A new ‘right to repair’ law comes into force today, making a range of home appliances such as fridges, washing machines, and televisions cheaper to run.
The average consumer could now save around £75 under the new efficiency rules.
The government says the new ‘right to repair’ law on electrical products will tackle “premature obsolescence” – a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer.
For the first time ever, manufacturers are now legally obliged to make spare parts for products available to consumers so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily.
It means that anyone buying white goods or televisions in shops or online can rest assured that if anything breaks outside of their warranty, spare parts will be available for them to get the appliance repaired.
Not only will the change mean energy bill savings of £75 on average, the government says it will also tackle the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste that’s generated in the UK every year.
Changes are estimated to extend the lifespan of products by up to 10 years.
Here’s the items the new rules apply to:
- Washing machines
- Electronic displays (including televisions)
- Light sources and separate control gears
- External power suppliers
- Electric motors
- Refrigerators with a direct sales function (e.g – fridges in supermarkets, vending machines for cold drinks)
- Power transformers
- Welding equipment
Consumers will still need to be within warranty or guarantee to get the repairs free of charge.
Those who are out of this period will most likely need to pay a professional or the manufacturer itself to fix the item, but in the past, the complexity of repairing these goods meant that it was often more cost-effective to buy a new one.
Now, consumers could save hundreds by simply fixing the broken part instead, and even with repair fees, this could work out cheaper than buying an entirely new product.
The introduction of the law follows on from new energy labels that were introduced on 1 March to help consumers find out the electrical efficiency of their appliance.
Speaking on the introduction of the new law, Anne Marie Trevelyan – Minister of State for Energy – said: “The tougher standards coming in today will ensure more of our electrical goods can be fixed rather than have to be thrown away when they stop working, putting more money back in the pockets of consumers, as we build back greener.”
Environmental expert Libby Peake – Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance – said that the new regulations “represent a small, first step towards giving people the long-lasting repairable products they want”.
However she said it was not accurate to say the new rules create a “legal right to repair”.
“The government hasn’t given consumers any such right, as the spare parts and repairability criteria are only directed at professional repairers, not at the people who own products,” she said.
“There is also no guarantee that spare parts and repair services will be affordable, so considerable barriers remain to making this the easiest, default option.”