AirTalk®

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France battles so-called planned obsolescence of consumer appliances

by AirTalk®

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Customers look at Maytag and Whirlpool washers and dryers July 18, 2005 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The joke goes if you want to know how long your new TV, phone or dishwasher will last, just check the warranty’s expiration.

Not so in France, where a new law mandates manufacturers to inform consumers how long their electronic appliances will last and how long repair parts will be made available. The decree aims to fight so-called planned obsolescence - when companies design strategies to limit the lifespan of appliances, so that consumers have to buy new ones.

Vendors say new product designs are not a conspiracy of planned obsolescence, simply advances in designs of parts such as tamper-proof screws and sealed-in batteries. Next year, the French government might up the ante by forcing manufacturers to repair products that break within two years of purchase.

What frustrations in time-sensitive design and manufacturing have you encountered?

Guests:

Drew Prindle, Writer for DigitalTrends.com news and review site focused on technology

James Moore, Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering

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