Apple Has a Fairly Binding Contract for New Independent Repairers

Since last summer, Apple has granted certain U.S. third party repairers the right to use Genuine Parts for service on its iPhone and the same tools as Apple Authorized Service Centers.

Apple did not stop campaigning against the right to repair but it was a sign of the beginning of an opening towards these shops that do not belong to its traditional network of authorized service centers (read Independent repairers will be able to get Apple to repair the iPhone out of warranty). Besides, not everyone lives near an Apple Store

Image: iFixit

However, the conditions for participation in this programme, called Independent Repair Provider, are drastic and borderline questionable, as shown by the terms of a standard contract obtained by Motherboard.

Some provisions are not unusual, such as those providing for surprise visits by Apple to check that the services are in accordance with the contract. Apple Premium Resellers are familiar with these unannounced audits where the Apple representative will look at all the details of the layout of the premises and the way the products are displayed.

But there are more devious things. In this contract, Apple gives itself the right to carry out these investigations even after the shop has left the program for 5 years. In the medium term, Apple wants to give itself the possibility to check that the repairer does not use prohibited parts, i.e. parts that are not approved by Apple.

In addition, the partner must be able to provide Apple with the name, address, email and phone number of each of its customers. Even if they have no reason to have their personal data transmitted to the Apple.

Second, while they are considered partners, these repairers are not part of the family. The same contract stipulates that their storefront and website must make it very clear that they do not have Apple Certified status.

Their customers must also sign a document notifying them that their repair is not being performed by an authorized service center and that this service will not be covered by Apple. This is a way of distinguishing the traditional network from these newcomers, but we have seen that it is more engaging for the end customer.

Some repairers surveyed by Motherboard prefer to keep Apple out of this program. Others say they are willing to do so because it guarantees them a supply of original parts and tools.

Apple, for its part, has indicated that it is prepared to review certain provisions of this contract, but over time and based on feedback from these partners.

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