CHOICE membership

General suggestion(s) for the way Choice tests

testing

#1

Replacement Parts Cost

Reading the different threads, one thing that strikes me is people discussing the cost of replacement parts for their purchases. Often, there are no generic replacements, only OEM parts which are outrageously expensive.

I suspect that many items have frequent/common points of failure. Choice testing staff and others can help list many many more than the print heads in inkjet printers, or the thermostats in hot water tanks.

Choice also does the reliability survey(s), but this does not give any indication of how much it costs to keep our purchases working when they fail after warranty runs out; IF the parts are at all available.

While I understand that Choice tests products ‘as purchased’, is it about time to embrace ‘real life’ where people often repair their purchases rather than throwing them out? Choice already takes into account the cost of consumables, so why not this?

I would suggest that when there are known common points of failure for a product category, the replacement price of these be included in the whole of life cost calculations.


#2

Maybe we could start talking about or listing the products we have that have lasted the test of time. What better way to test the longevity of a product than ask the Choice community :slight_smile:

Personally, I have Rayban sunglasses that have lasted me 10 years with no issues, my fisher & paykal washing machine and dryer lasted 20 years before we had to replace… once you look around your place you start to see the products you still have that are still going strong.


#3

I’ll need to make a counterpoint about how difficult that might be to research and report, and note that most products are pretty reliable these days. Further many modern products are not made to be repaired and even when they are, the labour is often as much or more than the over the top priced parts (when available). caveat: I have repaired a number of non-repairable products in recent years, but I doubt the average consumer would do the same. ‘We’ are probably special in that regard :slight_smile:

How would that be applied to the comparatively small numbers of failures for whole of life costs for all products in consumers hands? (short version) How would those parts be identified for each product? eg print heads for each printer could be a nightmare to identify re part number and some manufacturers keep parts prices close to their vests because they will fix it for a set price, but will not sell parts at prices that make sense, only at prices that encourage us to buy a new product.

As companies are bought and sold, and their supply and manufacturing moves from place to place under different design and engineering criteria, a product that is even a few years old often has no bearing on a new one.

In the 1950s products were built to be repaired and to last, but our need for new and modern and what technology has added, and their need for selling (planned obsolescence) seem to have met in the marketplace. So here we are with many products being non-repairable in a practical sense, not counting the typical service rep only knows how to consult the database and replace the part, not troubleshoot why it might have failed.

Maybe a tad silly of an analogy, but just because Holden’s could be fixed with some tape, a hammer, and screwdriver in 1950 has no bearing on a modern fully imported modern ‘Holden’.


#4

Thanks for the discussion all, we’re listening to your comments.


#5

Alternately is it practicable for there to be commentary for each product type or brands sevicability and support?

1/ for some products the simple statement might be that post warranty the supplier does not provide a repair service or parts. Eg a $10 toaster or kettle element might fail - however knowing there is no support after warranty accept this product is one way to recycling if it fails.
Or
2/ this brand has a commitment to providing spare parts and repair services through xyz. Applies only to select items. Eg has cooktop brand abc, burner assemblies, replacement lpg/ng jets, igniter blocks and lamps. It would be useful to know when you buy products like a cooktop that are expect to last a decade or more that a corroded burner or failed flame detector does not consign it to the scrap heap, notably if it is a $2,000 Luxury brand, but not so much if it cost $100 at Bunnings. Providing you know up front. Of course spare parts promises and politicians promises come from the same source.
And
3/ it would be fortuitous if Choice could tap into pricing and availability of spares, assuming you know what is likely to be required. I just assume they will be over priced and hard to get unless you can convert the Aussie model number to the US or European one and hit eBay. Perhaps we should be asking for a parts listing with the OEM part numbers instead with each review?

It’s a great topic as I just priced a new tire and rim for the ride on. You can buy one 10 days minimum as not stock from the distributor for $360. Alternate supply a tire costs around $120 which is also crazy, but that leaves the 20cm wheel rim at $240 each. Two complete rims and tyres eBay in USA go new for just over $300 Aussie plus shipping which is not available to here of course!


#6

I agree, but some parts wear out or corrode and have to be replaced because the cost of replacing the item is relatively high.

Firstly, let me say that I know that not all products fail, but sometimes some products seem to have a flaw, a weak point, or in inbuilt obsolescence.

[Off the general point I am trying to make, but an example of this weakness/flaw is with the most popular brand of pool thermal blankets in Australia. The manufacturer recommends keeping the chlorine levels at a point below that which is healthy for a pool in the warmer parts of Australia. If the pool blanket breaks down within the stated warranty period, they disown the failure if the chlorine levels are above their recommended level.]

I think that 1. this forum is a great source of information, and 2. expanding each section of the annual Choice reliability survey to ask if your product failed, what failed? How much did it cost to repair (if you remember)?

It would certainly entail more research work for Choice. For example with print heads, suppliers should be asked what the life of a printer head is, and for the cost of a replacement for each printer reviewed. If this was done, & Choice published these expected lifespans and prices as part of the printer cost, it might encourage manufacturers & suppliers to reduce the replacement costs.

Also as @mark_m suggested an indication of each brand’s commitment to supplying spares may extend the lifetime of products which otherwise may have to be dumped.

All in all, I think that there is a moral imperative to Choice expanding it’s role from just reviewing new to looking at the whole of life for products it recommends.