Protect Security and Safety in Appliance Repairs

An appliance that breaks down can bring serious inconvenience to your daily routine. A refrigerator that isn’t working properly could mean spoiled food. A malfunctioning heater or air conditioner can lead to discomfort or health issues. If a laundry appliance breaks, the clothes start to pile up.

Most consumers won’t hesitate to call a service provider when their appliances need repair or maintenance. But not all appliance repair services are created equal. Authorized service providers are specially trained to service specific appliance brands and models. This means they have the knowledge and access to the parts, technical information and, in some cases, software to safely fix what’s wrong with the appliance. Authorized service providers are also required to make repairs with parts and equipment that have been tested and meet rigorous safety and reliability requirements specified by manufacturers.

Manufacturers recognize the need for consumer flexibility and provide the resources and tools to ensure consumers have a wide range of options for appliance repair and maintenance. A nationwide network of more than 20,000 home appliance servicers and repair shops in the U.S. and 10,000 in Canada stands ready to serve consumers. Nearly 90 percent of them are local repair businesses that employ 10 or fewer employees. These repair professionals are trained by manufacturers and bound by state and federal certification and licensing laws to safely handle and repair appliances. Safety is appliance manufacturers’ top priority. Appliances are complex machines that use high currents of electricity, gas, high-speed motors and flammable refrigerants.  Given the growing complexity of appliances and the laws, regulations, building codes and safety standards that affect them, there are certain repairs that should only be performed by trained professionals. 

Home appliance manufacturers support the right of consumers to repair their own appliances when it is safe to do so. For consumers who wish to repair their own appliances, an AHAM member survey found that major appliance manufacturers make nearly 75 percent of replacement parts available. Parts that are not available typically relate to repairs that require specific expertise to be safely performed. In addition, many manufacturers provide owners of major, portable and floor care appliances with informational materials and troubleshooting guides available online and/or in owner’s manuals. AHAM members also offer portable and floor care appliance owners flexible repair options, including mail-in and drop-off services. 

Several U.S. states and Canadian provinces have considered legislation that would require appliance manufacturers to provide all service personnel with the same repair-related information, software and tools that they provide to authorized service providers. Four states - Minnesota, California, Oregon and Colorado - have passed laws establishing repair regulation that includes home appliances. AHAM opposes these bills, known as “fair repair” or “right to repair” legislation, as they would require manufacturers to release sensitive, proprietary information and potentially expose consumers to safety and security risks.

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