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Built to fail – How Spain is dealing with built in obsolescence?

Built to fail – How Spain is dealing with built in obsolescence?

Built to fail – How Spain is dealing with built in obsolescence?

With Germany becoming the first European country to deal with “built in obsolescence” head on, other European countries are starting to make some progress, Spain has already dipped it’s “toe in the water”
What does “built in obsolescence” mean, well basically, it is where electrical appliances and electronic devices are forced to stop working or to function properly after a set period of time. This forces consumers to replace them and buy new ones. A good way for the corporate manufacturers to have a consistent income and in turn profit.
However, functionality is not the only was this is done. It can be with trendier new models and promotion around this, thereby creating a sense of embarrassment around having the “old model”. This is most of ten seen in mobile phones, as their features are constantly being upgraded and often past the point that will function on older models.
An example of this is the messenger app “WhatsApp” which regularly cuts off usage on older models on a regular basis. If the majority of your friends, colleagues and social circle use this app, then you are only left with two choices, upgrade or be left out.
Another type of built-in obsolescence is where appliances begin to fail after a certain period of time and the cost of repair starts to exceed the cost of replacement with a new item, It can also be where parts are so rare it can make it unviable to repair.

One of Spain’s largest consumer groups, the OCU, says that around 60% of breakages and faults on mobile phones happen within the first 2 years of ownership, no problem if the guarantee covers the repair, which is a minimum of 2 years, by law. However common problems such a faulty charging port are often not covered by the terms of this.
So, what has Germany done? It has created a rule meaning that all devices must be repairable and all parts available at a lesser cost than replacing the device. It has added that software upgrades to keep apps working must be available for a minimum of 7 years.
What is Spain doing?
Spain has not yet taken the bold step that Germany has, but instead is seeking to make consumers more aware and enable them to make informed purchase decisions.
Whilst it has not been very well publicised, there was a new law introduced in March that means all appliances in the category that are now sold must have a “repairability label”, with a mark out of 10 for how expensive or easy they are to repair. In addition, you must be given an option to repair, if this exists.
What this means is that manufacturers must now retain an appliance engineer, accessible in your area. Whilst this means that manufacturers must offer the option of repair, it does not last past the guarantee period, and so manufacturers can still legitimately claim not to have parts available after this period
What does the label look like and how does it work?
Basically, anything electrical, mobile phones, computers, tablets, TV, dishwashers, stereos, fridge/freezers etc, etc will have to display a sticker, a bit like the Energy raring. It must be placed in a prominent position as well.
Also, if these items are being sold online, then the website must display the information as well.

The rating is based on information supplied by the manufacturer, who are now obligated to do so. This has o show how easy or difficult it is to repair; how quickly spare parts are available and how simple upgrading the software is.
The downside to this, however, is that items with a much higher rating, may well be much more expensive to buy. Could this lead to many consumers opting for the cheapest option and perpetuating the disposable culture around electronics?

We are yet to see, however in other countries where this had been implemented more thoroughly, we have already seen some large scale law suits and prosecutions of manufactures.
Is this a positive move? Leave a comment to let us know what you think.
With Germany becoming the first European country to deal with “built-in obsolescence” head-on, other European countries are starting to make some progress, Spain has already dipped it’s “toe in the water”
What does “built-in obsolescence” mean, well basically, it is where electrical appliances and electronic devices are forced to stop working or to function properly after a set period of time. This forces consumers to replace them and buy new ones. A good way for the corporate manufacturers to have a consistent income and in turn profit.
However, functionality is not the only way this is done. It can be with trendier new models and promotion around this, thereby creating a sense of embarrassment around having the “old model”. This is most often seen in mobile phones, as their features are constantly being upgraded and often past the point that will function on older models.
An example of this is the messenger app “WhatsApp” which regularly cuts off usage on older models on a regular basis. If the majority of your friends, colleagues and social circle use this app, then you are only left with two choices, upgrade or be left out.
Another type of built-in obsolescence is where appliances begin to fail after a certain period of time and the cost of repair starts to exceed the cost of replacement with a new item, It can also be where parts are so rare it can make it unviable to repair.

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One of Spain’s largest consumer groups, the OCU, says that around 60% of breakages and faults on mobile phones happen within the first 2 years of ownership, no problem if the guarantee covers the repair, which is a minimum of 2 years, by law. However common problems such as a faulty charging port are often not covered by the terms of this.
So, what has Germany done? It has created a rule meaning that all devices must be repairable and all parts available at a lesser cost than replacing the device. It has added that software upgrades to keep apps working must be available for a minimum of 7 years.
What is Spain doing?
Spain has not yet taken the bold step that Germany has but instead is seeking to make consumers more aware and enable them to make informed purchase decisions.
Whilst it has not been very well publicised, there was a new law introduced in March that means all appliances in the category that are now sold must have a “repairability label”, with a mark out of 10 for how expensive or easy they are to repair. In addition, you must be given an option to repair, if this exists.
What this means is that manufacturers must now retain an appliance engineer, accessible in your area. Whilst this means that manufacturers must offer the option of repair, it does not last past the guarantee period, and so manufacturers can still legitimately claim not to have parts available after this period
What does the label look like and how does it work?
Basically, anything electrical, mobile phones, computers, tablets, TV, dishwashers, stereos, fridge/freezers etc, etc will have to display a sticker, a bit like the Energy raring. It must be placed in a prominent position as well.
Also, if these items are being sold online, then the website must display the information as well.

rating system for obsolecence in electrical products

The rating is based on information supplied by the manufacturer, who are now obligated to do so. This has o show how easy or difficult it is to repair; how quickly spare parts are available and how simple upgrading the software is.
The downside to this, however, is that items with a much higher rating may well be much more expensive to buy. Could this lead to many consumers opting for the cheapest option and perpetuating the disposable culture around electronics?

We are yet to see, however in other countries where this had been implemented more thoroughly, we have already seen some large scale law suits and prosecutions of manufactures.
Is this a positive move? Leave a comment to let us know what you think.

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