Apple repair policy critic vows to fight 'counterfeit' battery seizure by U.S. customs

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 19
Prominent YouTube repair personality and repair shop owner Louis Rossmann has objected to the seizure of original batteries worth $1,000 by U.S. Customs and Border Protection under the suspicion they are counterfeit, ten days after participating in a report attacking Apple's repair policies.

Louis Rossmann, via CBC
Louis Rossmann, via CBC


Posted to YouTube on Thursday, Rossmann advises in a video that he received a notice of seizure from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection of "20 Apple Laptop Batteries." According to the notice, the batteries are counterfeit, but Rossmann insists they are imports of "original" batteries.

The batteries were seized in Louisville, Kentucky on September 6, with the notice of seizure sent to Rossmann over a month later on October 15.

The notice claims the batteries "contains markings which are substantially indistinguishable from, and therefore, bear a counterfeit design/word/mark" of one owned by Apple. Under regulations, articles bearing counterfeit marks are to be seized and "forfeited for violation of the Customs laws."

According to the notice, the appraised domestic value of the batteries is $1,068. Rossmann is advised in the letter he could file a petition within 30 days seeking remission of the forfeiture, an offer in compromise that could include a financial settlement, abandoning the goods, or referring it to the courts.

While not directly calling it revenge by Apple for his participation in a CBC report about Apple's repair policies, Rossmann calls it a "crazy coincidence" that the Customs notice arrived a few days after that report's broadcast, especially after importing them without issue for a number of years.





The report highlighted the high cost of repair at the Genius Bar for a fault that Rossmann quickly diagnosed and fixed for a fraction of Apple's estimate, as well as Apple's tendency to make it hard for unauthorized repair shops or users themselves to fix hardware issues.

Rossmann highlights previous instances where the government has sided with Apple with regards to aftermarket parts and third-party repairs, including ICE raids on 25 smartphone repair stores in South Florida for using aftermarket components instead of officially sourced parts to repair Apple devices.

He also highlights an incident in May where iPhone displays were seized by agents from prominent Right to Repair advocate Jessa Jones, bought from a gray market supplier in China.

It is noted that the batteries that were taken were destined for use in Mac models that were "no longer serviced" by the Apple Store, Rossmann claims, due to being declared as "vintage."

"A machine that you cannot have your battery replaced on at an Apple Store because they think it's vintage, they will not allow me to replace a battery on because when I import batteries - that are original - they'll tell me they're counterfeit, and have them stolen from me by Immigration and Customs Enforcement," Rossmann insists.

Rossmann notes that Apple would refuse to provide parts for the "vintage" parts regardless of whether he is an authorized third-party repair center or not. In the case of asking a Chinese producer who makes the "good batteries" that aren't imitations bearing the Apple logo, Rossmann claims they get taken by "a company that's using the power of the government to seize my stuff."

As for the seized goods, Rossmann declares he is willing to fight.

"I don't care if I have to spend $50,000 in legal fees to get back my $1,000 worth of batteries," says Rossmann. "This is principle. Apple, you are not going to get away with this."

AppleInsider has reached out to Rossmann, Apple, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for comment on the matter.
svanstrom
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 71
    I appreciate the valuable work he is doing,putting more Macs into service.But he looks like he is going crazy day by day. He should stop being so angry all the time.
    claire1
  • Reply 2 of 71
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,066member
    What a sad, pathetic little YouTubing troll... Spend $50k to get $1k of batteries? Dude, you have issues, not to mention an over-sized tinfoil hat if you think Apple conspired with US Border agents to seize batteries because of your stupid CBC rant, which doesn't do anyone any favours.
    racerhomie3claire1ericthehalfbeechiamikeybabesjony0
  • Reply 3 of 71
    Never heard of him and I’m OK with that.
    magman1979backstabclaire1jony0
  • Reply 4 of 71
    This is how I feel about Apple's repair policy and general strategy of creating an ecosystem based on serfdom.


    dysamoria
  • Reply 5 of 71
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    If they were original batteries why did Customs think they were knock-offs?

