Australia fines Apple $6.7 million over misleading 'Error 53' repair practices

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 33
    leighrleighr Posts: 171member
    Surely there should be some protection for Apple against having to fix problems that have been caused by dodger, cheap, third party components. If I throw non genuine parts in my new Mercedes and cook the engine does that mean Mercedes has to fix it? I’d like to see the ACCC take on other industries with this law. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 22 of 33
    Rayz2016 said:

    dicebier said:
    I rarely chime in here but COME ON!

    iDevices trigger an error code if a third party attempts to perform a repair and the only company that can repair such device without generating an error code is Apple?


    Read it again. You can have the device repaired by Apple or an authorised Apple repair shop.

    In much the same way that I can my Prius Hybrid engine repaired by Toyota or an authorised Toyota Repair Shop. If I take it somewhere else then Toyota won't honour the guarantee, and quite right too. They have no idea what some idiot with no training might have done to the car. If they repair it and it breaks, then they're the last people to touch it, even if the fault was caused by Honest Bob's Hybrid Chop Shop (No job too big, or too small. Cash Only please)

    But do chime in again. 
    Thats not the case in Australia. Generally, "authorised repair shop" are viewed as polite racketeering.

    The fact that the non-authorised repairer touched it doesn't mean the consumer rights are voided. The non-authorised repairer would have to have done something specifically and likely immediately damaging in order to void the obligation on the manufacturer - set it on fire, sure, not the manufacturer's problem - but if something continued to work for an extended period, and then failed totally, it doesn't necessarily follow that the third party repair was the cause.
    muthuk_vanalingamdjsherlymattinoz
  • Reply 23 of 33
    leighr said:
    Surely there should be some protection for Apple against having to fix problems that have been caused by dodger, cheap, third party components. If I throw non genuine parts in my new Mercedes and cook the engine does that mean Mercedes has to fix it? I’d like to see the ACCC take on other industries with this law. 
    In Australia, you are completely free to have your log book services on a car done by a third party using 3rd party components.

    IF the third party components were the cause of the engine cooking, then the 3rd party repairer is on the hook, but if the engine cooking was unrelated or peripherally related to them, then Mercedes might be on the hook to fix it, yes.

    This has already been litigated in other industries, its not a new law - been around a long time. in the car industry it is in part why businesses like ultra tune are able to exist, and are able to buy both genuine and third party parts, as well as why so many medium sized service garages exist. And frankly, if you have a good third party repair shop, you'll stick with them.
    djsherly
  • Reply 24 of 33
    mattinoz said:
    netrox said:
    Wait a minute, Apple is being fined because someone had their phone repaired outside of authorized dealership?!?! What kind of stupid decision is that?
    'stralia.... It is right to repair to the extreme, I guess. Basically, no matter what a shitty job a repairman did, your product must work, which makes zero sense when data security concerns are brought in.
    The phones were working normally after the repair they were bricked by an update down the track then Apple said nothing we can do.
    Would you as a reasonable person find that reasonable?
    Yes, that’s how I read it too. I’m not sure if it was an update or that the security was only checked during the update process - but that’s a minor detail. 

    The judges reasoning is usually published quite Ed quite some time after the verdict, you’d need to read it to be sure.

    The problem is that the update was necessary for security - the ‘fixed’ phone had always been borked by the repairer - it’s just that the consumer could not ‘see’ that until the error came up. Apple actually did fix the device by providing the error. 

    I write software.  We released a version. Customer bought and used it - and was happy. We released an update. Customer tested update and complained that a function they were relying on now ran much slower. We agreed - it is slower, because it was broken before and didn’t nothing - we fixed it and now it gives the correct result. It takes longer to do something than it takes to do nothing so yes it’s slower and it’ll never be as fast as the broken version.  They were not happy. But they should be - because we fixed the software. 

    I think this is the same. But poor communication by Apple really made it difficult for them to prevail in court. Remember - the fine is for their communications - not the product or their policies or software or hardware.

    Really there is no need for any consumer in Australia to ever have a 3rd party repair - because under Australian consumer law a $1000 device qualifies for a really really really long statutory warranty. Think 5 years minimum. So in this case (presumably) the screen breaks, Apple has to agree to repair but charges $99 (a fee is ok due to it not being a product fault).  The consumer shops around and finds a guy at the pub who’ll do it for $10 and a schooner of new. A while later... error 53. Back to Apple. The earlier consumer law still applies, and just like earlier Apple can still claim this is user damage: the user has opened the case and messed it up, so can still charge.  What is their undoing is saying ‘no’. 

