Technical Information And Manuals
We are often asked on UK Whitegoods for specific service information which we are unable to give out and people can get frustrated by this. Hopefully this article will explain why
A few years ago it was decided in Brussels that, as a blanket rule, technical information could not be handed out legally unless someone was deemed to be "competent" in the eyes of the law. This led to manufacturers not giving out technical information even to members of the trade and in fact, even service agents could, in some cases, only get the information from a person within the manufacturer that was insured to give the information out.
Why It Is This Way
Well, even on UK Whitegoods we've seen tales of injury and death from people that are determined to "have a go" despite having no knowledge whatsoever of an appliance. Quite how it affects other industries I'm not sure, but when it comes to safety on that level it is quite right that diligence is required where people's health or safety is put at risk.
What you have to consider is that we have no way to ascertain that the person we are advising by phone or over the internet is actually competent to carry out the repairs safely and, remember, with virtually every appliance you are working with 240V - IT CAN KILL!
We cannot be aware if the person is colourblind and unable to see the colours on wiring correctly, is the person dyslexic and wires a terminal incorrectly, we cannot tell if the person is in some way handicapped and not physically able to lift out a tub group and so on. So the rule that is applied is that if we cannot see that a person is totally competent, i.e. working within the industry, then there will come a point where we are not able to assist any further.
How Do You Define Competent
A good question and one that is left with very vague answers.
The general acceptance of "competent" is someone that works in the industry and that has experience of appliances on the whole. Whilst other similar trades often try to say that they are competent and have experience with similar devices this is really not relevant. After all, an appliance engineer is hardly liable to attempt rewiring a house or a car just because he works with wire is he? In short, unless experience within the trade can be proved we will not be able to give out absolute specific information.
We can't do that because, due to the changes in the law, the person giving that advice is held personally responsible in law but there are also possibly obvious implications for the company that he represents as well.
We do get around this to a large extent by assuming a basic working knowledge of mechanics and electrics by most people posting and we can steer you in the right direction most of the time. What we can't do is explain the job down to the last screw, nut and bolt that has to be undone to access a component.
But when the guys tell you that it's time to get an engineer they do mean it and they are telling you that for a good reason, not just because they feel like it!
Had you seen some of the things that we do in our working lives and some of the stunts that people pull to avoid calling an engineer you'd know exactly why we support the notion of safety. It's not for our benefit, it's to make sure you and your family stay alive, well and safe.
Service Manuals For Domestic Appliances
Due to all of this and the "blame and claim" culture that we appear to be living in these days, service manuals, even if they are available cannot be freely handed out to members of the public.
But, although you may struggle to believe this, in a great many cases service manuals just don't exist. More often than not we get a parts list and a wiring diagram, that's it! Even those we can't hand out due this nonsensical situation and even if we were allowed to we still have the issue of copyright to contend with.
What we can and, do, is to offer generic instruction as best we can as it's all we are allowed to do.