APPLiA live at Patti Chiari TV Programme

Products reparability is a core interest of the home appliance industry and goes hand in hand with consumers' safety. Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director-General, took part at the debate at Patti Chiari and showed how much in terms of consumers' right to reparability the industry has done.

Reparability is a core topic when it comes to home appliances, both small and big ones. With this regard, the EU is introducing a law to guarantee that spare parts remain in the market for 10 years after their production. Patti Chiari, an RSI (Switzerland Radio-television) programme dedicated to journalistic investigations on customer-related topics, has addressed repair in its last episode on 5thApril, inviting Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA Director-General to participate the debate. The other guests were representatives of the “Restart Project” and of the Swiss Alliance of Consumer Organisations (ACSI).

An online survey conducted amongst the programme audience showed that 94% of consumers ask manufacturers to favour products’ reparability. To reply, Paolo Falcioni stated: “In 2016, 80% of the appliances that were sent back to our Members have been repaired.” A self-explaining number that sheds light on the value that the industry attributes to repair, both in terms of reparability of the products and availability of spare parts. Within this framework, for the first time, the EU legislation has stated the right to reparability that has to be pursued through professional repairers in order to guarantee consumers’ safety, which is also at the heart of home appliance industry’s priorities. The EU legislation aims to put everyone at the same level, with consumers always at the core.

Going more into the details of home appliances repair, the cost-side deserves further explanation. The total cost of repair is given, for its one-third, by spare parts and for the remaining two-thirds by logistics, manufacturing and other minor costs. “The cost of a rubber – said Paolo Falcioni to simplify – is due not only to the cost of it in itself, but also to that of stocking it for years and to that of bringing it to one place to another”.

When addressing this topic, we have also to look at another data: the fault rate of products. In 2014, Altroconsumo showed that in 2001 the percentage of broken washing machines reached 9%, towards the 4% in 2014. “It’s important to look at time progression. We often focus on fallen trees rather than on the growing forest” said Paolo Falcioni, reporting about this positive trend that shows how products durability has been pursued over the last decade.

Another topic related to repair is WEEE (Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment) which has something to do both with durability and reparability of home appliances. “We don’t have to forget that waste is a value. The 90% of waste in weight becomes secondary raw material, which is as valuable as first raw material. But it has to be collected and treated in an environmentally friendly way” said Paolo Falcioni. Through circularity, indeed, materials at the end of their life are recovered and enter again into the manufacturing circles, for the use in other products and loops. In circular culture, consumers, manufacturers and municipalities play a key and interlinked role in the implementation of a system that works and produces less waste.

Repair is a vast issue precisely because it is relevant to many actors and brings with it many other topics. However, the EU and home appliances manufacturers’ focus leave small room for doubt on the relevance of the topic.

To access the entire episode, use this link: https://www.rsi.ch/play/tv/programma/patti-chiari?id=3625337