APPLiA's Digital Interviews: Repair, ensuring consumer safety and usability of products

The tenth episode of APPLiA’s series of short digital interviews is now available. Maite Castells, APPLiA Environment Junior Policy Specialist, covered repair and the latest developments on the topic at the EU level. 

Watch APPLiA's tenth digital interview, here.

In the context of the series of short digital interviews launched by APPLiA, the tenth episode features Maite Castells, APPLiA Environment Junior Policy Specialist, on repair.

Products are repairable today. According to data collected from the APPLiA membership, “91% of the requests to manufacturers resulted in an actual repair in 2018,” began Ms Castells, pointing out repair is not only possible, but a concrete reality nowadays. Yet, it is not enough for products to be repaired, they must be “repaired right”.

Consumer safety is the number one priority for the home appliance industry. As the topic of repair escalates the EU political agenda, Castells explained the risks that may come with unqualified repairs. “If an appliance is not properly repaired and safety testing procedures are not respected, consumer safety within the home could be compromised,” she detailed. For this reason, repairers need to comply with the applicable regulation but also to have relevant insurance covering any liability that may result from the service. With this in mind, a twist in the most common “right to repair” narrative is needed; “Consumers should be entitled to have their products repaired right, by professional repairers with technical skills and competence on specific applications, to ensure safety and usability aspects are preserved at all stages.“

So, what role do consumers have to play when it comes to repair? While it is of utmost importance for certain repair operations to be performed by professionals, “simple maintenance of appliances can be carried out safely with little technical skills,” said Ms Castells. This includes for instance descaling a coffee machine or replacing a filter in a vacuum cleaner. At a time when pressure is growing on manufacturers to make repair easier for consumers, preserving the safety of the home and the people who live in it, remains a key prerogative for the industry.

Given the relevance of the topic and in an effort to train young generations of technicians in Europe, APPLiA is supporting a study book produced by APPLiA Hungary that will soon be made available to all professional repairers, online.

This and much more in APPLiA’s tenth digital interview, available at this link.