Just spent a small fortune on that smart appliance? It could turn 'dumb' within 2 years
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London - With intelligent features which allow users to control them from a phone, smart appliances have become all the rage with tech-savvy homeowners.
But a probe has now found many of the fridges, dishwashers and tumble dryers are dumped after as little as two years because of security fears.
The problem stems from the fact users need to share personal information with the machines, making them vulnerable to hackers.
They need software updates to stay secure but, with some manufacturers stopping these after a few years, many end up in landfill even though they still work.
Standard machines typically last ten years. Smart appliances can cost far more than standard versions – £855 (about R18 000) more on average for a fridge-freezer, for example. The investigation by consumer group Which? found makers are unclear how long they will offer updates.
When asked, Samsung would only say "a minimum of two years", while BSH – which produces Bosch, Neff and Siemens appliances – said it would be difficult to commit to a specific length of time.
LG and Whirlpool also failed to confirm how long they would offer support, while Beko said "a maximum of ten years". German brand Miele was the only one to commit to a ten-year guarantee.
Natalie Hitchins of Which? said: "Being able to check the contents of your fridge from your smartphone or having your dishwasher order itself more salt when it runs low may seem appealing, but these features don’t come cheap.
"Until manufacturers are clear and upfront about how long they will support these products, consumers could be better off avoiding smart appliances that might turn 'dumb' after only a few years and stick to more reliable non-smart alternatives."