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GBP 1.4 billion wasted on broken consumer goods yearly

We’re no longer thrifty. On the contrary, we’re rather nifty at throwing away electrical goods when they break. With more than GBP 1.4 billion worth of items breaking or damaged every year, Britain’s throwaway culture can lead to unwarranted expense, according to a survey from Teleplan.
Aftermarket service solution provider, Teleplan, says that Britain is becoming a throwaway society as consumers shun repairs to broken phones, TVs, kettles, laptops, tablets and consumer electricals.

According to its latest survey, almost two-thirds of the 500 respondents (68.8%) had experienced at least one breakage of an electrical item during the last two years. More than one-in-five (22.8%) Brits appear to be especially accident prone, having broken between two to four devices every year.

Interestingly enough, rather than opt for a quick and simple repair, most broken items ended up in the bin – even those with a relatively high value – adding up to the equivalent of more that GBP 1.4 billion of replacement goods every year.

GBP 1.4 billion figure arrived at from the following breakdown: There are 26.4 million households in the UK. Of these, 31.2% of the Teleplan survey said they had no breakages, leaving a sample size of 18.2 million households. If these experience, on average, one damaged item per year, with an average replacement value of GBP 78.5, this equates to over GBP 1.4 billion a year.

Although most people admitted breakages were their fault (24.6%), they were also quick to place the blame on other family members. One-in-five (20%) said their children were at fault, partners were accountable for 12.8% and even family pets were responsible for 7.4% of damages.

Sven Boddington, Vice President, Global Marketing and Client Solutions at Teleplan said: “The results of the survey surprised us. Rather than in the thrifty post-war era, we are now seeing a generation of ‘Binsters’, those who believe broken goods are only fit for the trash. Not only does the throwaway mentality add to the e-waste problem, it ignores the consumer rights that many have to protect them from damaged or faulty items.”

Almost half (48.3%) of those with damaged devices said they weren’t worth replacing. Another 10.2% said they couldn’t be bothered to pay or claim for a repair and 34.3% said they went and bought a replacement device. Almost 1-in-20 respondents with damaged devices (4.9%) were covered by a warranty but still didn’t claim for a replacement, whilst an industrious group opted for the ‘patch it and see’ approach (8.4%) with their own DIY repairs.

In fact, for those that had taken the care to protect their items under a manufacturers’ warranty (of between one to three years), only one-in-four (23.8%) people had claimed when the item broke.


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