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Built in obsolescence...........Is not a myth....


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Guest pelmetman

Getting in a spin: Why washing machines are no longer built to last

 

By Nigel Cassidy

Business correspondent, BBC News

 

Remember that old washing machine you bought back in the 1980s? The one that seemed to go on for ever?

 

And then there was the one you bought only a couple of years back, which seemed to give up the ghost more quickly than an ultra-fast spin cycle.

 

They don't build them like they used to.

 

Even the industry admits that the lifespan of white goods has fallen. But then so too have prices.

 

So how long should a fridge or a freezer last, and is it worth spending a bit more on a better model?

 

'Going strong'

Ann Barlow has used her Kenwood Chef for over 40 years

 

They are soon whizzing round effortlessly, if not noiselessly, in the same trusty electric mixer that she has used for 40 years.

 

It is a Kenwood Chef bought locally in the West Midlands. Then - at the time of the miners' strike - it would have cost around a month's wages.

 

But for Ann Barlow, it was her best buy ever.

 

"I hoped it would last well, but had no idea it would still be going strong for this long. It's never even been in for a service. It is a little bit noisy now, but that doesn't matter", she says.

 

'Conking out'

Our relentless demand for cheap household appliances is taking its toll on the durability of the products we buy.

 

Blame it on the smartphone.

 

With new technology constantly offering fresh features, many people have got used to the idea of upgrading devices nearly every year.

 

As a result, it seems our expectation of the lifespan of household gadgets is also reducing.

 

Shoppers constantly search online for the best deals and High Street retailers have to compete to make sales.

 

It is this erosion of prices which has inevitably taken its toll on the build quality and longevity of mass-market products.

 

group of appliances

Cheaper prices for white goods inevitably mean lower build quality

On its website, the Whitegoods Trade Association (WTA) openly acknowledges that the average lifespan has dropped in relation to prices.

 

Take the example of a washing machine.

 

Its life expectancy has dropped by a full three years over the last decade or so, meaning many will conk out pretty quickly.

 

"Over 40% cost under £300. Obviously these cheaper products do not have the same build quality, performance or longevity and therefore the average lifespan has dropped from over 10 years to under seven years," the website confesses.

 

It is not unusual for cheaper appliances to only last a few years.

 

Premature scrapping

The move to buying online has also broken the link between consumers and local businesses.

 

Such businesses once serviced everything they sold, sometimes way beyond its official guarantee period.

 

Collectively, the retail industry no longer even trains many domestic engineers.

 

There is too much premature scrapping. The trouble is it's in the interests of manufacturers to get three sales out of people every 10 years”

 

Robert Chapman

Chapmans

But the independent sector is fighting back.

 

Robert Chapman is managing director of Chapmans, a family electrical business at Cradley Heath in the West Midlands - with a history going back to 1927.

 

His company takes pride in its guaranteed repair service. When it comes to breakdowns, he says nine out of 10 washing machines and three-quarters of flat-screen televisions can be restored to perfect working order.

 

"There is too much premature scrapping," he says.

 

"The trouble is it's in the interests of manufacturers to get three sales out of people every 10 years -- not one. Because they don't have repair departments that make profits, customers are always pointed towards new products," he claims.

 

'Trusty' appliances

If an appliance has let you down and you are considering a claim against the makers or sellers, it is worth considering typical product lifespans before rushing to the courts.

 

Hannah Davies is a trading standards officer with Birmingham City Council.

 

She points out that consumer law does not underwrite six years of use, as is commonly believed.

 

She says it depends how much you paid for the product, and how much you have used it.

 

"Let's say you paid £199 for a washing machine and used it three to four times a day every day for four or five years, then the court would probably say that you have had enough use out of that product. But if you had spent £1,000 and used your machine for a minimal amount of time, the law would probably say you would be entitled to a refund of part of the amount or a repair."

 

So is it worth shelling out extra for a trusted, premium brand?

 

The answer is not clear-cut. The premium appliance could give you 20 years' service. It's certainly the best choice if reliability and durability are paramount -- and if you can afford it.

 

But if you don't have the budget and your use of the product will be lighter, then a cheaper model may be perfectly adequate.

 

Some people like the idea of being able to replace their technology as soon as possible.

 

Others, like Ann Barlow, pride themselves on sticking with their trusty appliances of old.

 

 

I'm with Ann...............we also have a Kenwood Chef B-)................Which we got as a freebie :D....

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No new revelations there surely.

 

The world depends more and more on shopping addicts - if there weren't any the world would collapse.

 

( I know that 'cos I read that in an advert for something that I didn't realise I needed ).

 

 

;-)

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Guest pelmetman
malc d - 2014-05-03 9:09 AM

 

No new revelations there surely.

 

The world depends more and more on shopping addicts - if there weren't any the world would collapse.

