Is the right to repair law the solution it seems?

line of silver washing machines

During the summer of 2021 a new law was passed that insists manufacturers of white goods and larger electrical items, such as TVs, will need to make spares and parts available for their machines for a period of ten years after their final manufacture.

Another aspect of this new law is that all repairs should now only require the use of everyday tools, as opposed to specialist equipment created by the manufacturer and which can only be used by the manufacturer.

This law doesn’t apply to every single machine part, as some will still only be available to professional repairers; however, it will apply to the majority of household machines, and across all brands.

bulldozer pushing landfill while birds circle overhead

This move, according to Government officials, is to encourage consumers to mend/repair their goods rather than buying replacements and sending their original machine to landfill. Their data shows that 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste could be saved by the recent right to repair law.

Whilst manufacturers will be disappointed with their sales figures if we were to all repair instead of replace our white goods, etc., there’s the safety factor to consider. Most new goods come with warranties that guarantee their lifespan for a length of time. These very same products would also have had to have passed rigorous safety and quality checks. A repair carried out by you, by your next-door neighbour, or by your daughter’s pal, for example, will not be subject to the same stringent tests.

little child trying to crawl into an open tumble dryer

It only takes minutes for a tumble dryer to catch fire. It wouldn’t take long for a washing machine to empty a full drum of soapy water across your kitchen floor. When a brand-new machine leaves a retailer’s premises, you can feel quite confident that such a scenario wouldn’t happen; if Dave, Dozy, Beaky, Mick or Tich tried to repair your white goods, you could be inviting disaster into your life.

Hard-to-come-by parts, if they’re not already on the market, may be copied by other companies than the manufacturer. Using unauthorised and/or inferior parts may also increase safety risks.

A scheme of this kind is already running in France, where manufacturers there appear to have risen to the challenge to make their goods easy to fix. Their UK counterparts insist that any complications when it comes to the repair of their machines is down to their commitment to durability and to optimise performance.

Tradespeople of all types are held accountable to industry standards, certification and regulations. Imagine you’d installed the electrical system that ran throughout a new house build; though you could verify the safety of the system after your installation and after the necessary quality checks had taken place, you couldn’t vouch for its safety if it had subsequently been repaired by any Tom, Dick or Harry—that’s why so many quality and safety controls exist. It’s difficult to see how this same scenario is not deemed a worry when it’s a fridge rather than an entire electrical system within a home—it will still carry similar components and have electricity running through it.

Quality and safety are incredibly important to us. The brands we stock at Electricals Online are all forerunners in the manufacture of their products, with many of them household names. Delivery is free on orders over £50 and if you place this before 12pm, it will be with you the very next day.