    I think the ACCC may have brought the same complaint if Apple had agreed to repair for 95% of the phones new price - and I’m not sure at what price ACCC would nod and say, ok fair enough, but I’d guess 65%. 
  • Reply 25 of 33
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,053member
    Rayz2016 said:

    dicebier said:
    I rarely chime in here but COME ON!

    iDevices trigger an error code if a third party attempts to perform a repair and the only company that can repair such device without generating an error code is Apple?


    Read it again. You can have the device repaired by Apple or an authorised Apple repair shop.

    In much the same way that I can my Prius Hybrid engine repaired by Toyota or an authorised Toyota Repair Shop. If I take it somewhere else then Toyota won't honour the guarantee, and quite right too. They have no idea what some idiot with no training might have done to the car. If they repair it and it breaks, then they're the last people to touch it, even if the fault was caused by Honest Bob's Hybrid Chop Shop (No job too big, or too small. Cash Only please)

    But do chime in again. 
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gv5ddm/warranty-void-if-removed-stickers-are-illegal
    https://www.androidpolice.com/2018/04/10/ftc-reminds-phone-makers-cant-void-warranties-repairs-made-using-unauthorized-parts/
    https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/what-really-invalidates-warranty-you-10180230

    It's really not that odd.
  • Reply 26 of 33
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,015member
    leighr said:
    Surely there should be some protection for Apple against having to fix problems that have been caused by dodger, cheap, third party components. If I throw non genuine parts in my new Mercedes and cook the engine does that mean Mercedes has to fix it? I’d like to see the ACCC take on other industries with this law. 
    They do have protection. It's the same consumer law that was used to chase Apple in the first place.

    As a company you cannot force your customers to use your own repair facilities. A consumer is free to seek repairs in any way they see fit.

    The consumer cannot however repair their screen, break it again and require Apple to fix it. Or complain when 3D Touch no longer works as there is clearly a relationship between the 'repair' and the subsequent behaviour.

    On the other hand, Apple cannot refuse a repair under warranty, even if parts have been swapped out, if those parts are not related to the repair being sought. eg Apple can't refuse a repair on a shorted lightning port because the camera glass was replaced by a third party.

    And as you see in this action by the ACCC you can't go off and purposely disable electronics post-hoc because 'non-genuine' parts have been used. That is called "being an a**hole" (or "ar*ehole" in the jurisdiction in question) and offering to resolve the situation with a new device or a genuine repair is basically icing on the cake.

    In this situation no one is asking Apple to fix a problem they didn't cause themselves. Trust me.

    As noted before by Uroshnor, the specific car example is a common occurrence here. I service my VW at a specialist and not the dealer because I've heard numerous horror stories about them.
  • Reply 27 of 33
    djsherlydjsherly Posts: 1,015member
    arthurba said:
    mattinoz said:
    netrox said:
    Wait a minute, Apple is being fined because someone had their phone repaired outside of authorized dealership?!?! What kind of stupid decision is that?
    'stralia.... It is right to repair to the extreme, I guess. Basically, no matter what a shitty job a repairman did, your product must work, which makes zero sense when data security concerns are brought in.
    The phones were working normally after the repair they were bricked by an update down the track then Apple said nothing we can do.
    Would you as a reasonable person find that reasonable?
    Yes, that’s how I read it too. I’m not sure if it was an update or that the security was only checked during the update process - but that’s a minor detail. 

    The judges reasoning is usually published quite Ed quite some time after the verdict, you’d need to read it to be sure.

    The problem is that the update was necessary for security - the ‘fixed’ phone had always been borked by the repairer - it’s just that the consumer could not ‘see’ that until the error came up. Apple actually did fix the device by providing the error. 

    I write software.  We released a version. Customer bought and used it - and was happy. We released an update. Customer tested update and complained that a function they were relying on now ran much slower. We agreed - it is slower, because it was broken before and didn’t nothing - we fixed it and now it gives the correct result. It takes longer to do something than it takes to do nothing so yes it’s slower and it’ll never be as fast as the broken version.  They were not happy. But they should be - because we fixed the software. 

    I think this is the same. But poor communication by Apple really made it difficult for them to prevail in court. Remember - the fine is for their communications - not the product or their policies or software or hardware.

    Really there is no need for any consumer in Australia to ever have a 3rd party repair - because under Australian consumer law a $1000 device qualifies for a really really really long statutory warranty. Think 5 years minimum. So in this case (presumably) the screen breaks, Apple has to agree to repair but charges $99 (a fee is ok due to it not being a product fault).  The consumer shops around and finds a guy at the pub who’ll do it for $10 and a schooner of new. A while later... error 53. Back to Apple. The earlier consumer law still applies, and just like earlier Apple can still claim this is user damage: the user has opened the case and messed it up, so can still charge.  What is their undoing is saying ‘no’. 

