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Right to repair

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default Right to repair

Post by Chilli-head on 9th January 2019, 2:22 pm

According to the [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.], there is mounting pressure from the EU (yes they do have some good ideas !) for goods to be made longer lasting and repairable. IMHO, not before time. There are so many goods that are so poor they should not be permitted at all ! I do share some concern about this bit:

Consumer campaigners complain the EU Commission has allowed firms to keep control of the repair process by insisting some products are mended by professionals under the control of manufacturers.

Why should the manufacturer have control ? I paid for it, it's now mine, not theirs ... I wonder how far this will be stretched, and if it will be used to force repairs to still be uneconomical ? How will the manufacturers do this - controlling the availability of spares would encourage the bodge repair, and fancy tamperproof screws etc don't keep me out for long Laughing

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Post by freebird on 10th January 2019, 10:17 pm

I think the question is how 'some products' is to be defined.

We have a Dualit toaster, a product which has always been designed to be repairable, and I have replaced the elements when it was needed. However, there may be some where it is considered just too much of a liability to allow just anyone to repair. Doubtless there are many capable people such as yourself, CH, but equally there are many who shouldn't be allowed to own a screwdriver, much less actually use one.

Fridges should be repairable, but refrigerant gases are nasty, dangerous things in the wrong hands. I would imagine that you own a central heating boiler and pay for the gas you consume, but I'm not sure that gives you any moral right to do as you please with it. It can be far too easy to think that, because something works again, it must be ok, without necessarily understanding all the implications, or the necessity for certain safety checks.

Overall though, I agree that things should be repairable and have much longer lives.
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Post by Chilli-head on 11th January 2019, 5:52 pm

I of course see your point. Some (many) people should not be trusted with a screwdriver.  I think the "right to repair" title perhaps leads us to think of DIY repair, but in the more general sense, the article is talking about making products with a reasonable life expectancy (which to me should be nearer 10 years than 2 years for white goods), and ensuring they are designed to ease repair where possible. Whether that is DIY or professional repair (at a cost which is cheaper than buying a new one !) matters perhaps less.

I think car manufacturers can actually be held up as a reasonable example here, cars have become more reliable over recent decades, they are repairable - for routine stuff by DIY if you chose, but also professionally.  BUT, unlike what the white goods manufacturers are trying to do, i.e., keep control of repairs to avoid losing out, outside your warranty at least you can take your car to any garage, use after market  compatible spares etc.

While I can see that some things need specialist (and competent) repair - gas appliances or even more so microwave ovens for example, I do sometimes feel a bit aggrieved by regulation preventing DIY. On the subject of gas CH boilers (and knowing I'm treading on dangerous ground), CORGI and a chunk of building regs trace their origin back to the Ronan Point  disaster.  A gas explosion, caused by a faulty fitting IIRC, had catastrophic results because the building had been poorly designed by the architect / structural engineer - it was held together by gravity, so not explosion resisting.  It was constructed incorrectly - gaps left around the concrete panels allowed for spread of gas and fire. Also the missing cement left the panels sitting on leveling bolts rather than properly supported, creating a stress concentration.  In short - the failure was down to faulty parts, incompetent design, and corner cutting builders not following the plan. All professionals and tradesmen.  No DIYers involved.
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Post by freebird on 12th January 2019, 2:24 pm

I don't doubt your explanation of the origin of the gas regs, but tbh I truly don't believe that untrained people should be working on gas appliances. I have seen plenty of shoddy and downright dangerous work carried out by people who have supposedly been trained and are registered.

My mum's ndn was always proud of the fact that he serviced his own boiler. It was a simple animal - an old floor-stander with a permanent pilot light. Nothing technical or complicated about it, so as far as he was concerned, giving it a good clean constituted a service. What he wasn't aware of, as he had neither the knowledge nor the equipment, was the gas valve was so old and worn that his boiler was vastly over-gassed. This had totally upset the air/gas ratio with the result that it was producing lethal amounts of carbon monoxide. It only required a corroded flue, a broken seal or even the wind to be in the wrong direction, and it would have killed him.

Quite apart from gas appliances, people can do some amazingly stupid things - bad enough getting it wrong in your own home, but when your home is attached to many others, it puts others at risk too.

Don't get me wrong - I am wholeheartedly in favour of appliances being much longer lasting and repairable. Perhaps they should be sold in kit form so people have to build their own appliances!
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Post by Chilli-head on 13th January 2019, 12:03 pm

freebird wrote:I don't doubt your explanation of the origin of the gas regs, but tbh I truly don't believe that untrained people should be working on gas appliances. I have seen plenty of shoddy and downright dangerous work carried out by people who have supposedly been trained and are registered.

I know you are right, and some things really do need to be done properly. But as you say, I've experienced and seen so many jobs done badly by professionals that I lack confidence to let them loose in my home, unless I know them or have a reliable personal recommendation. Which is a big part of why I DIY where I can. I did use a local gas fitter to install the pipework & commission our boiler, but the rest of the CH plumbing was DIY. His work seems OK, but he didn't give complete paperwork. Neither did the HETAS registered stove installer give us the required paperwork. My work colleage has a definitely non-compliant stove install from the same shop. A family member thankfully now has had replaced a professionally installed stove that had a wooden mantle piece 2" above the top surface of the stove - the underside was actually charcoal !
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