Is Apple Holding Their Consumers Hostage to Unfair Repair Prices?
In an attempt to maintain control of prices and hold their monopoly, Apple restricts their customers to “authorized” repair shops that simply advise those customers to purchase a new device when their devices are damaged, but consumers are instead naturally moving toward third-party repair technicians who offer transparent solutions and cost-effective pricing.
The prohibitive costs of fixing a faulty Apple device seems to show that the company does not want consumers to repair their damaged devices via third-party repair technicians. To make matters worse, Apple has threatened to sue third-party repairers for offering to fix devices for a fraction of the cost charged by the tech giant.
When customers walk into an Apple Store with a flickering screen or other bad component, store employees typically inform them it is more economical to replace the entire device than repair it. If customers insist on repairs, they are presented with a bill so outrageous it makes the entire repair process useless expenditure-wise.
Hidden-Camera Shows Apple Employee Overpricing a Repair Job Without Giving Alternatives
In addition, Apple prefers to have its “authorized service technicians” repair devices in order to have the devices remain within a warranty agreement that is not so popular with Apple users, especially due to the deductible or copay that is sometimes charged depending on the warranty/care plan.
Meanwhile, many experienced technicians have set up shop for themselves rather than work for Apple at its service centers, and the reason for this phenomenon is simple: they earn very little repairing devices at Apple stores, and profit much more working independently.
“I’ve broken my MacBook before and taken it to Apple and they wanted $700 to fix the screen. I ended up doing it myself for $50. This happens all the time,” said Jason Koebler, who regularly covers Apple-related news as the Editor in Chief of VICE Media’s technology and science news site, Motherboard.
Apple declined to comment but has previously stated that they “do not overcharge.”
To investigate further, CBC News used a hidden camera to confirm customers’ claims about device repairs at Apple stores. In the secret video, a customer presented a MacBook Pro laptop with a faulty screen display, and an Apple Store technician told him the repair would cost $1,200, conveniently close to the cost of simply buying a new Macbook, and of course, the Apple “genius” told the customer there was no cheaper alternative in terms of having the laptop fixed.
Louis Rossmann, an independent electronics technician whom Apple would rate as “unauthorized,” eventually fixed the same device by bending back a pin that was not making contact at the back of the laptop.
The “Right to Repair” Movement Seeks to Return Power to Apple Customers
Rossmann said he wouldn’t charge anything to bend the pin back for proper functioning but might charge between $75 and $150 to actually replace the entire pin if the customer chose to do so.
Apple disallows third-party repairers to fix its products at a more affordable price, but should their consumers do so anyway, they risk losing their warranty. The company said its products are best repaired by its own “certified experts using genuine parts.” Meanwhile, Apple has threatened to sue several third-party technicians and online experts such as iFixit that sell video manuals on how to fix virtually anything with Apple devices.
Thus, the rise of the “Right to Repair” movement. According to Kyle Wiens, 34-year-old Cofounder of iFixit: “The ‘right to repair’ is the idea that you can repair your own things or take it to a local shop to get it fixed.” The movement has been pressing governments everywhere to make laws that would take power from Apple and instead give it to customers, solidifying their right as consumers to personally repair devices they have purchased.