From what I understand, factories would receive an order from Apple for X units. They would make 10-20% extra, deliver X to Apple, then sell the extra out the back door of the factory.
These parts would make their way onto eBay and I would buy them.
I still get spam LinkedIn messages 7 years later from cell phone repair parts dealers in China.
In my case AFAIK they were legitimate parts, not backwards engineered. Made by the exact same people, just siphoned out of the supply chain.
Very common in outsourced manufacturing, it's called a "ghost shift" (contracted orders are made 9-5 and a "ghost shift" works later to produce extras). Presumably Apple wised up to this eventually.
Repairing electronics is also super cheap here. I went from thinking I needed to buy a new device to just realizing that everything can be repaired since the cost of labor is almost nothing here and the parts come directly from China.
The goal? remove alternatives, _any_ small defect = 'genius' telling you to buy new $1-2K device. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2_SZ4tfLns
I brought my out-of-warranty iPhone to the store last week because its battery was swelling, and they couldn't replace the battery due to employee safety issues. So they simply gave me a brand-new identical phone for the $29 battery replacement price.
In my experience, Apple goes further out of their way to give customers low-cost or even free replacements in far more cases than I've ever seen any other company do.
I took a 14 month old iPhone 7 into the store which wouldn't charge or communicate via the lightning port. In the engineer's words it was "in perfect condition".
They couldn't repair it, wouldn't do anything because I didn't have apple care and the only way to get around it was a new device.
Nice paperweight though
It could've been something trivial though, lint tends to pile up in the back of the lightning port, eventually causing the problem you described. Poking the back of the port with a needle or something often helps.
Tried cleaning it, there's no dirt or anything in there
I must say, I'm still wondering why Apple gets a pass on the "usb charging for all phones" laws.
I've built my own PCs for a decade, every hardware manufacturer I've dealt with has a better RMA policy than Apple.
My experience: I replaced my laptop screen thru iFixit and the replacement part had a "soft focus" camera. It also has worse backlight bleed+a little bit less contrast than the official part, and a dead pixel.
They had good customer service and when I complained about the camera and they refunded me some money, but next time I will probably (begrudgingly) pay the Apple tax.
1 sold defective devices in the first place, hence 'battery replacement' program aka lets do something after ignoring years of public pressure, but just before big lawsuit comes (famous Fight Club recall equation).
2 designed products and procedures in such a way as to minimize the ability of repair by non specialized technical personnel. Glued parts, sneaky short holes and different length screws, LCD screens blowing backlight circuit if you unplug them without unplugging battery first, etc.
You should care because one day the issue you have will not impact thousands of customers and.or will not raise to the level that a class action lawsuit would be possible and you will be one of the thousands of people that have been screwed over by Apple's business practices...
I am sure this will fall of deaf ears though hopefully you will remember your attitude on this day when you are standing in front of a "Genius" refusing to help you
From a business and service perspective, Apple repair must first fix the liquid damage that may be causing the dim screen. Replacing the screen without first fixing the liquid damage may simply reproduce the issue and/or damage a new screen.
The customer balks at the quoted price asks the Apple Genius Bar rep if there are other options.
The Genius Bar rep hesitates and informs the customer there are no other options under Apple repair.
Of course there are other options outside of Apple authorized repair, but it is likely against Apple policy to recommend an alternative (i.e. assuming indirect liability for poorly executed 3rd-party repairs).
That said, in this case it seems entirely reasonable for Apple repair to proceed by first fixing the most obvious damage that may be causing the issue. While this approach may be more expensive than is necessary, it's also more likely to produce the desired result if the issue were not caused by the screen itself.
Paying money for premium service is anathema to many consumer advocates, but Apple is well known to meet their obligations for devices protected by AppleCare while only doing the bare minimum for devices outside of warranty. From a practical standpoint, buying AppleCare is highly advisable given the likelihood of device failure inside of 3 years, the cost of repairing such failures, and (most importantly in my opinion) the extraordinarily high level of service Apple provides should something go wrong inside the warranty window.
I apologize if all the above seems like bias toward Apple, which I readily admit. I have been a customer of Apple for nearly 40 years and while I have sometimes been disappointed with some of Apple's polices and products, I have almost always felt well-treated by Apple repair.
EDIT: Changes to penultimate paragraph to better highlight the value of AppleCare as a contractual service. Change "extraordinary" to "extraordinarily".
Apple's humidity sensors are known to go red in humid environments (like your pants pockets or your backpack on a hot day) whether there's liquid damage or not.
All Louis had to do was look at the motherboard to see the bent connector.
There was no liquid damage and the Apple "liquid damage" stickers should never be used as an actual indicator liquid damage, Apple put them on devices for legal cover when they wanted to deny warranty repairs not as a actual gauge for when a product was actually damaged by liquid. They are known to have a hair trigger and "activate" i.e change color in the presence of water vapor in the air (i.e high humidity common in some places where one would use a apple device)
The Apple "liquid damage" stickers is one in a LONG LONG LONG line of anti-consumer business practices
As for Android, there are a great many official repair locations. They simply aren't run by the phonemakers. As with cars, most repairs are done by licensed and trained repair shops (like UBreakIFix, for Samsungs).
Let's not give Apple false credit and distort the reality of how consumer electronics are repaired.
