Thursday, February 6, 2020

Apple’s Independent Repair Program Contract

Maddie Stone (tweet, Hacker News, MacRumors):

In order to join the program, the contract states independent repair shops must agree to unannounced audits and inspections by Apple, which are intended, at least in part, to search for and identify the use of “prohibited” repair parts, which Apple can impose fines for. If they leave the program, Apple reserves the right to continue inspecting repair shops for up to five years after a repair shop leaves the program. Apple also requires repair shops in the program to share information about their customers at Apple’s request, including names, phone numbers, and home addresses.

The privacy company.

Furthermore, IRPs must obtain “express written acknowledgement” from customers showing they understand they are not receiving repairs from an authorized service provider[…]

This is kind of confusing because the whole point of being an IRP is to get authorized parts. Shops using unauthorized parts will require no such written acknowledgement.

If Apple determines that more than 2 percent of a repair business’s transactions involved “prohibited products,” it can, per the contract, force the business to pay Apple $1,000 for every transaction that occurred during the audit period, in addition to reimbursing Apple for the cost of its investigation.

This seems risky because what’s prohibited is not well defined.

Colin Cornaby:

I think the most anti-competitive thing Apple does is prevent shops from stocking repair parts. It prevents them from getting out to places like eBay, but puts independent repair shops at a speed disadvantage. They can’t order parts until they start the repair.


Update (2020-02-07): See also: Hacker News.

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