Availability of appliance replacement parts after stop selling model

Hi, seeking advice/knowledge on what is an acceptable period for a manufacturer of household appliances to hold replacement spare parts in stock after they stop selling a model. I have a ~5yr old standalone oven/stove from Fisher Paykel which has a faulty part but is out of warranty. Fisher Paykel have advised they no longer stock the $15 and $70 parts the F&P serviceman needs to fix the problem. They told me their policy is to only stock replacement parts 4yrs after they stop selling the model. (Note: I have called spare parts sellers in Aust, NZ, US and searched internet and could only find the $70 part to buy). They have told me the only remedy is to buy a new one from them at a discount price. This does not sound right for a $5k oven! Do I have any rights here? Also, this is a terrible environmental policy - trashing a perfectly good $5k oven because I cant get a $15 part! There must be a better way!!!

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Hi @smjohnson13, welcome to the community.

The Australian Consumer Law more or less states that when a consumer buys a product, the manufacturer or importer must provide spare parts and repair facilities for a reasonable time after purchase.

A mid range oven like F&P would expect to have a life of around 15 years. One would hope that some replacement parts would be available for most of the oven’s life.

We had a F&P oven in our last house and found that while F&P don’t stock spares, there are some online spare parts companies that stock genuine and non-genuine F&P oven spares. As you now appear to know that parts which need replacing, it might be worth searching further yourself for the spares and then commissioning your own service agent to install them on your behalf.

Also, some of F&P parts are the same over a number of models (and even used by other manufacturers). We found this for their heating elements and some other parts. They just have different part numbers. It is worth investigating whether this is the case for parts you seek to see if they are alternatives which can be used.

The other question is is the oven still covered by the Consumer Guarantee under the Australian Consumer Law. This is different to manufacturer warranties and applies to products purchased in Australia:

As one could expect a mid range oven like F&P to have a relatively long life, a reasonable person may expect that the consumer guarantee still applies. In such case, F&P may be obliged under the Australian Consumer Law to provide a resolution to the dilemma you face. I would be formally writing to them advising that it is unacceptable that an oven which a reasonable person could expect to last in the order of 15 years, parts aren’t kept for more than 4 years. I would also be stating that since the oven is around 5 years old, a reasonable person would expect the oven to have a serviceable life, when maintained and repaired as necessary, of 15 years. I would also be asking for them for resolution under the Australian Consumer Law as it is unacceptable that the oven didn’t last as long as could be reasonably expected, and that F&P fails to keep parts for sufficient duration for a consumer to maintain their ovens to achieve a reasonable serviceable life. F&P contact details are here:

There are example letters you can use on the ACCC website.

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It’s worth reading

If the product has not reached its reasonable life, it’s failed to meet the consumer guarantee assured by Australian Consumer Law. There is the option to follow the Choice guide and raise a complaint with the retailer who you purchased the oven from. If they cannot provide a remedy through repair due to the lack of availability of spare parts it should not be your problem. It’s not the consumers problem to solve. It’s the legal responsibility of the retailer to remedy. It’s not limited by the initial product warranty.

If F&P cannot support a repair at the very least should you not be entitled to a pro-rata refund in the balance of the unused life of the oven? A refund you can use to purchase a replacement at your place of choosing.

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While I agree that F&P should carry spare inventory for a reasonable period, even if you write to them and complain they aren’t going to. I don’t know, but am guessing that they sell of their parts inventory to firms which specialise in providing replacement parts for a range of brands. Maybe this is why sometimes OEM parts are available from these suppliers when the OEMs don’t have them.

As @phb indicated, often parts are used by a number of brands. We had an oven that burnt out the top griller element. I searched on Google (use your preferred browser) in generic terms such as Fisher and Paykel {model} top griller element. I got back many elements which included our brand oven, and other brands in the list. I then cross-checked dimensions and connections with our old part to ascertain which items were compatible. After finding a few that looked like a perfect match to the OEM part, I bought one belonging to a completely different brand, and it fit and worked perfectly, AND was much cheaper than the OEM part which was no longer available. I replaced several bits like that until we decided it was time for a new oven.

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Thanks PHBand mark_m. That is really useful to read. I will be sending the letter - I’m just waiting on hopefully getting the purchase receipts as the oven came as part of a renovation by the previous owners just prior my buying the house. I’ve also been on social media (Trust Pilot, Product Review, Google Reviews) and have had a request for my details… but no contact from them or response to my emails. My next step is the letter once I have that receipt (hopefully).

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Hi Meltam - I have searched the internet for hte parts (it took them two weeks to give me the part numbers). I even rang places across Australia, US and NZ and could find one of the parts, but not the second one. I rang second-hand appliance spare parts and even rang some “experience” appliance repairers to see if they could gimmy something up but all attempts failed. I am not handy enough to do myself, and could not find someone willing enough to do it. My last option is airtasker, but this just seems ridiculous! It is 5yrs old!

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Can’t speak to consumer grade appliances, but I ran a business unit for a large computer company, which included engineering service. Our policy was full service for any model - including stocking parts to meet service level times - until 7 years after the model run out announcement. These were for machines that run 24*7 rather than light duty domestic service.

F&P is a Chinese brand these days, and may not have the same levels of support as the original company had. They bought the brand and its reputation for quality. IIRC it’s now owned by Haier. Still, it shouldn’t make any difference. The spares policy is a management decision.

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I guess the issue comes down to a change in world view. It used to be that businesses had pride in their brands and saw holding stock of replacement parts as an integral part of their brand’s long-term reliability. Nowdays the holding of replacement parts stock is seen as an undesirable cost that needs to be minimised to the absolute minimum.

To quote from a long forgotten TV show: “Never mind the quality, feel the width”, seems to be a widespread manufacturing mantra.

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It is not just parts for superseded products.

I am currently dealing with a warranty repair where there is no disagreement it failed under warranty. The product remains on sale and in stock; it is a Choice recommended product exclusive to Sydney Tools. The product has been awesome - until it failed. The repair has been underway for 8 weeks. The last words were that a part is being imported in a container shipment to minimise their costs.

The only dispute is what is a ‘reasonable time’ to repair per the ACL. The retailer has so far taken the position whatever time is required to get the part is reasonable; my position is they should replace the unit now. They understand the Consumer Law and know they have no down-side to taking as long as it takes regardless whether the repair time may not be ‘reasonable’, whatever that undefined term means.

FWIW Sydney Tools has a fairy ordinary reputation on productreview, apparently weighted by post-sales experiences.

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It’s a good point you raise. I have to admit I dont put too much focus as a consumer on this aspect> Never thought about it before. F&P holding replacement parts for only 4yrs should be considered a key part of the durability of a product. In talking to the many spare parts places, companies such as Westinghouse and Bosch were constantly identified as holding replacement stock for at least 10yrs. That comes at a cost to those companies, to the benefit of the consumer. It will definitely be a consideration for future purchases.

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I really feel like so many companies are hiding behind the “supply chain issues” as a result of Covid to reduce their costs. In talking to a friend who is a solicitor, he basically said Consumer Law in Australia does not protect the consumer. Basically lesser companies know they dont have to do anything until you send them a letter with a legal header (ie. $$$$). In most cases it is just not worth it to the consumer, and they know that.

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