CHOICE is calling for reforms to make it easier for Australians to find high quality, long-lasting products and access repairs when something goes wrong.
"CHOICE supports the recommendations in the Productivity Commission's Right to Repair Draft Report, but there is more that can be done," says CHOICE Director of Campaigns Erin Turner.
As part of its latest response to the Productivity Commission's Right to Repair Inquiry, CHOICE has released new research into the consumer experience of repairs, which still leaves much to be desired.
"Broken or faulty products are too common. CHOICE research shows that in the past 12 months, 23% of Australians have had issues where their products have stopped working, broken, or been damaged or worn before they reasonably should have," says Ms Turner.
"Alarmingly, most people who experienced issues with a product faced problems in the first 12 months of ownership. To make matters worse, almost half of the Australians who had a problem didn't get their product fixed because the repair cost was too high," says Ms Turner.
Infographic available for embedding here: https://infogram.com/what-stops-australians-getting-their-broken-products-repaired-1h8n6m3j30jlz4x?live
CHOICE is calling for reforms to increase the availability of independent repair options, to require that companies tell people about their repair rights under the consumer law, and to make repair guides and spare parts more easily available.
CHOICE is also calling for new labels on products to let people clearly see:
- How long a manufacturer expects a product to last.
- The minimum period essential software updates will be provided by the manufacturer.
- How durable and repairable a product is in comparison to others.
"In the CHOICE testing labs, we regularly encounter products that are poorly designed or made in ways that mean they are likely to fail sooner than other models. For example, products can be constructed with cheaper parts, like plastic instead of metal. They can be assembled in ways that mean they are difficult or impossible to repair in future. Components may be glued together or have proprietary batteries that cannot be replaced," says Ms Turner.
"It is hard to spot poor quality products when you're in the store. These reforms would provide Australians with guidance and usable information about how long a product should last and how easy it will be to repair when something goes wrong," says Ms Turner.
"There is strong community support for a right to repair. 75% of people agree that Australians need a stronger right to repair the products they own. The Productivity Commission inquiry into the Right to Repair is an opportunity to make consumer rights stronger and make it easier to find good quality products that are built to last," says Ms Turner.
Media contact: Katelyn Cameron, 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about CHOICE's right to repair work at www.choice.com.au/righttorepair
Download the CHOICE submission at the Productivity Commission website.
The Productivity Commission is currently undertaking a detailed inquiry into the Right to Repair. The Final Report is expected in late 2021.
About the research: CHOICE conducted two nationally representative surveys into consumer experiences with faulty products and repair rights. Both surveys were completed by over 1,000 people and have been weighted to ensure results are representative of the Australian population based on the 2016 ABS Census. Full details are available in appendices 1-3 in the CHOICE submission to the Productivity Commission.