    And if they aren't knock-offs then surely that can be quickly proved with serial numbers or something, why would a $50,000 legal battle be needed?
    chasmdysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 71
    magman1979magman1979 Posts: 1,066member
    larz2112 said:
    This is how I feel about Apple's repair policy and general strategy of creating an ecosystem based on serfdom.


    You win for most ignorant comment of the day, congratulations...
    DAalsethbaconstangracerhomie3claire1rhinotuffchiajamiellkruppmwhitemacxpress
  • Reply 7 of 71
    Even if they are original batteries (and the cost listed is suspiciously low) he doesn't have import rights. That's would likely be a trademark violation.

    Or the parts were diverted from Apple's supply chain, so stolen.

    Or counterfeit.

    I don't think he can win this one.

    He should have just sourced batteries domestically from OWC/Newertech or another vendor of quality replica batteries.
    magman1979backstabracerhomie3chiamwhitechasmjony0
  • Reply 8 of 71
    asciiascii Posts: 5,936member
    mknelson said:
    Even if they are original batteries (and the cost listed is suspiciously low) he doesn't have import rights.
    Oh, I hadn't considered that. I was thinking it could be quickly resolved and Customs probably owed him an apology, but I guess even with genuine products, you don't automatically have the right to send them over international borders. It's up to the government of each country to set the rules at their borders.
  • Reply 9 of 71
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,756member
    The ball is is in his court now. He can fight it out, preferably silently for our sake, and let us know the outcome. It's his $50,000 so let's see if he follows through on his threat. 
    magman1979chasm
  • Reply 10 of 71
    larz2112 said:
    This is how I feel about Apple's repair policy and general strategy of creating an ecosystem based on serfdom.


    You win for most ignorant comment of the day, congratulations...
    Sensitive aren’t we? It’s actually quite funny!
    toysandme
  • Reply 11 of 71
     I didn’t know YouTube repair personalities was a thing. 
    magman1979toysandme
  • Reply 12 of 71
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,029member
    ascii said:
    mknelson said:
    Even if they are original batteries (and the cost listed is suspiciously low) he doesn't have import rights.
    Oh, I hadn't considered that. I was thinking it could be quickly resolved and Customs probably owed him an apology, but I guess even with genuine products, you don't automatically have the right to send them over international borders. It's up to the government of each country to set the rules at their borders.
    In order to import genuine products, you would need a letter of license from the manufacturer. I'm pretty sure Louis Rossmann doesn't have one. He's an idiot thinking Apple is conspiring with the government. He just got unlucky CBP went through his package. I'm sure CBP saw the batteries and didn't see a letter of license so they assumed the batteries are counterfeit. Either way, Rossmann has no case at all. 
    PickUrPoison
  • Reply 13 of 71
    larryalarrya Posts: 524member
    tokyojimu said:
     I didn’t know YouTube repair personalities was a thing. 
    It is.  I just started checking out his videos yesterday.  He is skilled, and smart.  It can be mesmerizing to watch him diagnose and repair a laptop.
    majorslmacguidysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamtoysandme
  • Reply 14 of 71
    majorslmajorsl Posts: 52unconfirmed, member
    If you watch his videos, he does make some good points about Apple's insanity on some repair issues.  Been watching him for awhile, I always wished I could do component work like he does.
    dysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamtoysandme
  • Reply 15 of 71
    larryalarrya Posts: 524member
    If these batteries were salvaged from old laptops, why would he need "import rights" or anything else to buy them?
    dysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 71
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,289member
    Those of you who haven't watched Rossmann's YouTube videos really should.  I originally had issues with his rants, but after watching a lot of his repair videos, I really have quite a bit of respect for the guy.  He reminds me of those old-school honest, garage repairman prodigies.  He really knows his stuff and he genuinely wants to put the customer first.  He makes a sh!tload of money (I'm guessing) in repairing machines that Apple will not service, or makes it too expensive to service.

    I've seen quite a few of his videos where a customer has a MacBook serviced BY APPLE, or the customer purchased a refurbished MacBook (FROM APPLE) and showing to the world the dismal quality of the repair.  Bad solders, grimy PCB, etc.. Rossman knows his stuff.  I'll give him that.

