The repairability of dishwashers and other vacuum cleaners now displayed

Can my vacuum cleaner be repaired if it breaks down? Will I be able to find spare parts for my dishwasher? As of Friday, November 4, household appliance stores will have to display the repairability index of four types of new products: dishwashers, top-opening washing machines, vacuum cleaners and high-pressure cleaners. They join smartphones, laptops, televisions, lawn mowers and porthole washing machines, for which this display has been mandatory since January 1, 2021.

Color code

The repairability index is scored out of 10. The more a product is repairable, the higher the score. To facilitate reading, a color code is associated with the design of a nut and an adjustable wrench, ranging from bright red (not repairable) to dark green (easily repairable).

The index is calculated on the basis of the possibility of disassembling the device, the availability of spare parts, the price of these compared to new, access to the tools and fixings necessary for its repair, or even the access to technical documentation. Other specific criteria are also retained, such as free remote assistance and the possibility of resetting the software. Gifam, a group of home appliance brands, launched a platform last month to consult the repairability index of 28 brands (1).

Upgrade to 60% repairs

In a study carried out in 2019, Ademe, the ecological transition agency, estimated that only 36% of French people had their electrical and electronic products repaired in the event of a breakdown. The stated objective is to reach 60% within five years, both by encouraging manufacturers to offer easily repairable products and by encouraging consumers to choose products based on their repairability potential.

The anti-waste law for a circular economy provides that by 2024 this index will become a sustainability index, which will include new criteria such as the robustness or reliability of products. Goal: fight against planned obsolescence.

Not free from criticism

The index is not, however, without criticism. The attribution of scores would still need to be improved, in the eyes of the consumer association UFC-Que Choisir. In a report published in December 2021, the latter had denounced its method of calculation, which attributes the same weight to each criterion.

Thus the dismountable character has the same value as access to the documentation. The association had highlighted the fact that some smartphones turned out to be very well rated, despite poor access to spare parts.

A “repair fund”

To support the movement, the public authorities are planning the creation of a “repair fund” from January 1, 2023. On average, a repair costs €129. Knowing that an entry-level washing machine represents a budget of €200, the consumer may be tempted to buy new rather than repair.

“Below 30% of the price of new, he would rather repair than replace. It is a psychological threshold, analyzes Camille Beurdeley, general delegate of Gifam. The repair fund will lower the price of the repair by a few tens of euros and could make it possible to remain below this threshold. »

“QualiRépar”, a network of certified repairers

In order to encourage repairs, a network of certified repairers called “QualiRépar” will be set up from the start of 2023. “Having access to a reliable, certified repairerand ethics is an important issue, observes Laurent Falconieri, president of Compagnie du SAV, a subsidiary of Electrolux, and spokesperson for the repair sector. We need to give back to the repair business its letters of nobility so that repair becomes part of the reflexes again. »

The label will be awarded by audit firms and certification bodies, such as Afnor. It will make it possible to create a network of repairers throughout France.

A job in tension

However, challenges still need to be addressed. The implementation of these initiatives will create strong demand in a business under pressure. “3,500 to 4,000 technicians are missing and many repairers are going to retire”, acknowledges Laurent Falconieri.

In addition, faced with the risk of shortage of spare parts, the spokesperson for the repair sector wants to be reassuring: “We are in the process of creating stocks. » The After-Sales Service Company is also beginning to recover refurbished devices. The idea is that, in the long term, reconditioning and repair will emerge as serious alternatives for the consumer.


The anti-waste law

The anti-waste law for a circular economy, which came into force on January 1, 2022, contains 130 articles to combat all forms of waste. The law aims to transform our linear economy – produce, consume, throw away – into a circular economy.

It includes five axes:

– get out of disposable plastic

– better inform consumers

– fight against waste and for solidarity reuse

– act against planned obsolescence

– produce better


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