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Article - Toss it or Fix it? (continued)

In many cases it's even tough to find repairs for the items.

Products in the survey of 2,300 subscribers included desktop and laptop computers, digital camcorders and cameras, DVD players, televisions, lawn tractors and riding mowers, refrigerators, ranges, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes dryers and vacuum cleaners.

Consumer Reports published its repair-vs.-replace findings along with recycling information, repair-or-replace timelines for the products, help with making the repair-or-replace decision, preventive maintenance tips and reliability levels by product and brands.

Based on Consumer Reports' survey and research it says:

  • Toss broken products that are out of warranty or more than three years old - or complain to the manufacturer. Ten percent of those surveyed got results when they complained, even if the product was out of warranty.
  • Repair problems are common. Appliance repairs were more likely to take, but for 24 percent of all wall-oven work, replacement parts were hard to find. Electronics and lawn equipment repairs were more problematic. Nearly half of all digital cameras took more than two weeks to repair, but then 43 percent said the repairs cost too much, a higher percentage than with any other product. Nearly a third, 31 percent, of desktop computer repairs were botched the first time or the machines didn't work well after the repair work.
  • Broken analog camcorders got tossed more often than any other item - 81 percent of owners tossed them because service people couldn't repair them.
  • Half of consumers either didn't bother with repairs or quit in the process.
  • Twenty percent of the time, product owners gave up on the repair process, typically because the cost was just not worth it.
  • Fourteen percent of those surveyed gave up on the repair process because they felt the ordeal would be too inconvenient. Among those who succumbed to having products repaired, 16 percent found the process was very inconvenient.
  • Repair costs have stabilized but new product prices have dropped substantially, explaining, in part, why more items are discarded.

Copyright © 2005 Realty Times. All rights reserved. 9/24/05


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