Big win for cash-strapped mobile phone customers

 

Exclusive: Consumers could soon see themselves making significant savings by being able to repair faulty items such as smartphones at a much more competitive cost.

Many shoppers can be left severely out of pocket because they are unable to get items such as a faulty mobile phone and other electronic devices fixed for a reasonable charge.

There are about 18 million smartphones in Australia and many end up in the scrap heap if they cannot be repaired.

The Federal Government is on Thursday announcing the terms of reference for the Productivity Commission's Right to Repair inquiry.

It could result in changes to ensure big manufacturers like Apple and Samsung be required to make complex products such as tablets and smartphones able to be repaired more easily.

Many shoppers can be left severely out of pocket due to phone repairs.
Many shoppers can be left severely out of pocket due to phone repairs.

Consumers' Federation of Australia's chairman Gerard Brody said the inquiry was a great result for consumers who need greater powers to conduct repairs if something does go wrong.

"If something you own breaks, you should be able to fix it," he said.

"Too often, manufacturers use tactics to block independent repair because they want people to have to come back to them to do repairs.

"Sometimes manufacturers charge an arm and a leg, and other times, they try to push customers into upgrades."

Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said about 33 per cent of Australians have their mobile phones repaired and fixing devices was becoming more popular instead of replacing them.

"It is expected the number of people reusing devices will increase over time as younger Australians are more likely to repair and purchase second-hand phones," he said.

"The inquiry will consider a range of issues impacting the Australian repair market including potential barriers and enablers of greater competition."

The inquiry will consider issues impacting the Australian repair market including potential barriers and enables for greater competition.

The inquiry is a great result for consumers who need greater powers when it comes to repairs.
The inquiry is a great result for consumers who need greater powers when it comes to repairs.

Mr Sukkar said it would promote competition in the repair market and help "extend product life and reduce e-waste".

In 2018 the Federal Court of Australia fined Apple $9 million for refusing to fix iPhones and iPads that had been serviced by third parties.

Mobile phone recycling service Mazuma Mobile's managing director, Aid Rawlins, welcomed the inquiry.

"It's about time there was a fair and level playing field in the right to repair," he said.

"Reuse is a very important part of the circular economy which extends product life and reduces e-Waste.

"Without a right to repair the circular economy and consumer rights suffer, however quality and safety standards must be met by reputable third parties."

The inquiry will undertake public consultation including with state and territory governments and hand down it's report within 12 months.

sophie.elsworth@news.com.au

@sophieelsworth

 

 

 

Originally published as Big win for cash-strapped mobile phone customers