Why Do You Care About Your Right to Repair Gadgets?


Tech products are among our most expensive home purchases, and their prices continue to rise. Not long ago, a high-end smartphone was priced at $650. Today, new Apple and Samsung phones start at $700 and $800.

According to a study by the US Public Interest Group, the average household would save $330 a year if they repaired products instead of replacing them, which amounts to $40 billion nationwide.

By extending the life of your gadgets, you also use more of the energy, metals, plastics and human labor that went into creating the product.

There are several obstacles to repairing consumer electronics that can make it daunting.

  • Basic repairs like replacing a smashed screen or dead battery aren’t simple. Modern tools are so thin and glued together that special tools are often needed to open them. Buying genuine parts isn’t easy either – you can’t go to the Apple or Samsung website to order replacement screens or batteries, for example.

  • Repairing essential components is becoming more and more practical for unauthorized repair shops, especially on Apple phones. Independent repairers said many key parts inside new iPhones, including cameras, batteries and screens, require special software tools to get the job done.

  • Going to Apple and Microsoft retail stores and authorized repair shops is a simple option, but the costs there can be so high that you might be persuaded to buy a new device. When I took my wife’s iPhone to an Apple Store this year, I was offered $280 to replace a broken touchscreen, or about 40 percent of the price of a brand new iPhone. Instead, I took another route.

Independent repairers gain access to tools, parts, and instructions for repair when they sign up for partnerships with technology companies to become authorized service centers. But Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, which publishes free user manuals for people to restore their devices, said many independent repairers are shut down under contract terms to be authorized.

A requirement of being an authorized Apple repair center includes collecting detailed service records, including customer names, product serial numbers, and mailing addresses. This information should be provided to Apple in the event of an audit to verify that repairs have been made correctly. Even if a repair provider terminates its contract with Apple, it must agree to continue sharing this information with the company for two years.

There’s also the issue of price. Shakeel Taiyab, an independent mechanic in South San Francisco, said he charges customers lower prices because he buys genuine parts from channels such as electronics repairers who remove working components from faulty devices. (He charged me $180 to fix my wife’s iPhone screen and reduced the Apple store by $100.)

Mr. Taiyab said that if he became an authorized provider, he would abide by the rules that could cause prices to rise for his customers – something he said he didn’t want to do.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *