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‘Very Onerous’: Independent Apple Repair Stores Surprised By Inspections

Independent repair stores that seek genuine iPhone parts and official training will be forced to sign a contract that allows surprise inspections with a risk of significant fines.

Apple’s Independent Repaid Provider Program, revealed in August last year, allows third-party stores to perform common out-of-warrant repairs on Apple iPhones.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) senior staff attorney Kit Walsh told Motherboard that the conditions of the contract were ‘very onerous.’

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

‘They give Apple a huge amount of discretion, impose potentially business-destroying costs and penalties on the repair shop, and require that they grant access to Apple without notice.’

Participants who agree to the conditions will have access to Apple’s manual, tools, parts and diagnostics through the program, which seeks to provide superior service for customers’ needs by offering more outlets for iPhone repairs. The program is set up to provide the quality of service provided by Apple Authorised Service Provider network.

A copy of the contract shows that third-party shops are required to sign to join the Independent Repaid Provider Program, first revealed by Motherboard, reveals strict and invasive terms.

(Photo by Yichuan Cao/Sipa USA)

Independent repair shops that join the program will be subjected to surprise audits and inspections by Apple, which intends to ensure the providers aren’t using ‘prohibited’ parts.

Apple defines such parts as both parts that infringe on Apple’s intellectual property and counterfeit products.

If the stores leave the program, Apple reserves the right under the terms of the contract to continue inspecting the store for up to five years afterward.

If violations are found during audits and inspections, Apple may impose significant fines. If Apple determines that over 2 per cent of a repair shop’s transactions involved ‘prohibited’ parts, it can impost $1,000 penalty for each transaction within the audit period, in addition to forcing the shop to pay for the cost of the investigation.

Apple will also require repair shops to share customer information upon request – this includes customers’ names, phone numbers and even home addresses. The shops are also required to prominently display notices on their storefronts and websites that say there are not Apple Authorised Service Providers, even after having received official certification from Apple.

The repair shops receive the contact from Apple after signing a non-disclosure agreement, Motherboard reports, citing multiple credible sources familiar with the program.

It’s yet to be seen if the limitations and requirements imposed by Apple’s Independent Repair Provider Program contracts will restrict its success.

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