Motherboard released a somewhat critical report on Apple's independent repair program for third-party service centers.
A copy of the contract obtained by Motherboard shows that the conditions imposed by Apple on third-party service centers would be very onerous. Last August, Apple presented this new feature:
Apple has announced a new program that offers customers more options for regular out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. In fact, Apple will provide more independent service centers, large or small, with the same replacement parts and original tools, the same training, the same repair manuals and diagnostic tools offered by the service centers. Apple Authorized Service. The program will start in the United States first, and then expand to other countries.
Membership in the independent repair program is free. For qualification, service centers must have an Apple-certified technician who can perform repairs. The certification procedures are simple and free.
The contract that Apple has signed these third-party centers is however considered to be very “expensive” and “worrying”, given that it could give Apple significant control over the companies which choose to participate. The contract would also be intrusive with regard to the privacy of consumers.
Companies must undergo multiple audits and inspections without notice from Apple, likely aimed at preventing the use of unauthorized third-party components. So far, no problem. However, if a company leaves the program, Apple reserves the right to continue inspecting service centers for up to five years after a company leaves the program .
In addition, according to the report, Apple requires service centers that are part of the program to share various customer information, such as name, phone number and home address.
Obviously, the contract also includes non-disclosure clauses with related penalties. The agreement then specifies that independent repair centers should never be confused with Apple authorized suppliers, so much so that the companies that are part of the program must show a written and easily visible notice to customers both in the store and on the Internet. website, as well as in delivery notes that are delivered to customers after a repair.
In addition, Apple does not guarantee repairs made at independent centers. It also appears that some stores have decided not to join the IRP program due to Apple's insistence on allowing customers to collect data.
For supporters of the right of repair, these contracts are defined as expensive and not respectful of the rights of Apple partners.
Apple responded to this report with the following statement:
We are committed to offering our customers several options and different locations for safe and reliable repairs. Our new independent vendor program is designed to provide service centers of all sizes with access to the original components, training and tools necessary to perform the most common iPhone repairs. We are delighted with the initial response and the high level of interest. We are working closely with stakeholders and will update the communication in our documents to respond to their comments.