The European consumer organizations, including Test-Aankoop, demand that the legal guarantee for electronic appliances gets extended to 5 years: "It is the only way to fight the artificial aging of products."
Plenty of consumer complaints
Washing machines or refrigerators barely manage to last three years nowadays, with printers and smartphones breaking down even faster. Radio 1 program Hautekiet allowed listeners to weigh in with their stories after the story that Test-Aankoop will examine the conscious wear-down phenomenon.
That will be an expensive and time-consuming task, as "artificial aging" is difficult to prove, according to Test-Aankoop's Ivo Mechels on Twitter. "You do not see them often, with manufacturers saying that they produce more cheaply because consumers are so price-conscious, but in the end the consumer has to pay more if his washing machine only lasts a few years.
"That is why we want some security in place and to lengthen the legal guarantee from 2 to 5 years", a demand Test-Aankoop shares with other organizations. "Every European consumer organization thinks alike and we hope that Europe will create a new guideline. Right now, it is at two years and it should be longer."
No political agreement
Ivo Mechels has a supporter in Minister of Consumer Affairs, Johan Vande Lanotte: "A 5 year guarantee is in our election program, but there is no consensus in the government so far", his spokesperson Els Bruggeman confirmed to Het Nieuwsblad.
"We have worked on being able to enforce the guarantee, which is why we have made sure that every mediation office in one single office which will become operation on 1 January. It will also tackle complaints on the refusal to adhere to the guarantee. We also want to enable group claims, because a consumer will not go to court for a small sum, but it will become possible in group."