Planned Obsolescence

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Definition of 'Planned Obsolescence'

Planned obsolescence is a business strategy that involves intentionally designing or engineering products to fail or become obsolete after a certain period of time. This can be done through a variety of means, such as using cheap materials, making products difficult to repair, or creating software that becomes outdated quickly.

Planned obsolescence is often used to encourage consumers to buy new products more frequently. For example, a company that makes cell phones might release a new model every year, even if the old model is still functional. This can lead to consumers spending more money on new products than they need to.

Planned obsolescence can also have negative environmental consequences. When products are designed to fail, they often end up in landfills, where they can take hundreds of years to decompose. This can contribute to pollution and climate change.

There are a number of laws and regulations that aim to prevent planned obsolescence. In the United States, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act requires manufacturers to provide a warranty for their products. This law also prohibits manufacturers from making false or misleading claims about their products.

In the European Union, the Consumer Rights Directive requires manufacturers to provide information about the lifespan of their products. This directive also prohibits manufacturers from making false or misleading claims about their products.

Despite these laws and regulations, planned obsolescence remains a problem. Consumers can protect themselves from planned obsolescence by doing their research before buying a product. They should also be aware of the environmental impact of their purchases.

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