Income-related prices for repair of digital equipment


Nowadays one cannot avoid the use of digital equipment such as a smartphone, PC, laptop or tablet. That’s fine until owning becomes very pricey because the lifespan of these devices is too short for the small purse. Ignoring is not an option because that automatically means permanent (digital) exclusion. After all, equipment works on a strict ‘I do or I don’t‘ basis.

This leads to a great need for repairs & maintenance, just like flora, but digitally. But whether this is affordable for the small pursue long-term is debatable.

The problem

What it’s all about are the rates. Both the hourly and product rates. It is great that the equipment is advanced today but also very fragile. This fragility will only increase in the future because sustainability seems to be a neglected topic in product development.

In short, because human lives are becoming increasingly digitized, the loss of this equipment has ever greater consequences. As an example:

  • No longer being able to log in to financial service providers due to PSD2 rules (two-step verification)

  • Much more difficult to no longer being able to apply for a job

  • No access to medical appointments & reports (including patient portals)

  • Not being able to do training or receive all study-related guidance (homework, study materials, communication with teacher)

The list above is only a fraction of which one experiences very unpleasant consequences if the equipment stops working (temporarily)

What happens now by default?

Consuming, in the form of buying something new because a repair in the Netherlands is often just as expensive as something new. Or if a repair is carried out that can often take many hours, which also costs a lot of money. If this is a one-off, it is probably still possible to cough up. But people often have a lot more equipment and there is a good chance that a number of things will break down once in a while.

To keep up, this drives blind consumption of digital equipment and not everyone can keep up with that trend.

The solution

There is an increasing push for digitization and the associated continuation of digital equipment. Governments and sizeable companies can easily meet this financially and that there is an offer from IT & ICT companies that monitor 24/7 or run a stand-by breakdown service.

However, for many individuals this is a completely different story. We recommend that repair companies for digital equipment arise that specifically focus on private individuals, where they pay an income-related contribution for the hours & materials. This is necessary because individuals, especially people in the minima have no other reliable direct means of solving it.

It is not a waterproof plan yet, but the seed has been planted with this one.

The conclusion

Today the Dutch require a lot of digital equipment to meet their obligations. Sometimes something breaks and needs to be repaired. This creates a higher financial pressure that not everyone can easily meet.

Since there are no repair companies for digital equipment operating on an income-related pricing basis, there is an unfulfilled gap here.


Time: 4.5 hours
Written by: Mariƫlle Pax & Robert Velhorst