‘Right to repair’ comes in today to tackle premature obsolescence of home electricals

Home appliances and electronics will be cheaper to run, easier to repair and will last longer under new energy efficiency rules that come into force today (1 July).

A new ‘right to repair’ law on products like fridges, washing machines and televisions will tackle ‘premature obsolescence’ – a short lifespan deliberately built into an appliance by manufacturers which leads to unnecessary and costly replacements for the consumer.

As a result, manufacturers are now legally obliged to make product spare parts available to consumers for the first time so that electrical appliances can be fixed easily, with the aim of extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years. Not to mention, this change will help tackle the 1.5 million tonnes of electrical waste generated in the UK every year.

It means anyone buying white goods or TVs in shops or online can rest assured – that if anything breaks outside of their warranty – that spare parts will be available for them to get the appliance repaired.

The Government estimated this will also save the average consumer £75 a year on energy bills.

The rules follow on from the new energy labelling scheme that was introduced on 1 March – a new scale from A-G rather than the old A+, A++ or A+++. The new labels improved the old system by raising the bar for each class, meaning very few appliances are now classified as A.

Minister of State for Energy, Anne Marie Trevelyan, 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.”

However, others believe consumers are now simply given more choice, and an option towards cheaper repair solutions.

Head of Resource Policy at Green Alliance, Libby Peake, said the spare parts and repairability criteria are only directed at professional repairers, not at the people who own products.

“It is not accurate to say the new rules create a legal right to repair; the Government hasn’t given consumers any such right,” she said, adding: “The new regulations represent a small, first step towards giving people the long-lasting repairable products they want.”