Consumer NZ launches repairability index after Kiwis give up on fixing phones

Consumer NZ is now considering the repairability of mobile phones when it conducts product tests. 

It follows new research by the watchdog which found most people aren't bothering to fix their faulty phones and rather replacing them with new ones. 

Once upon a time, mobile phones looked a lot like indestructible bricks but nowadays they're much sleeker, shinier and thinner. They also seem much easier to break. 

"Gone are the days when you would walk into a shop and you could buy a battery and rip off the back and put a new one in to your phone, now it is quite an involved process," technician Ethan Brinkman told Newshub. 

Brinkman fixes mobile phones for a living and said it's often new model phones. 

"Typical issues are broken screens, broken phone backs, broken or dying batteries in need of replacements," Brinkman said. 

New research by Consumer NZ has found one in 20 mobile phones develop a fault before the five-year mark.

Less than half of serious faults are fixed because people find it too complex to do on their own or it's expensive to repair.  

"So often people will just default to replacing the product with a new one, instead of repairing it and that's not a good example to set for the planet and also it hits the back pocket worse," Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy told Newshub.

So the watchdog is now scoring mobile phones with a percentage value depending on how easily they are repaired. 

"Basically, it looks at a number of factors that suggest how repairable a phone is," Duffy said. 

And while Kiwis may naturally assume paying more for a phone means better durability, Duffy said that's not always the case. 

"Our research has found it's not necessarily the most expensive phone that is most repairable," he told Newshub. 

"So the iPhone 13 for example doesn't rate as highly as other mobile phones in the repairability index." 

So the next time you're in the market for a new phone, you may want to check out Consumer's rating on its repairability.