 

( I know that 'cos I read that in an advert for something that I didn't realise I needed ).

 

 

;-)

 

True enough Malc ;-)....................and the UK punter is top of the tree when it comes to the need for retail therapy........... its why we have the fastest growing economy in Europe. :-| .........

 

So we'll have another boom...............which of course will be followed by another bust *-)..........

 

Progress eh? :D

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pelmetman - 2014-05-03 10:16 AM

 

malc d - 2014-05-03 9:09 AM

 

No new revelations there surely.

 

The world depends more and more on shopping addicts - if there weren't any the world would collapse.

 

( I know that 'cos I read that in an advert for something that I didn't realise I needed ).

 

 

;-)

 

True enough Malc ;-)....................and the UK punter is top of the tree when it comes to the need for retail therapy........... its why we have the fastest growing economy in Europe. :-| .........

 

So we'll have another boom...............which of course will be followed by another bust *-)..........

 

Progress eh? :D

 

 

 

If Brits stop shopping at least it doesn't affect British workers so much any more - because most of our stuff is imported.

It's our shopkeepers that suffer now.

 

;-)

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malc d - 2014-05-03 12:42 PM

 

If Brits stop shopping at least it doesn't affect British workers so much any more - because most of our stuff is imported.

It's our shopkeepers that suffer now.

 

;-)

 

You mean people like Frank?...............Oh dear :-S.................but I dare say he.... Had Enough to get by on :D.............

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pelmetman - 2014-05-03 6:18 PM

 

malc d - 2014-05-03 12:42 PM

 

If Brits stop shopping at least it doesn't affect British workers so much any more - because most of our stuff is imported.

It's our shopkeepers that suffer now.

 

;-)

 

You mean people like Frank?...............Oh dear :-S.................but I dare say he.... Had Enough to get by on :D.............

 

 

 

No I wasn't thinking of him at all.

 

Thankfully I don't share the obsession that some of you have with HE.

 

;-)

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Guest pelmetman
malc d - 2014-05-03 7:46 PM

 

pelmetman - 2014-05-03 6:18 PM

 

malc d - 2014-05-03 12:42 PM

 

If Brits stop shopping at least it doesn't affect British workers so much any more - because most of our stuff is imported.

It's our shopkeepers that suffer now.

 

;-)

 

You mean people like Frank?...............Oh dear :-S.................but I dare say he.... Had Enough to get by on :D.............

 

 

 

No I wasn't thinking of him at all.

 

Thankfully I don't share the obsession that some of you have with HE.

 

;-)

 

Not a fan of blood sports then Malc? :D............................

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How does ' Built in obsolescence' come into it? The article is all about paying low prices for cheap shoddy goods.

All our major appliances have been purchased on quality not price, all except our last washing m/c where from local firms, and the only reason we didn't get that locally was nobody could supply what we wanted.

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colin - 2014-05-03 9:33 PM

 

How does ' Built in obsolescence' come into it? The article is all about paying low prices for cheap shoddy goods.

All our major appliances have been purchased on quality not price, all except our last washing m/c where from local firms, and the only reason we didn't get that locally was nobody could supply what we wanted.

 

Are your premium priced white goods likely to last 40 years?...................

 

Sister in laws non premium washing machine bought in the early 80's, finally packed up a couple of years ago...........but only because the parts were no longer available to repair it ;-)...............

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Being obsolete is not the same thing as being badly made.

 

Built in obsolescence these days occurs mainly in technology with things like computer operating systems and mobile phones.

 

They deliberately change something every couple of years so that those who like to " keep up " are persuaded to keep replacing their toys.

 

 

:-D

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pelmetman - 2014-05-04 8:55 AM

 

colin - 2014-05-03 9:33 PM

 

How does ' Built in obsolescence' come into it? The article is all about paying low prices for cheap shoddy goods.

All our major appliances have been purchased on quality not price, all except our last washing m/c where from local firms, and the only reason we didn't get that locally was nobody could supply what we wanted.

 

Are your premium priced white goods likely to last 40 years?...................

 

Sister in laws non premium washing machine bought in the early 80's, finally packed up a couple of years ago...........but only because the parts were no longer available to repair it ;-)...............

 

Our 80's washing m/c packed up about 5 years ago, it was on it's third set of replacemant brushes and second set of replacement bearings, I'll bet there are few people that will get a m/c repaired nowadays, most just seem to want to go out and buy a shiney new one. Last year a friend who's not too flush with money mentioned that she 'needed' to buy a new washing m/c, I looked at it for her and sure enough a set of brushes sorted it out, I must admit it took 'a bit of application' as the brushes weren't designed for quick and easy replacement, but no big deal for a half competent DIYer.

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I have replaced belts and brushes on white goods when required. As said above - a competent DIY'er should have little difficulty.

