Action 2000 has joined calls for products at risk from the millennium bug to be sold with some form of guarantee for the consumer. Speaking Friday, Action 2000 managing director Gwynneth Flower said: "Companies should be able to state products are millennium capable and I would be very critical if they did not."
It follows criticism last week from the Consumers' Association, blaming companies' lack of public assurance for panic about the bug. Flower agreed public accountability has not yet been addressed and called on firms to give "an assurance to the public".
The call received a mixed reaction from electrical firms. A spokeswoman for Sony claimed all its products were compliant and did not need guarantees. Gill McLintock, product manager for TV rental firm Granada said: "It is not something we have done but if government and other bodies are calling for it, it is something we could look at. We are sure our videos are millennium compliant."
JVC is offering standard replies to any customers worried about products bought after 1989. Flower advised consumers to ask for millennium capability on receipts for products bought in the run-up to the millennium.
Robin Guenier, head of Taskforce 2000 believes it is time for bosses to take a firm stand. "The woolly answers given by the people who deal with the public suggests to me that those at the top are not getting involved," he said. "It is time to give confidence to the consumer that everything possible is being done. Generating confidence is the only way to avoid panic."
According to Guenier, the failure of microwaves and video recorders is not a big worry. Issues like public safety and job security should concern consumers: "The bug issue is so much bigger than the failure of electrical equipment. Compared to not having a job, not being able to record Coronation Street is of minor significance," he said.
Take me to the millennium page