    I think the ACCC may have brought the same complaint if Apple had agreed to repair for 95% of the phones new price - and I’m not sure at what price ACCC would nod and say, ok fair enough, but I’d guess 65%. 
    A screen is a really poor example because it is easy to break which sheets no blame on a phone manufacturer. ACL doesn't cover accidental damage. So given the choice of a $300 screen replacement over a $90 screen replacement what sane person is going to pay $200 more for what is *more or less* the same thing?
  • Reply 28 of 33
    netrox said:
    Wait a minute, Apple is being fined because someone had their phone repaired outside of authorized dealership?!?! What kind of stupid decision is that?
    Read carefully and with understanding. Spend time and re-read. It is not what the case said or judges ruled. It was about refusal by Apple to fix after third party took repair actions.
    singularity
  • Reply 29 of 33
    juanguapo said:
    I love Australia and I love Australians but they have some goofy laws. This makes no sense to me.
    They do make sense. Read ACCC statement and ruling carefully. And for the record I am not Australian.
    singularity
  • Reply 30 of 33
    The issue must have been that Apple said, 'no we won't repair it.' 
    Presumably, if they said, 'yes we will repair it but it will cost you because you took it to someone who was unauthorized to work on it,' they would have been ok.

    But honestly, if the ACCC thinks Apple should foot the bill for the repair after someone else has screwed it up, that's crap.

    "If a product is faulty, customers are legally entitled to a repair or a replacement under the Australian Consumer Law, and sometimes even a refund. Apple's representations led customers to believe they'd be denied a remedy for their faulty device because they used a third party repairer,"

    it is not about "screing it up" - it is about failed attempt to repair or perform unrelated repair by third party and then Apple denying resolution (regardles if fixing the same or other problem).
    singularity
  • Reply 31 of 33
    What's missing from the SMH article is that if a third party repair has damaged the device, then the manufacturer is not obliged to repair it.

    That fact is noted in this ABC news article. Is it missing, really? Since when is ABC news is reliable source on technical and legal issues? I would not rely on ABC (like many otyher major media sources) to give public reliable and precise nswers. We have seen this many times over years and especially recently.
  • Reply 32 of 33
    Since when is ABC news is reliable source on technical and legal issues? I would not rely on ABC (like many otyher major media sources) to give public reliable and precise nswers. We have seen this many times over years and especially recently.  

    I don't know where you're from, so maybe you thought that ABC was the American Broadcasting Company not the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
    In any case allow me to quote to you the relevant parts from the legislation:
    cf. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2017C00375/Html/Volume_3#_Toc499717716

    Competition and Consumer Act 2010 Cth
    Schedule 2

    54  Guarantee as to acceptable quality

                 (1)  If:

                         (a)  a person supplies, in trade or commerce, goods to a consumer; and

                         (b)  the supply does not occur by way of sale by auction;

    there is a guarantee that the goods are of acceptable quality.

                 (2)  Goods are of acceptable quality if they are as:

                         (a)  fit for all the purposes for which goods of that kind are commonly supplied; and

                         (b)  acceptable in appearance and finish; and

                         (c)  free from defects; and

                         (d)  safe; and

                         (e)  durable;

    as a reasonable consumer fully acquainted with the state and condition of the goods (including any hidden defects of the goods), would regard as acceptable having regard to the matters in subsection (3).

    […]

                (6)  Goods do not fail to be of acceptable quality if:

                         (a)  the consumer to whom they are supplied causes them to become of unacceptable quality, or fails to take reasonable steps to prevent them from becoming of unacceptable quality; and

                         (b)  they are damaged by abnormal use.

    So a consumer cannot claim that the goods were not of acceptable quality and therefore demand a replacement or repair under the law, if the consumer has caused them to become of unacceptable quality such as arguably through performing or obtaining a botched repair.

    The consumer has rights they can hold the repairer to under the guarantees relating to the supply of services in subdivision B in the same document.

    mattinoz
  • Reply 33 of 33
    steveau said:
    "The Court declared the mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply, or the consumer's right to a remedy being extinguished."
    That sounds like some silly shit to me. Get it broken fixed by some third party and expect Apple to clean the ensuing mess.
    The point is that the devices were correctly fixed by a third party repairer and Apple then applied a software update that bricked the devices (error code 53) AND THEN said that they could not repair the devices because of the initial third party repair. The Federal Court has determined that this was essentially a lie, and lying to a consumer is illegal in Australia, as it should be in any civilised country!

    OK, that clears it up. Thanks.
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