- vzbv analysis shows that high costs are the main factor deterring consumers from getting smartphones repaired.
- To lighten the financial burden, vzbv calls for a repair bonus and lower VAT for repair services.
- A repair index must also show the cost of repairs.
Research by the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband – vzbv) shows that common repairs for smartphones are relatively expensive. This is particularly the case with respect to cheaper models. A forsa survey commissioned by vzbv confirms that high costs are the main reason people do not get their phone repaired. vzbv thus calls for a repair bonus and lower VAT for repair services.
Ramona Pop, Executive Director of vzbv, says, “Repairs have to make financial sense to be seen as a good option for broken devices. vzbv thus calls for a repair bonus as a form of financial support. Reducing VAT might also help to lower the cost of repairs. Above all, we need a repair index so consumers can easily see how well and for what price a device can be repaired. Such an index might also encourage competition among manufacturers to put models on the market that are easily and affordably repaired.”
According to a representative forsa survey commissioned by vzbv, 47 percent of the smartphone owners surveyed whose device had been affected by a fault in the last 24 months chose not to get it repaired. Almost half of them (49 percent) stated it would have been too expensive. Furthermore, comparing the survey results with a market check showed that the average cost of replacing a battery or broken screen is indeed often considerably more than consumers are willing to pay.
Consumers may have to compare numerous prices and service providers to find an offer that justifies repairing their phone rather than buying a new one.
vzbv conducted a market check to compare smartphone repair prices with the cost of buying a new phone. The research shows that repairs often only make financial sense with respect to more expensive devices.
Major price differences exist, above all, among smartphones in the mid-range category of 300 to 600 euros. In the worst-case scenario consumers have to pay more to repair such phones than they would for a new device. For example, the most expensive quote to repair a broken screen amounted to 107 percent of the original phone price. In other words, at an original price of 345 euros, repairing the screen would have cost 369 euros.
Note on survey method
Telephone survey (CATI Bus). Population: German-speaking persons aged 18 and over living in private households in Germany. Sample size: 1,500 respondents. Statistical error tolerance: max. +/− 3 percentage points in the total sample. Survey period: 18 to 21 July 2022. Institute: forsa.
You can find more detailed information on the method used to research repair costs below.