Friday April 07, 2017

Apple Draws the Ire of Australian Government after Bricking 3rd Party Repaired Devices

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission or (ACCC) is seeking to sue Apple for bricking iOS devices that had been repaired by third party repairers. An update for iOS 9 started the bricking of devices as it could detect third party tampering with the home button or fingerprint recognition sensor. If it detected that your device had been repaired, then it would display "error 53" and not even an official Apple employee could repair your devices or recover files on it. In Australia this is illegal as it is the consumer's choice where they seek to get their devices repaired. And warranty is still valid on the device regardless of where it was repaired.

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Too bad we don't have a similar system in place here. Apple and other companies have been fighting a war against the right to repair for years. Farmers can't legally repair their John Deere tractors so they have to hack the software to get it to run again. Why is it this way? I grew up diagnosing televisions and could take a VCR down to the smallest of parts and reassemble it. Why is repairing your devices so wrong nowadays? I blame the anti-consumer DRM laws.

"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 lower cost than the manufacturer," said ACCC chair Rod Sims. The ACCC stated that, under Australian law, the action of having a device "serviced, repaired, or replaced by someone other than Apple" cannot solely waive the consumer's right to a warranty from the manufacturer.

"As consumer goods become increasingly complex, businesses also need to remember that consumer rights extend to any software or software updates loaded onto those goods. Faults with software or software updates may entitle consumers to a free remedy under the Australian Consumer Law," said Sims.