Australian regulator sues Apple for allegedly bricking iPhones and refusing to fix them

midian182

Posts: 6,555   +58
Staff member

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has filed a lawsuit against Apple for refusing to fix iPhones and iPads it bricked after owners took them to third-parties for repairs.

The suit alleges that Apple bricked the devices of Australian customers between September 2014 and February 2016 through software updates. The documents mention the Error 53 problem – which first appeared in 2015 – that affected thousands of iPhone 6 handsets. The phones had been taken to non-Apple technicians who carried out screen or Touch ID module repairs, which in turn caused the devices to fail Apple’s security checks and become expensive paperweights.

When asked to repair the bricked products, customers were told that "no Apple entity ... was required to, or would, provide a remedy" for free. Essentially, Apple says that if a third-party carries out repairs, it doesn’t have to honor warranties, even those that are part of the AppleCare extended warranty program.

"It's fair to say we haven't observed similar behavior by other manufacturers," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. “Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at a lower cost than the manufacturer.”

The regulator said Apple engaged in "misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations to consumers" regarding how its software updates affects devices.

The ACCC is seeking pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs.

A US class action lawsuit was brought against Apple over the Error 53 issue last year, but was thrown out due to the plaintiff’s "lack of standing to pursue injunctive relief."

Permalink to story.

 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
If I was a company, I would also not allow third party repairs. Don't like it? Too bad, buy another companies product.
 

EClyde

Posts: 2,389   +941
If I was a company, I would also not allow third party repairs. Don't like it? Too bad, buy another companies product.
Depends on what is being repaired? Got a washing machine? If someone can have their washer repaired by a third party and they can't do it for whatever reason should that invalidate the warranty? The diff is a washer won't be bricked. The electronic device should not brick in the first place.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,288
Of course. It's not in the least bit surprising. This sort of sulking is in Apple's culture. Why should any pretty technically competent 12 year old carry out an easy job as a favour for someone for free when they can screw that someone over for an extortionate sum.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,139   +741
The key point is in Australia, it is illegal for them to deny the repairs if they caused the problem in the first place.
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
Depends on what is being repaired? Got a washing machine? If someone can have their washer repaired by a third party and they can't do it for whatever reason should that invalidate the warranty? The diff is a washer won't be bricked. The electronic device should not brick in the first place.
Express your opinion by buying from a different company.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,464   +6,145
It's painfully obvious you work for a boss who has got you so well indoctrinated.
I am the boss. My rules. Don't like it? Don't buy from me.

That just sounds like an excuse for actually coming up with a good reason to not allow 3rd party repairs. You could literally use that excuse for anything.

As pointed out in the article, many other companies allow 3rd party repairs. Most companies can't afford to hire people to fix their products in every town in the world so saying "No 3rd party repairs" is more like "enjoy your broken device because we likely won't have someone close to you to repair it" or "enjoy the repair bill" or "You'll just buy our latest model after you give up trying to get the thing fixed."
 

Panda218

Posts: 676   +392
I have 11 bricked iphone 5s devices and 6 iphone 6's that I replaced the touch sensor on that ended up getting the 53 error at work. Thanks for being so understanding Apple your products are superb and never require repairs.
 
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Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
That just sounds like an excuse for actually coming up with a good reason to not allow 3rd party repairs. You could literally use that excuse for anything.

As pointed out in the article, many other companies allow 3rd party repairs. Most companies can't afford to hire people to fix their products in every town in the world so saying "No 3rd party repairs" is more like "enjoy your broken device because we likely won't have someone close to you to repair it" or "enjoy the repair bill" or "You'll just buy our latest model after you give up trying to get the thing fixed."
I don't need a reason. The answer is simply no. Don't like it? Buy from someone else.

If you MUST know, how about an example: You are a builder. You build decks. You built a deck for John Smith. Something went wrong and he got someone else to fix it. They mess up on their repair job. John calls you to come fix it. When you go to fix it, you see the guy he called instead of you messed it up and caused more damage and needs more repair then what would have been needed had he not touched it. John wants you to ALSO fix the other workers work for free. You have to tell John that is NOT the way it works. Point: you are not responsible for fixing other peoples mistakes - only your own. If you specifically say that "alternative fixer Bob" is allowed and you will cover it, then you are good to go (like in your example). However, if not, YOUR choice, YOUR cost, YOUR risk, YOUR loss... not mine.
 
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OneSpeed

Posts: 432   +229
That just sounds like an excuse for actually coming up with a good reason to not allow 3rd party repairs. You could literally use that excuse for anything.

As pointed out in the article, many other companies allow 3rd party repairs. Most companies can't afford to hire people to fix their products in every town in the world so saying "No 3rd party repairs" is more like "enjoy your broken device because we likely won't have someone close to you to repair it" or "enjoy the repair bill" or "You'll just buy our latest model after you give up trying to get the thing fixed."
I don't need a reason. The answer is simply no. Don't like it? Buy from someone else.

Yes. You do have every right to be screwed by a vendor. It's your money, boss.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,288
I am the boss. My rules. Don't like it? Don't buy from me.
Can't be doing too well then... I'm the boss of my company as well and my policy is "You can try getting it repaired from whoever and wherever you like but if you bring it back to me for failed repairs, I'm not going to honour the warranty and I am going to charge you whatever I feel like to repair it, properly, or even replace it at full price to yourself". I'm certainly not going to brick their product because I feel slighted by the fact they took it elsewhere first, just like Apple would and does. It makes no sense and it's not good business practice. We're not supposed to be living in an autocratic society anymore. I wish someone would tell Apple that. Maybe they have, but maybe they're too thick skinned to heed good advice.
 

