I’m with Which?

Managing director of the KBBG Bill Miller

17 May, 18

The stance from Which? to ban plastic-backed refrigeration, stating current safety regulations are inadequate, and counter attack from AMDEA saying the Consumer Association is causing unnecessary fear and alarm is interesting.

Which? is such a respected body in the marketplace, the industry would be well recommended to listen to what it has to say.

I can’t take issue with what Which? is saying, as I think it’s pretty much been proven plastic-backed fridges aren’t good, however you look at it, even as a potential risk.

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I’m in the Which? camp.

I would have thought if we can get to the point where there is no plastic-backed refrigeration; it’s got to be a good thing for the market…surely?

Yes, there’s a cost in changing production and I know some manufacturers are probably sourcing their refrigeration, through third party manufacturers, but even so it should be something they are insisting upon.

If we all set an industry goal of not having plastic-backed refrigeration for sale by the end of the year, that should give manufacturers enough time to get rid of stocks and use up any stock on the shelf.

Recall needs organisation

Now I’ve no expertise in this area, at all, but the recall scenario seemed so fragmented. There doesn’t appear to be one body which takes charge when there is a problem with appliances in the market.

But I do think it needs to be a bit more organised and a bit more structured when there is a problem.

Because some of these challenges that certain brands have had with certain appliances – refrigeration and tumble dryers – just seem to drag on and on. Ultimately it doesn’t do the industry any good, as a whole.

Consumers are bombarded with consumer rights TV programmes and constantly hear about problems with appliances.  I don’t think it represents the industry well, as it looks slow to respond and chaotic.

Brands making comeback

We do need some positive PR about appliances, after all the bad news there’s been.

There are appliance brands who want to have resurgence in the kitchen market and see our buying group as part of the story to engage with kitchen specialists.

I had a meeting with a brand who asked how it should go about re-entering the kitchen market and what kitchen specialists expect of a brand.

This could be offering products just for kitchen showrooms, extended after-sales guarantees, dedicated sales team for kitchen specialists and a focus on independents in terms of marketing, such as cookery demos in the studio.

Of course, equally important are brands doing what they say they’re going to do. Often they are very good at communicating a game plan but then the independents find the reality doesn’t match.

But I thought it was quiet refreshing. I think it just shows how brands are looking at the channels they are working in. It shows brands are prepared to listen.