Appliance registration: Keeping consumers safe

Appliances are very safe; rarely do they go wrong, and it is exceedingly rare that a fault or failure results in a risk of harm. But accidents do happen, and it is crucial that the end consumer can be contacted whenever necessary. Paul Hide explains…

The public’s perception of risk associated with home electricals is very low, justifiably, but it is this lack of perception of risk that makes a call to action to register appliances challenging.

So why bother with appliance registration messaging? Because, with 12 million appliances sold in the UK each year these rare events where intervention is required do happen. Manufacturers and channel partners have a responsibility to contact customers should they need to. Also, most injuries that result from use of appliances are down to user misuse or carelessness, not machine faults, and campaigns offer the opportunity to educate owners on the safe use of appliances and the need for periodic maintenance and inspection.

AMDEA estimates there are around 120 million appliances in UK homes, of which 100 million are not registered. Analysis of recent recall activity shows that when customers can be directly contacted the response rate is high, but where non-targeted communications are made, the response rate is low. We need to personalise the message and communicate one-to-one with the product owner – it is the only effective way to ensure intervention.

The challenge of identifying appliance location is improving for two reasons. Nowadays pretty much all sales are via a digital route and, for large appliances, home delivery is commonplace. This means that the seller of the product will have a record of who and where the product was delivered to, with a contact point and quite possibly the serial number of the product. Therefore, we should be able to locate the product.

The share of installed appliances that are both connectable and connected is accelerating. Connected products can identify themselves and the manufacturer or service agent can easily locate appliances that require support. Increasingly it may be possible to mitigate the problem via an over- air software download. And, should that not be possible, the machine can be set in a service mode, or disabled until an engineer calls, should the risk be deemed to be high.

The biggest challenge in growing the base of registered appliances is reaching these 100 million or so that exist in homes today – and campaigns are an important part of growing the database. Sales of new appliances are largely captured; we just need to ensure cross industry protocols to access records for the sole purpose of a safety notification.

If the need to contact is based purely on safety and is not linked to any commercial play (unless an owner has already opted in), we believe we are on safe GDPR ground.

AMDEA’s ‘Register My Appliance’ activity helps drive consumers to the registration point of the manufacturer or the retailer. Our website is purely a portal to these partner databases, ensuring that data is only held by those that manage the customer relationship.

AMDEA’s second campaign of 2021, hot on the heels of our successful Energy Labelling campaign in March, focussed on consumer benefits of product registration and called for registering more of the appliances already in the home. The 100 million appliances already in UK homes will be the key driver in reaching the target of achieving registration of a minimum of half of all appliances in the marketplace.

AMDEA hosts the portal for appliance registrations, through which the appliance owner can link to the brand to be registered:

Register My Appliance is supported by all our key stakeholder partners. In addition to manufacturers, the Government BEIS Office for Product Safety and Standards and Domestic and General Group Ltd co-fund the campaigns. Over 190 industry stakeholders, including many Fire Authorities, Citizens Advice and Trading Standards offices, have actively promoted the campaign – which greatly helps in landing the message with the public.

Initial feedback on this recent campaign is very positive. Over 11 million Google Display ad impressions, 350,000 Twitter Ad impressions, an online press and print reach estimate of 15 million and a regional press reach of circa 46 million. Registrations have uplifted as a result of this increased awareness.

We know that regular messages are an important part of maintaining momentum, so we are working on future campaigns for the second half of 2021.