Some technology manufacturers deliberately make it near impossible for legitimate third-party repairers to fix their equipment. We need right to repair laws now.
These manufacturers are experts at denying so-called unauthorised repairers:
- Access to genuine parts or pricing them so high that it is uneconomic to repair
- Access to repair manuals or error code fixes
- Claiming that the equipment contains trade-secrets and placing software locks making third-party repair impossible.
- Making it impossible to remove things like rear covers, screens and batteries without ruining or breaking part of the device
- Using adhesive materials that make it very hard to disassemble and reassemble.
- Placing ‘Warranty void if opened’ stickers or indicators on the equipment
- And waging a campaign of fear, uncertainty and deception (FUD) about the horror stories of using third-party repairers
Welcome to the world of third-party and out-of-warranty technology repairers.
Reputable US ‘tear-down’ specialist IFIXIT.ORG is at the forefront of the battle to allow consumers a choice in where they get say, a cracked smartphone screen fixed, or a spent battery replaced.
These are everyday occurrences, and many manufacturer repairs costs are several times the price of a third-party repair. If only they could get the parts.
For example, an unnamed smartphone maker (with a fruity moniker) charges over A$400 for a replacement screen. The actual cost is around $40. With the right tools, it takes 30 minutes work – $100 all up at worst.
A well-known brand (what is it with rotten fruit?) was to task by Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It has reduced its battery replacement fee of around $120 labour by two-thirds (for a limited time and conditions apply). But third-party batteries sell for around $10-30 (“genuine” branded batteries sell for around $100-150). Most third-party repairers quote about $50 to do the work.