    On the flip side, Rossmann is a very angry person when it comes to Apple's corporate decisions.  He makes a good living pandering to the Applehaters and YouTube trolls, but I'll give him credit where credit is due.  That news report was damning to Apple and frankly, Apple deserved it.  It was beyond an embarrassment how Apple's genius people essentially lied to the customer, only to have Rossman fully document on video the problem and was fixed (for free) in minutes, or give an option to properly repair the problem for $75-$150.  That's old-school pride.

    I see both sides.  I understand Apple's position with 3rd-party repairs, but I also see point that Rossmann makes.  The reality is that people that have their Apple products serviced by 3rd party people - only to have them break again - will simply blame Apple in the end, which is why I know why Apple does what they do.  However, people like Rossmann should have the ability and tools necessary to repair Mac products.  

    The reality is that it's hard to find people with Rossmann's technical abilities that will work for shops like Apple.  They most likely would not be able to afford him, or people like him.  It's sad but true.  
    edited October 19 racerhomie3dysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamtoysandme
  • Reply 17 of 71
    What a sad, pathetic little YouTubing troll... Spend $50k to get $1k of batteries? Dude, you have issues, not to mention an over-sized tinfoil hat if you think Apple conspired with US Border agents to seize batteries because of your stupid CBC rant, which doesn't do anyone any favours.
    Magman1979, you obviously haven’t seen his videos! And you yourself could be defined as a troll for spouting off with zero background knowledge of his case!
    dysamoriasingularitymuthuk_vanalingamtoysandme
  • Reply 18 of 71
    tokyojimu said:
     I didn’t know YouTube repair personalities was a thing. 
    He is a good repair guy. But he is a bit nuts. I think he is doing valuable work for the Apple ecosystem. 
    dysamoriatoysandme
  • Reply 19 of 71
    claire1claire1 Posts: 479unconfirmed, member
    This guy is one of the most stupid youtubers on youtube.

    His stupidity and ignorance has gained him a ton of iKnockoff slaves who use him as a reliable source.



    lkrupp said:
    Because we now live in a conspiratorial environment where no one believes the government or corporations this kind of story lives on. Many of us still believe LBJ ordered the Kennedy assassination, the Moon landing was faked, the Twin Towers was an inside job ordered by George Bush. We now have Apple and Amazon on record as saying it didn’t happen and many here on AI don’t believe them even though there would be very serious legal and financial repercussions if they lied. All the government security agencies are saying they have not seen any evidence of doctored motherboards, and Bloomberg cannot provide such a board for inspection. Again, many don’t believe anything the government says because, you know, those jet contrails you see in he sky are actually the government spraying Prozac laced chemicals on the population to keep us subdued. It’s now Bloomberg against the corporations and the government and Bloomberg is to be believed because it’s a ‘news’ source and unimpeachable. Really? Where are the corroborating reports from other news outlets? Do they not have the ability to investigate the veracity of Bloombergs claims or they ‘ in on it’ too?
    Not even close.


    Conspiracy theories have evidence. This was just a rumor someone made for clicks. This is the 21st century version of conspiracies where you tubers and facebook posts are the source.

    Told ya.

    tokyojimu said:
     I didn’t know YouTube repair personalities was a thing. 

    Never heard of him and I’m OK with that.

    I don't know why AppleInsider is making this clickbait troll famous. He's so full of s*** and anti-Apple it's sad. Unbox Therapy 2.0.
    magman1979
  • Reply 20 of 71
    claire1claire1 Posts: 479unconfirmed, member

    jmulchino said:
    What a sad, pathetic little YouTubing troll... Spend $50k to get $1k of batteries? Dude, you have issues, not to mention an over-sized tinfoil hat if you think Apple conspired with US Border agents to seize batteries because of your stupid CBC rant, which doesn't do anyone any favours.
    Magman1979, you obviously haven’t seen his videos! And you yourself could be defined as a troll for spouting off with zero background knowledge of his case!
    I've watched his anti-Apple biased crap and magman is right. This guy is still talking about Bendgate in 2018
    magman1979
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