Scrap or repair?

Scrap or repair?

I recently bought a table lamp for my home office from a major Swiss online retailer. The lamp, costing 75 CHF, was likely not adequately packed, resulting in the power cable being nearly severed during transit. Additionally, the lamp base had a small dent with some chipped paint:

I used the customer portal to report the defect for either repair or replacement. Almost simultaneously, I received an email containing the following message:

We will gladly issue a credit note for the defective item. In this case, it is not necessary to return the defective item to us. We ask you to recycle it.

A practical solution, but discarding the nearly operational lamp simply because the cord is severed? That doesn't sit right with me.

To preserve the lamp, I had to detach the main switch, which was securely attached to the cable, along with the faulty section of the cable. Next, I connected the two ends of the cable to a new switch. Miraculously, the lamp now functions perfectly! To ensure it retained its original appearance, I carefully reshaped the lamp base back to its original form using pliers.

Since then, I've been enjoying the new lamp, which cost me less than 5 CHF, including the replacement switch and some consumables for cable assembly (not counting the half hour I spent).

And question what sort of twisted economy this is, where a brand-new product with a minor defect is more economically viable in the trash than being used for years after a repair.

I understand that the expense involved in returning, repairing, and reshipping the lamp outweighs its purchase price. However, does this rationalize the inefficiency and environmental impact associated with the product?

What about an alternative concept?

In a similar scenario, retail businesses could direct customers to one of the numerous Repair Cafes for repairs. If the repair is successful, the amount could be donated to the Repair Cafe instead of issuing a credit note.

Home - Repair Café
Möchtest du etwas reparieren lassen? Auf findest Du Informationen zu den Repair Cafés in der Schweiz.

In this scenario, the expense for the retailer would remain the same, ensuring customer satisfaction while allowing the defective product to be refurbished by a volunteer for reuse.