20sep consumers struggling with hard to fix appliances hero
24 September 2020

Consumers struggling with hard-to-fix appliances

Survey finds less than half of Kiwis think it's easy to find someone to fix an appliance.

Research by Consumer NZ shows people are frustrated by how hard and pricey it is to get their appliances repaired.

The consumer watchdog’s latest survey found only 45% of respondents thought it was easy to find someone to fix an appliance, while 24% thought it was easy to find spare parts. Two-thirds said appliance repairs cost too much.

It’s time this changed.

Kiwis expect their appliances to be repairable – 98% of respondents think they should be able to get their washing machines and dishwashers fixed.

“It’s clear people want it to be easier and more affordable to get broken appliances repaired. Just 24% of Kiwis would sooner replace something faulty than get it repaired, while half felt bad when they’ve had to junk an appliance,” Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said.

“That’s why we’ve launched our #BuiltToLast project. Our aim is to make it easier for people to buy more repairable and durable products. This means we’ll be doing more durability testing and more research. We’ll also be encouraging manufacturers to address the problems we find in their products,” Duffy said.

Consumer NZ also asked about what should happen with appliances once they reach end-of-life. Two-thirds of respondents think manufacturers and retailers should be responsible for recycling the dead appliances they make and sell.

While 40% of Kiwis don’t mind paying someone to recycle their dead appliances, only 20% think it’s easy to find somewhere to recycle them. This shows New Zealand has a lack of appropriate recycling services.

The Consumer NZ #BuiltToLast campaign and associated e-waste project are made possible by partial funding from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund. As part of the wider plan to reduce the amount of harmful rubbish ending up in landfills, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage recently announced electrical and electronic products as one of six priorities for a regulated product stewardship scheme, under the Waste Minimisation Act.

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Member comments

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Garry M.
16 Jan 2021
Appliance repairs & length of life.

Everything should be repairable, often it's just a small part needed.
Our washing machine and dryer lasted for about 25 years.
In 1993 we bought a new washing machine, dryer, dishwasher (our first), and fridge/freezer. All Fisher & Paykel.
Our Smart Drive washing machine had the control panel replaced under warranty.
In 2013 the pause/wash switch broke. I figured if I couldn't get a switch I would take one from a function we didn't use and swap it.
But the helpful gentleman in the parts/repair dept. at the Hornby (Chch) Branch said go to Jaycar and see if you can get a 'tact switch' switch, otherwise perhaps swap another switch on the panel.
For a dollar I got a new switch at Jaycar and managed to replace it without melting down the control panel lol.
About a month later I replaced the the hot water solenoid - $25. I said it was getting noisy when spinning. He said probably needs new bearings and a seal. $50. He gave me a photo copy of the parts breakdown of the machine.
A few weeks later when I had a spare w/e I bought the parts and spent about 8 hours on Saturday repairing it. The time was spent carefully and patiently pulling apart what I needed to. I didn't know how it came apart and didn't want to break something else in the process.
Success! A nice quiet machine.
2018 one day it just wouldn't turn on. 25 years. (probably control panel).
I bowed to wife pressure. We bought a new one, same make and newer version of similar. I gather we may be lucky to get 10-15 years.
Unfortunately the helpful gentleman and the parts dept. at Hornby are no longer.

Mike H.
01 Oct 2020
Spares availability

If the EU is requiring spare parts for larger appliances to be available for 10 years,
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-49884827 can we do the same and even 6 years on common fail parts of small appliances?

It might encourage more interchangeability and durability.

Cathy B.
29 Sep 2020
Fix it yourself

I regularly fix things myself as have found that even the Fisher & Paykel 'technician' didn't know how a freezer works! Repairpeople often just have an iPad with a checklist & are unable to think outside of this.
I have an Indesit stove and originally had trouble finding a replacement switch pack for it as the shaft to the oven knob had broken. No, you can't buy just the shaft and no one had an old one I could scavenge. However, after lots of emails, I was finally put on to 2 companies. Smiths quoted $150 for the part! I got the part from Eurotech Design in Avondale for $55 and easily installed it myself!!!
I love taking things apart & finding out how they work, but I love fixing things, doing it myself and saving money even better.

Previous member
28 Sep 2020
Fixing broken appliances

We live in a consumer driven age where price rules, although expectations remain the same. That is a broad generalisation as the premium product/price can be every bit as unreliable and unfixable as less expensive brands. We recently experienced this when our microwave stopped working. It was a top brand and we’d had it for a few years without issues. Best advice from several sources was dump and get a replacement, which we duly did, only to learn later from another source that a $50 part was available and would have resolved the problem. Lesson learned.

Anne K.
28 Sep 2020
No spare parts for a new model ?

Sunbeam Mini Barista: Great little machine but not worth the standard price - runs from around $269 (sale) all the way up to $450. This appears to be a "throw away"/irreparable machine as spare parts do not seem to be available - apart from a group head seal) - so the buy price should reflect this.

Darren J.
27 Sep 2020
Too expensive to fix

I have a Bosch dishwasher which doesn’t wash or dry properly. I’ve been told that it needs a new pump ($800+), and that it’s not worth fixing. Really? A simple pump replacement renders a dishwasher a write off?
This is insane.

26 Sep 2020
second hand market

So many items have to be disposed of because parts or repairers are unavailable.
With the growing numbers of poor and disadvantaged there should be a large market for quality secondhand goods, as today's retirees had in their youth; and many probably need again.

Ivan M.
26 Sep 2020
built to last

the same should apply to motor vehicles. manufacturers go out of their way to build vehicles that discourage the average mechanic from repairing then . they do not consider the difficulties it creates for people in remote areas and allows so called agents to charge exorbitant rates.

a'nt technology great.