Why India needs Right to Repair: 1 in 2 households with less than 5-year-old devices or whitegoods & appliances say they are unable to get them repaired because of prohibitive costs
- ● 38% households have 3 or more whitegoods that are less than 5-year-old needing service or repair
- ● 43% have 3 or more devices that are less that are less than 5-year-old needing service or repair
- ● Nearly 1 in 2 consumers with such devices and whitegoods that are less than 5-year-old say they are unable to get them repaired through the brand at an economical price highlighting a strong need for Right to Repair law in India
July 16th, 2022, New Delhi: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs announced yesterday that it will soon create a framework for Right to Repair in India and has set up an expert panel. The objective is to bind manufacturers to give detailed drawings of their products while selling them so the consumers don’t remain dependent only on original manufacturers for aftersales service or repairs. The proposed framework will also ensure that spare parts for repairs are easily available which is one of the most common complaints of consumers when they approach manufacturers for gadget and white good repairs.
LocalCircles, in March 2022 after receiving hundreds of consumer complaints had conducted a survey which revealed that 1 in 2 Indian households were stuck with high value products and that redressal by brands was ineffective. This survey escalated to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs provided the first data point to understand the issue and drive policy intervention. As the Government looks at developing a framework, LocalCircles conducted a follow on survey over the last 45 days to understand in more detail the experience of consumers with device and whitegood repairs and the issues they face. The survey received more than 34,000 responses from 309 districts of India. 61% respondents were men while 39% respondents were women. 47% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2, and 22% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.
The survey found that 43% of the Indian households that participated had 3 or more devices at home that were less than 5-year-old and needed service or repair. Devices included any type of gadget like a laptop, desktop, smartphone, printer, tablet etc. Of this 43%, 23% of them had 6 or more such devices that needed repair while remaining 20% had 3-5 such devices.
43% Indian households have 3 or more devices or gadgets at home that are less than 5-year-old needing service or repair
When these consumers with 3 or more devices at home needing repair were asked about why they had not gotten their device repaired, 18% said they tried but the brand failed to deliver. 47% said that the cost of getting service or repair with the brand was prohibitive and bad economics and hence they didn’t. 10% of the consumers had other reasons while another 10% said that the process of coordinating service/repair with the brand was unclear. 5% of the consumers in the category said they “Did not want to go through the hassles of coordinating service/repair with the brand. 4% did not share their reason. The findings suggested that many Indian households buy new devices despite having a less than 5-year-old device at home because of broken after sale service economics and warranty/service/repair processes of brands.
Many households buy new devices (laptops, mobile, tablets, smartphones, others) despite having a less than 5-year-old device at home, because of broken after sale service economics and warranty/ service processes of brands
A similar scenario was found when household consumers were asked about whitegoods and appliances where the survey found that 38% of the Indian households surveyed have 3 or more appliances or whitegoods at home that are less than 5-year-old needing service or repairs. 18% of the households had 6 or more whitegoods and appliances while 20% had between 3-5 such whitegoods and appliances needing repair.
38% Indian households have 3 or more appliances or whitegoods at home that are less than 5-year-old needing service or repair
When these consumers with 3 or more appliances or whitegoods at home needing repair were asked about why they had not gotten them repaired, 21% said they tried but the brand failed to deliver. 48% said that the cost of getting service or repair with the brand was prohibitive and bad economics and hence they didn’t. 19% said that the process of coordinating with the brand was time-consuming or cumbersome and 6% of the consumers said that they either did not want to go through the hassles of coordinating with the brand, or the process was unclear. 4% did not share their reason. Once again, even in the appliances and whitegoods category, the findings suggested that many Indian households buy new appliances and white goods despite having a less than 5-year-old product at home because of broken after sale service economics and warranty/service/repair processes of brands.
Household buy new appliances and whitegoods despite having such products at home that are less than 5 years old, because of broken after-sale service and warranty, or because of service processes of brands
For both these categories of devices and whitegoods & appliances, 47% and 48% household consumers saying that it is not economical to repair the product currently with the way brands do it is a significant finding because it indicates that not only is this leading to consumers buying new replacement products and hence an impact on their household budgets but also that a lot of electronic and electrical wastage is getting created in the country. By giving consumers the right to repair, even if 50% of these devices were repaired economically, it would have a significant positive impact.
With the Ministry of Consumer Affairs announcing that it will create a framework to enable the right to repair in India, it is a start. The framework will need to not only require manufacturers to share detailed drawings upon product sales but also guarantee spare parts support for a period. From an industry standpoint, it has the potential to create new scalable business models around independent repairs of different categories of products. From a consumer standpoint, it will be empowerment and choices and above all from an environment standpoint, it will reduce the amount of e-waste we generate as a nation.
The survey received more than 34,000 responses from 309 districts of India. 61% respondents were men while 39% respondents were women. 47% respondents were from tier 1, 31% from tier 2, and 22% respondents were from tier 3, 4 and rural districts. The survey was conducted via LocalCircles platform and all participants are validated citizens who had to be registered with LocalCircles to participate in this survey.
LocalCircles, India’s leading Community Social Media platform enables citizens and small businesses to escalate issues for policy and enforcement interventions and enables Government to make policies that are citizen and small business centric. LocalCircles is also India’s # 1 pollster on issues of governance, public and consumer interest. More about LocalCircles can be found on https://www.localcircles.com
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