Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 20th Mar 2017 23:42 UTC
In the News

Now refrigerators last 8-10 years, if you are fortunate. How in the world have our appliances regressed so much in the past few decades? I've bought and sold refrigerators and freezers from the 1950s that still work perfectly fine. I've come across washers and dryers from the 1960s and 1970s that were still working like the day they were made. Now, many appliances break and need servicing within 2-3 years and, overall, new appliances last 1/3 to 1/4 as long as appliances built decades ago. They break more frequently, and sooner, than ever before. They rust and deteriorate much quicker than in the past. Why is this happening, and what's really going on? I've been wrestling over these questions for years while selling thousands of appliances, and more recently, working with used appliance sellers and repair techs all across the country. The following is what I've discovered.

This is something we've all instinctively known, but Ryan Finlay goes into detail as to what, exactly, are the causes. The article's from 2015, but I stumbled on it today on Twitter, and I thought it was a great, informative read.

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Comment by joekiser
by joekiser on Tue 21st Mar 2017 00:33 UTC
joekiser
Member since:
2005-06-30

1) This is why we must fight to pass right to repair legislation.
2) reddit.com/r/buyitforlife

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by joekiser
by shotsman on Tue 21st Mar 2017 06:40 in reply to "Comment by joekiser"
shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

I bought a Washer/Dryer around 1980. I could replace the brushes in the motor every couple of years and until the circuit board became impossible to repair (around 2003) because one Transistor was no longer available and none of the so called replacements worked (most of them burnt out in a few cycles) it was great.
We bought a new machine and it was fine for 6 years. Then a bearing in the drum went. The cost of the repair was several hundred pounds more than a new machine. It had been designed to make repairs impossible. both machines were made by the same company. (Sounds familiar)

The same goes for my motorcycles. I can get parts for my 1963 Bonnieville easier than I can for my 2015 Fireblade. Ironically, the Fireblade has had more go wrong with it than I have had go wrong with the Triumph in the last 15 years.

'Things' get more complicated and harder to maintain. Or so the manufacturer would try to make out. I've just sold the Fireblade and bought an Enfield 'Bullet'.
I can maintain it myself and it is more fun to ride.

Planned obsolecence can work both ways and it is up to us to make it work for us.
As an aside,
Up at the Bletchley Park Computer Museum (www.tnmoc.org) they delight in making old computers work again. They have lots of working BBC Micro's. Well worth a visit and any funds would help them a lot as they get no Government Support.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE: Comment by joekiser
by Carewolf on Tue 21st Mar 2017 09:06 in reply to "Comment by joekiser"
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Maybe. But I was shocked that the article did not mention any of the biggest brand names of appliances in Europe. The once that have brand name loyalty for quality and lasting a long time. Maybe the US just needs to buy better stuff?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by joekiser
by karunko on Tue 21st Mar 2017 14:19 in reply to "RE: Comment by joekiser"
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

Maybe. But I was shocked that the article did not mention any of the biggest brand names of appliances in Europe. The once that have brand name loyalty for quality and lasting a long time. Maybe the US just needs to buy better stuff?

Nothing new I'm afraid. In 1979 Frank Zappa was already singing:

"All that we've got here is American made,
it's a little bit cheesy but it's nicely displayed.

We don't get excited when it crumbles and breaks,
we just get on the phone and call up some flakes.

They rush on over and wreak it some more,
and we are so dumb they're lining up at out door."


https://open.spotify.com/track/7yi2Vzc2Oa2Stgy9a8y51f

But, to stay on topic (and for the sake of playing the devil's advocate just a little): how can I stay in business if I sell you something and it's going to be good for 30 years or more? Okay, I could start expanding to new markets but once everyone has got one? What's next?


RT.

Edited 2017-03-21 14:20 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: Comment by joekiser
by Brendan on Wed 22nd Mar 2017 01:49 in reply to "Comment by joekiser"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

1) This is why we must fight to pass right to repair legislation.
2) reddit.com/r/buyitforlife


"Right to repair" helps cure symptoms, but does nothing to prevent the root cause.

What we (consumers) need is advertising laws that force manufacturers to display "mean time between failure" (measured by a neutral third-party) on all appliances; so that when you're choosing an appliance to buy you have some hope of being able to take longevity into account.

The other thing we need is standardised parts where practical (similar to "PC" where you can replace/upgrade a hard drive or power supply or network card or .... with any off-the-shelf equivalent part from any manufacturer). This would stop the current practice of "designed to fail" and stop manufacturer from charging over-inflated prices for "pointlessly non-standard" replacement parts to encourage disposal and new sales.

- Brendan

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by joekiser
by joekiser on Wed 22nd Mar 2017 12:30 in reply to "RE: Comment by joekiser"
joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

I think part of the problem is that currently there is opportunity for monopoly on who can repair. When a company is responsible for selling new products AND repairing older models, there is a conflict of interest where selling a new product takes precedence.

Opening it up for anybody to repair a device would allow consumers to purchase products with longevity in mind.

Or something like that.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by joekiser
by Trenien on Wed 22nd Mar 2017 15:50 in reply to "RE: Comment by joekiser"
Trenien Member since:
2007-10-11

There is another (partial) solution: increase the legal warranty period. If you make it 10 years, most of those goods will last at least that long (and quite a bit longer since I imagine it would much more difficult to plan quick obsolescence with such a time span)

Reply Parent Score: 1