 

What I have found to be very very useful is sites like e-spares

 

http://www.espares.co.uk

 

These guys are very helpful - give them the model serial number and a required spare part is with you within days.

 

 

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Went through Uddersfield last week ( kept under the radar) A shop there called (I think) Direct Discount were selling washing machines new for £99

 

The Yorkshire Slate Ripper might be able to confirm the name, it's on the corner of Silver St.

 

Stealth Dave

 

 

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nowtelse2do - 2014-05-04 6:30 PM

 

Went through Uddersfield last week ( kept under the radar) A shop there called (I think) Direct Discount were selling washing machines new for £99

 

 

.....aaahh Dave, but that would have been for the special, deluxe model of the Yorkshire Washing Machine.

 

;-)

Yorkshire_Washing_Machine.jpg.6ac453905f360e6292a2b5102916d20b.jpg

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Oh yes !!! those are the ones......but they do look a bit too advanced for Uddersfeelers.

 

I like the Posser and I can even remember helping grandma with both the posser and the scrubbing board, she always made a game out of it by singing.

 

Brings back lovely memories i'd forgotten, Thanks guys.

 

Carbolic Dave

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Guest pelmetman
You lot may mock *-).................But we have a state of the art posser & bucket as invented by me myself B-)................and cost of the bucket and posser ;-)....................less than 4 euro's :D............which is the cost of some washing machines on site 8-)....................

1-P1000920.JPG.39726c5920199f459db72e088067d024.JPG

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Just to add ;-)................Er in doors is very pleased with the said posser as invented by myself B-)..............Now some of the more astute on here........ie those not from Lancashire...... will notice its a 99 cent sink plunger............BUT.........with strategic holes cut fearlessly by myself with a pair of scissors 8-)...........It works a treat...........or so I am told :D............

 

 

 

1-P1000922.JPG.8751e95c776c668b10b09d91c3c0edb7.JPG

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pelmetman - 2014-05-05 5:38 PM

 

Just to add ;-)................Er in doors is very pleased with the said posser as invented by myself B-)..............Now some of the more astute on here........ie those not from Lancashire...... will notice its a 99 cent sink plunger............BUT.........with strategic holes cut fearlessly by myself with a pair of scissors 8-)...........It works a treat...........or so I am told :D............

 

 

 

 

Very neat..... *-)

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Perhaps the £60.00 call out fee and £15.00 per 15 mins might be the reason for the non DIY people to replace and not repair broken white goods, I am able to repair my own but feel for those who are unable to and would have to call on the services of a repair man. John :D ;-)
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After many years and a succession of unreliable Hotpoint, Electrolux and Servis washing machines we eventually paid the extra few quid and bought a Bosch washing machine that came with a five year guarantee included. Wonderful we thought!

 

We need not have worried as it has never gone wrong - but it's only lasted a few trouble free years to date - well 14 years to be exact!

 

About the same time I also tired of unreliable and fragile European cars and bought my first Toyota and what a revelation that was too - now on our severalth Japanese cars and never once has any of them ever missed a beat, failed to proceed, or visited a dealer between services.

 

 

 

 

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Tracker - 2014-05-06 5:48 PM

 

After many years and a succession of unreliable Hotpoint, Electrolux and Servis washing machines we eventually paid the extra few quid and bought a Bosch washing machine that came with a five year guarantee included. Wonderful we thought!

 

We need not have worried as it has never gone wrong - but it's only lasted a few trouble free years to date - well 14 years to be exact!

 

About the same time I also tired of unreliable and fragile European cars and bought my first Toyota and what a revelation that was too - now on our severalth Japanese cars and never once has any of them ever missed a beat, failed to proceed, or visited a dealer between services.

 

 

 

Tracker, have only owned my First Toyota for 10 years, soon I will feel confident in giving it a reliability award LOL
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nowtelse2do - 2014-05-04 6:30 PM

 

Went through Uddersfield last week ( kept under the radar) A shop there called (I think) Direct Discount were selling washing machines new for £99

 

The Yorkshire Slate Ripper might be able to confirm the name, it's on the corner of Silver St.

 

Stealth Dave

 

 

There's only one reason to be in that part of town Dirty David and it ain't for washing machines as you well know

Man in a dirty Mazda with a foreign sounding voice handing money over to lady in high heels and heavy make up don't sound like someone's out looking for a service wash does it ?

You sly old fox

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You are well acquainted with that part of town antony but you're not too clued up on cars, mine is a Toyota...not a Mazda.

 

I don't think my heels were too high and the makeup might have been slightly over the top but you seemed to have enjoyed the experience.

 

Oh !! thanks for the large tip, I'm just wondering what to do with a long length of scaffolding pole....

 

Hah !! I have an idea, will you be in the same place same time next week? :D

 

Davina

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