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Consumer right to repairs

From 1 July 2021, The Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information Regulations 2021 (the Ecodesign Regulations) has introduced rights for consumers (ie those who purchase goods or services for personal use) granting further rights to repairs to defective home appliances than under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Read this guide to find out more.

The Ecodesign Regulations aims to reduce appliance and electrical waste, by granting rights to repairs for appliances and other electrical products that could potentially be fixed. 

Under the Ecodesign Regulations, manufacturers, importers or authorised representatives of certain electronic products must make available to professional repairers spare parts for a minimum of 7 to 10  years, after placing the last unit of the model up on the market. Information regarding such repairs must also be made available to professional repairers.

Spare parts must also be made available to consumers, however, the list of parts available to consumers is not as extensive as the parts available to professional repairers. Similarly,  manufacturers, importers or authorised representatives do not need to make as much information regarding repairs available to consumers.

The products that the Regulations apply to, and for which spare parts must be  made available to consumers are:

  • dishwashers

  • washer-dryers

  • washing machines

  • refrigerators

  • freezers, and

  • electronic displays (including televisions) for home use

The repairs using such spare parts also need to be possible to complete using commonly available tools, making such repairs more accessible to consumers.

It is however important that consumers understand that the Regulations do not create an absolute right for them to have a right to repair but simply allow greater access to repairs.

Depending on the type of appliance, the spare parts must be available for a minimum of 7 to 10 years. This time period started when the last product of that particular model of the appliance is on the market. This means that consumers will generally have longer than this to repair their electronic products, depending on when they bought the product.

 

Consumers still have their consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) for goods to be:

  • satisfactory quality

  • as described

  • fit for purpose

Currently, under the CRA consumers already have an existing right to get defective goods repaired or replaced up to 6 years after the goods have been purchased. However, to get the goods repaired or replaced the consumers previously had to demonstrate that:

  • the fault that needed to be repaired or replaced was already there when a consumer bought the appliance, or 

  • the defect arose when the goods were purchased

The Ecodesign Regulations allows consumers greater rights than the current rights under the CRA. Under the Ecodesign Regulations, consumers do not need to show the cause of the defect; instead, spare parts and information for repair must simply be made available for the goods specified in the Regulations. Similarly, consumers can potentially benefit from longer rights to repair.

Under the new Regulations, consumers can expect:

  • higher energy efficiency standards - this means that certain electrical products will have to meet high minimum efficiency requirements to pass 

  • smarter energy labels - labels will be displayed on a scale ranging from A to G. This is intended to encourage consumers to purchase energy-efficient products whilst making it easier for consumers to understand the scale. Consumers will be able to scan a QR code on the label to get additional energy information.

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