Tanstar

Posts: 659   +201
That just sounds like an excuse for actually coming up with a good reason to not allow 3rd party repairs. You could literally use that excuse for anything.

As pointed out in the article, many other companies allow 3rd party repairs. Most companies can't afford to hire people to fix their products in every town in the world so saying "No 3rd party repairs" is more like "enjoy your broken device because we likely won't have someone close to you to repair it" or "enjoy the repair bill" or "You'll just buy our latest model after you give up trying to get the thing fixed."
I don't need a reason. The answer is simply no. Don't like it? Buy from someone else.

If you MUST know, how about an example: You are a builder. You build decks. You built a deck for John Smith. Something went wrong and he got someone else to fix it. They mess up on their repair job. John calls you to come fix it. When you go to fix it, you see the guy he called instead of you messed it up and caused more damage and needs more repair then what would have been needed had he not touched it. John wants you to ALSO fix the other workers work for free. You have to tell John that is NOT the way it works. Point: you are not responsible for fixing other peoples mistakes - only your own. If you specifically say that "alternative fixer Bob" is allowed and you will cover it, then you are good to go (like in your example). However, if not, YOUR choice, YOUR cost, YOUR risk, YOUR loss... not mine.
But that isn't what happened here. In this case, the first guy did the job well and everything is great. Then you stop by John's house, see he let someone else work on it, so you take out a jackhammer and destroy the deck and leave John a note saying, "Shouldn't have let anyone else work on MY deck."
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
But that isn't what happened here. In this case, the first guy did the job well and everything is great. Then you stop by John's house, see he let someone else work on it, so you take out a jackhammer and destroy the deck and leave John a note saying, "Shouldn't have let anyone else work on MY deck."
You seem to have to check the story over again. This is not what happened.
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
Can't be doing too well then... I'm the boss of my company as well and my policy is "You can try getting it repaired from whoever and wherever you like but if you bring it back to me for failed repairs, I'm not going to honour the warranty and I am going to charge you whatever I feel like to repair it, properly, or even replace it at full price to yourself". I'm certainly not going to brick their product because I feel slighted by the fact they took it elsewhere first, just like Apple would and does. It makes no sense and it's not good business practice. We're not supposed to be living in an autocratic society anymore. I wish someone would tell Apple that. Maybe they have, but maybe they're too thick skinned to heed good advice.
I do well. You just said the same thing I did and didn't even realize it. Gratz to that.
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
But that isn't what happened here. In this case, the first guy did the job well and everything is great. Then you stop by John's house, see he let someone else work on it, so you take out a jackhammer and destroy the deck and leave John a note saying, "Shouldn't have let anyone else work on MY deck."
Luckily that's not what happened. Apple shouldn't have to create new code to cater to people who had work done that has nothing to do with apple. Your choice, your problem, your cost. Again, don't like it? Buy something else and never buy apple again. Stand up for what you believe in with your pocket book.
 

Itwasntme

Posts: 7   +3
But that isn't what happened here. In this case, the first guy did the job well and everything is great. Then you stop by John's house, see he let someone else work on it, so you take out a jackhammer and destroy the deck and leave John a note saying, "Shouldn't have let anyone else work on MY deck."
Luckily that's not what happened. Apple shouldn't have to create new code to cater to people who had work done that has nothing to do with apple. Your choice, your problem, your cost. Again, don't like it? Buy something else and never buy apple again. Stand up for what you believe in with your pocket book.

Apple DID create new code (the update) to prevent anyone from using his working Iphone. Not because the repair job wasnt done well, not because the replaced part wasnt original. They claim this is due to security reasons (the specific Touch ID is bound to the specific phone), but then the update only needed to deactivate the connection between that iphone and the account on it. Instead, they brick the whole hardware which is not necessary by any means.
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
Apple DID create new code (the update) to prevent anyone from using his working Iphone. Not because the repair job wasnt done well, not because the replaced part wasnt original. They claim this is due to security reasons (the specific Touch ID is bound to the specific phone), but then the update only needed to deactivate the connection between that iphone and the account on it. Instead, they brick the whole hardware which is not necessary by any means.
So under that logic, how many hundreds of millions of screens have been replaced and apple hasn't bricked those? It has nothing to do with original parts. It has nothing to do with intention. If there is security code written for the Touch ID then it is. It is not their obligation to accommodate people who want to modify their device outside original design. Don't agree? Don't buy it.
 

Tanstar

Posts: 659   +201
Luckily that's not what happened. Apple shouldn't have to create new code to cater to people who had work done that has nothing to do with apple. Your choice, your problem, your cost. Again, don't like it? Buy something else and never buy apple again. Stand up for what you believe in with your pocket book.
If you reread my first response to you (not among the above quoted stories) you'd see that I don't buy Apple, and this is one small part of the reason why.
 

Rippleman

Posts: 871   +394
If you reread my first response to you (not among the above quoted stories) you'd see that I don't buy Apple, and this is one small part of the reason why.
I don't buy apple either, however, I do not hold them to positions that I do not hold myself to.