Apple out-of-warranty repair program an 'improvement' for consumers, but business holds concerns

Apple has launched a program through which Australian businesses can sign up to get parts required for out-of-warranty repairs of its phones and computers. Picture: Shutterstock.
Apple has launched a program through which Australian businesses can sign up to get parts required for out-of-warranty repairs of its phones and computers. Picture: Shutterstock.

Apple's new program to allow more out-of-warranty phone and computer repairs is hoped to boost choice for consumers and has been heralded as a step in the right direction to end the cycle of replace, not repair.

However, not all business owners are convinced by the tech giant's Independent Repair Provider Program.

The program, open to all Australian businesses, will allow them to sign up to access Apple parts, tools and training to do out-of-warranty repairs on phones and computers.

ACT Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury welcomed the initiative as a step forward for the right to repair movement he has been championing for years, which aims to promote the creation of quality products which can be repaired rather than replaced.

"This is an improvement on the previous situation, where consumers were locked out of repairing their products because manufacturers don't allow third parties to repair them," he said.

"The ability for local businesses to get access to parts directly from the manufacturer is a win for 'right to repair' ... and the ACT's goals for sustainability.

"This will allow small businesses to break into a market previously dominated by bigger companies and provide greater consumer choice."

Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury said Apple's program was a step forward, but had limitations. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury said Apple's program was a step forward, but had limitations. Picture: Keegan Carroll

Mr Rattenbury acknowledged the limitations of the "Apple-controlled regime" and said he was not aware of how it would limit third-party repairers.

Zeal Moses runs a dedicated iPhone repair store, Custom Iphones, and said while the program would provide customers more choice, it would corner businesses into using Apple parts.

He currently sources third-party parts for repair from a Sydney stockist. He said the parts were cheaper and often sourced from the same manufacturers as Apple.

Mr Moses was concerned the program would be "invasive" to third-party repair stores like his.

The Productivity Commission launched an inquiry into the right to repair in November. The inquiry is focused on consumers' ability to repair goods and access services at competitive prices. More than 143 submissions have been lodged so far.

"My hope is that a detailed examination by the Productivity Commission will allow the 'right to repair' concept to be imported into the Australian context, resulting in reforms," Mr Rattenbury said.

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This story Apple program an 'improvement' to customer rights, but questions remain first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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