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Investigation reveals abusive practices in Apple's independent repair program

In August 2019, Apple extended its repair program in the United States to independent companies. Through the Independent Repair Provider Program (IRPP), the Cupertino giant has committed itself to providing establishments with the same parts, tools, training, repair manuals and genuine diagnostics that it makes available to Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). However, his intentions would not be so "kind", since it would be forcing companies to sign contracts with abusive clauses.

The investigation carried out by Motherboard managed to gain access to the contract that Apple obliges independent companies to sign in order to participate in the IRPP. The document states that the apple company can appear at any time in one of the stores for surprise audits. The inspections aim to verify that the company in question is using prohibited components.

If an independent establishment uses counterfeit Apple components or infringes its intellectual property, it risks fines. The contract indicates that the company will have to pay around 1,000 dollars for each transaction carried out that involves parts that are not legitimate.

Even if a company decides to exit the IRPP, Apple can continue to inspect it for five years. In addition, all independent repair companies that sign the contract are required to share information about their customers with Apple, including data such as names, telephone contacts and addresses.

Customers who repair their iPhones at independent stores that are part of the IRPP will have to sign a document stating that they are aware that they are not receiving a service from an Apple authorized store and, therefore, the warranty on the equipment is no longer be valid.

It is recalled that the implementation of the Independent Repair Provider Program came about a year and a half after the right to repair law arrived in California, where Apple is based. The legislation allows companies to start providing repair guides and official replacement parts to their customers or independent professionals to provide a quality service. This measure made the repair market more competitive, increasing its quality and lowering invoice prices.