Apple’s newest strategy to sale iPhones seems to be garnering a lot of attention. As we have already talked about Apple has decided to brick the phones of users that have had third party repairs done to their fragile iPhones. Just yesterday I questioned the ethics behind this decision. And shortly after writing that post, I discovered that Apple has now made it impossible for users to downgrade back to iOS 9.2. While Apple closing the downgrade window to users is nothing new, users who are only now discovering about Error 53 cannot protect themselves by moving back to the previous version.
Apple wants users to have their phones repaired only by Apple, and have previously taken actions such as using proprietary screws and even replacing standard screws with these pentalobe screws when users brought their phones in to be repaired. Without telling the users of course. Now, Apple has taken it to the extreme. Not only making it more difficult for users to repair their own phones, not only voiding the warranty, but quite literally bricking their phones. Making them permanently unusable.
Like many of Apple’s practices, I questioned the ethics of this decision. Now, other’s are questioning the legality. In the UK, barrister Richard Colbey of Lamb Chambers has stated that Apple’s policy likely breaches basic UK consumer laws citing the Criminal Damage Act of 1971. This law states: “A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.”
Good on the UK for having such a law in place. I find the law quite reasonable. And I believe Apple’s policy is in direct violation of the law.
Meanwhile across the pond, here in the US, the beginnings of a class action lawsuit is already taking place. Seattle based law firm PCVA is asking for victims to get in touch with them for an impending suit. PCVA states on their website,
We hope to find out why Apple implements a policy where end users aren’t free to choose someone other than Apple to repair their devices. We believe that Apple may be intentionally forcing users to use their repair services, which cost much more than most third party repair shops. Where you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for $50-80, Apple charges $129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.
Think of it this way: Let’s say you bought a car, and had your alternator replaced by a local mechanic. Under Apple’s strategy, your car would no longer start because you didn’t bring it to an official dealership. They intentionally disable your car because you tried to fix it yourself.
That is wrong, and we hope to prove that it violates various consumer protection laws in the United States.
What do you think? Do you think we shall see this reach the courts? Will Apple get away with bricking user’s phones? Or do you think Apple will backpedal before it reaches that point? Does Taylor Swift need to push Apple in to doing the right thing again?
If you or anyone you know has fallen victim to Error 53 encourage them to contact PCVA here.
source: The Guardian