele washing machine and tumble drier 13 years ago, ruinously expensive but as they still work fine worth every penny. The water distribution above the drawer of the WM stopped working. I found two caps either side of the lid and removed the screws underneath but it still wouldn't come off. I eventually found that I only needed to undo the screws 3 turns and push them inwards to release the catches that held the lid. The water channels just needed cleaning of soap then it worked fine but they even put a folded up sheet of paper inside the lid which had the full wiring diagram and the switch logic table on it. Not many manufacturers will give you that information for free.

Our 6 year old Ikea (AKA Hotpoint) integrated freezer has now been relegated to the garage for bulk stuff because it needed a complete set of replacement drawers and dropdown doors. They cost about £2-5 to make at volume but the set was going to cost me £240 and I would still have a 6 year old freezer.

The trouble with being able to fix things myself is I have garage full of "might be useful" bits.
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Post by roan Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:13 pm

Buy a Dualit classic kettles or toasters and are made in England and you can replace the elements in both of these and also spare parts are available as well.
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Post by bikeralw Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:22 pm

Quite right, buy British made if possible.
In 1991 I bought a full stainless steel exhaust system for my motorbike from Armours of Bournemouth. The five piece system came with a lifetime guarantee.
Seven years later in 1998 the header flange cracked, I posted it off and it came back repaired FOC.
Roll on another eighteen years and in 2016 the other header cracked. Same scenario, repaired FOC.
I've not used the bike much over the last five years, but the company is still trading and I'm sure if I had any more problems the lifetime guarantee would be honoured 30 years after purchase...
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Post by HairyFool Wed Mar 10, 2021 7:39 pm

But you have hit the point on two counts

I am looking for new Greenhouse so hit on a "British Made" offering. However when I go to order there is a 22 week delay. The reason is the aluminium is supplied and cut then coated in China, then it is shipped to the UK where it will be assembled as a kit before shipping it to the customer. Is this British Made?

I bought a my solar panel system from a British company complete with a 10 year guarantee. The generation meter failed and I find the company has gone bust and also failed to insure the guarantee as stated on its paperwork.

In finding out the latter I speak to another company to try and find out what happened. They quote me £230 to replace the meter, it cost me £32 and 30 minutes work
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Post by steamdrivenandy Wed Mar 10, 2021 8:41 pm

HairyFool wrote:But you have hit the point on two counts

I am looking for new Greenhouse so hit on a "British Made" offering. However when I go to order there is a 22 week delay. The reason is the aluminium is supplied and cut then coated in China, then it is shipped to the UK where it will be assembled as a kit before shipping it to the customer. Is this British Made?

I bought a my solar panel system from a British company complete with a 10 year guarantee. The generation meter failed and I find the company has gone bust and also failed to insure the guarantee as stated on its paperwork.

In finding out the latter I speak to another company to try and find out what happened. They quote me £230 to replace the meter, it cost me £32 and 30 minutes work

Yes, 'Assembled in Britain' isn't quite the same as 'Made in Britain'.

Just take Auto Sleepers, current production is based on either Italian or Germany assembled vehicles but with bits that come from all over. Steel produced where? Italian, French or German engines. Transmissions, electrics, fuel systems, exhausts, trims, tyres, wheels from who knows where. Then you come to the conversion. Furniture produced in Italy, appliances from the Continent, lights from China, fabrics from Belgium, upholstery assembled in Derbyshire, all screwed together in the Cotswolds.

And weirdly the founder of the ultra British built Dualit company was German. Rather like the founder of the quintessentially British (Yorkshire) chain of cafes called Betty's was Swiss. The same group also own the Taylors of Harrogate brand of tea and coffee, including Yorkshire Tea.
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Post by inspiredron Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:13 pm

Some years ago a mouse decided to use our Electrolux fridge's door seal as nesting material. Should be simple to replace the seal - NO - it was a complete new door!

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Post by HairyFool Thu Mar 11, 2021 3:26 pm

To be effective "Right to Repair" is going to require some fundamental rethinking by designers. Almost every design function that makes it difficult to get a product apart is down to streamlining manufacturing processes.

Glue together or snap together is far quicker and more dependable than line up and screws. I used to fix mobile phones and tablets quite successfully but they are getting much harder without tooling. The iFixit site rates the repairability of tech goods and the Surface Pro I am typing this on has a rating of "very difficult" to replace the battery
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Post by bikeralw Thu Mar 11, 2021 4:13 pm

I remember only a few years ago when every portable device had replaceable batteries. Now looking around at every tech item I own they all have inaccessible built-in rechargeable batteries, even my DAB radio and torch..
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Post by HairyFool Fri Mar 12, 2021 11:15 am

The reason why most devices with Li-Ion batteries are hard to get inside comes down to charging.

This battery type has the propensity to catch fire if incorrectly charged. Any replacement battery needs to be properly matched to the integrated charger or the battery have a charge controller integrated into it rather than depending on the device.
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