The repairability index is misleading, the scores are way too high

The repairability index has just blown out its first candle. The opportunity for the association HOP (Stop the planned obsolescence) to take stock of this measure. Unsurprisingly, HOP points out many inconsistencies and gives ways to make this score more effective and above all more reliable.

As you may know, France has introduced the repairability index since January 1, 2021. Taking the form of a score out of ten points, this score provides information to consumers on the repairability of a product. This score is based on several criteria such as the quality and clarity of the documentation provided, the ease of repair, the availability and price of spare parts or the ratio between the most expensive spare part and the selling price of the product.

For the moment, the repairability index covers only five product categories, namely smartphones, televisions, laptops, lawn mowers and washing machines. One year after its entry into force, the HOP association for Stopping planned obsolescence has just drawn up an initial assessment.

The HOP association takes stock of the repairability index

To do this, the organization analyzed a database containing more than 2000 repairability scores in order to assess the current deployment of the index, examine the clarity of the spreadsheet and check whether the ratings given by the manufacturers are representative of the products.

And indeed, one of the main pitfalls highlighted by HOP is the inconsistency of certain notes. As part of this study, HOP carried out a counter-expertise of six products, namely three smartphones, two laptops and a TV. With the exception of one product, the scores obtained by HOP are lower to those given by the manufacturers (it is the manufacturers themselves who calculate the repairability index of their products).

According to HOP, manufacturers have overvalued the availability of spare parts and the quality of the documentation provided. For example, HOP gave the rating of 5.8/10 to the iPhone 7 Plus against 6.4/10 according to the Apple brand. Same observation at Samsung, with a score that goes from 8/10 to 6.6/10 for HOP. The good score of Vivo Y21s of 7/10 must also be questioned, in the sense that the manufacturer does not offer any spare parts for sale…

Read also: Repairability index – 8 months after its launch, it is struggling to convince the French

HOP calls for more transparency and independent controls

Faced with these discrepancies, the association asks the establishment of an independent control ratings, to ensure that manufacturers do not inflate their ratings. According to her, this difficulty in identifying the most repairable products is accentuated by lack of discrimination between scores. Indeed, devices with a bad repairability index are rather marginal. This implies two things:

  • Either the products are mostly easily repairable (which is not the case according to HOP)
  • Either the current calculation grid fails to establish sufficiently large differences between products and is not strict enough towards bad students

For more transparency, HOP suggests the creation of a public website to list the scores of the different repairability indices and details of the calculation grids. Furthermore, the organization would also like the rating system to be reviewed and points out the weighting of the criteria. In their eyes, the system is biased in the sense that a device that obtains an appalling mark in dismantling or in the availability of spare parts (synonymous with impossible repair) could very well display a good repairability index by having good marks on other criteria. In other words, the final index poorly reflects the faults of the product.

In short, this report addresses requests for clarification as well as recommendations to the French authorities, on the one hand to strengthen the index and its ambition and on the other hand to help them target certain parameters as a priority during the essential controls which should be done”, concludes HOP.

Source: HOP

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