This scam was a natural side effect of Apple completely locking down their parts supply chain. We've seen from Linus Tech Tips and Louis Rossmann that it's nigh-on-impossible to legitimately purchase parts without becoming a Apple Authorized Service Provider. Even when you've gone that far, some parts are on a one-in-one-out policy. Running a repair shop where you can't keep spares on site is crippling. And becoming and remaining an AASP is an lengthy and recurrently expensive process. None of this is compatible with those generic stalls that can replace your screen for £20, or the DIY market on eBay and beyond.
All these users want parts that Apple won't supply. This demand creates a vacuum that black and grey markets are all too happy to fill. By that point people don't care where the parts came from, as long as they do the job. I'm not defending anything here. They are stealing (and elsewhere, illegally copying products) from Apple to supply a black market demand. I'm just pointing out that leaving a demand unsatisfied causes its own problems.
If Apple just sold parts direct to market, they'd solve 90% of this problem overnight. I'd happily pay more than the Ebay crap because I'd know they were genuine parts.
This is fraud not a right to repair issue.
OP isn't justifying the criminal's behavior, just suggesting that the illegal market would evaporate overnight if Apple sold these parts to anyone.
Remember, these criminals essentially get these parts for "free", they can undercut Apple even if Apple sells at cost.
And Apple never sells anything at cost.
I mean, yeah, they would be cheaper, but that's the case for anything stolen. Yet we don't have an epidemic of all shops in the USA selling stolen goods they got for cheap.
Western society is pretty conformist. Give us a legitimate way to purchase something and most of us will feel more comfortable using it. Even if that means paying more.
The people selling these boards had the market to themselves.
I didn't say anything about "right to repair" but if there were one, I can only imagine that would come with a demand that electronics manufacturers make parts available (which would obsolesce the black market).
As long as the law allows Apple to restrict the supply then what they're doing is just immoral, not illegal. What those fraudsters are doing though is both. They're not stealing just to fix their own phones, they're not doing it as a "public service", they're stealing to line their pockets.
Pretty sure that if someone stole from you the excuse above wouldn't be acceptable regardless of the circumstances.
[Later Edit] Had no idea there are so many "Robin Hoods" on HN.
Its history of hostility towards self-repair and independent professional repair basically precludes them from complaining about the grey markets and black markets in Apple device repair parts. Of course the black marketeers are in it to line their own pockets. They wouldn't be able to do that if Apple weren't artificially restricting the supply! It couldn't be a racket without Apple's help.
Apple elected to operate the Apple repair business as a monopoly, restricting supply to raise prices, and parasitic businesses are trying to siphon some of the monopoly profit off. It's illegal, but that's just one factor in the economic analysis of potential [criminal] entrepreneurs.
It isn't that they deserve to be plundered by poor thieves because they are rich, but that they deserve to lose some of their repair revenues because their repair policies are unreasonable in the opinion of some consumers.
Aside from that, I'm glad that they're combating the fraud on their own, rather than pushing the problem onto national criminal justice systems as an externality of their business. But that's mainly because they believe Chinese cops would be uncooperative in prosecuting Chinese citizens on behalf of a foreign-owned company.
This is not about what Apple is doing, it's about people justifying stealing and suddenly finding it OK because Apple is on the other end. Of course I'm not OK with what Apple is doing but morally you can't justify doing something shitty because "they" do it too.
> Apple elected to operate the Apple repair business as a monopoly
Again, this is trying to justify stealing. The way they choose to run their business does not justify breaking the law. It justifies changing it.
> they deserve to lose some of their repair revenues because their repair policies are unreasonable
And doing that by stealing or justifying this method makes you no better than them or the fraudsters. If you want them to lose revenue buy/repair with someone else, don't steal.
How is this different from someone stealing a phone and saying "it's because Apple made them so unreasonably expensive"?
It reminded me of this parody: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51-hepLP8J4
Actually, you can. It is not a criminal defense, but it is an equitable defense, and the court of public opinion is a court of equity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_hands
To be more nuanced, it isn't justifying the stealing so much as ignoring Apple's complaints when they whine about it. Who are we to care if two blackguards are to brawl in the gutter? It's bad that the stealing by fraud is happening. But because it is Apple that is the victim, I am entirely unwilling to help them with this problem that they brought upon themselves with their own avarice.
And that's fine. They're dealing with it alone, apparently. But not with my revenues. I won't willingly enter the garden with the highest walls and the most dongles with proprietary patented connectors and the most secret repair procedures. I can still hate the thieves while expressing zero or negative sympathy to the victim.
The situation is akin to a heroin dealer getting robbed of his cash. The robber is scum for stealing money, but so too is the dealer scum for peddling poison to junkies in lieu of a more ethical product with lower margins. I'd have more sympathy for a marijuana dispensary, and perhaps some actual motivation to punish the robber if the victim were an entirely-lawful pharmacy. If you want a society to help you with your problems, you need to do things that the society likes.
In short, until Apple respects right to repair and starts selling genuine repair parts at reasonable cost (including bureaucratic procedural cost), I won't care one whit that they're being fleeced for billions on repair fraud.
In the meantime Apple is immoral for profit. You’re immoral out of principle.
As I said before, in the court of public opinion even rape is justifiable by what the victim did (Dressed too provocatively? Got too drunk? Deserved it). “The public said it, must be correct”.
You sure made your point insulting me... Congratulations, following the values of decency and of HN to the letter. You’re definitely perfectly qualified to serve in the court of public opinion.
I completely understand your position. I simply consider it wrong and you brought no argument to support it besides “some random people on the internet agree with me”. This is everything suporting your position at this point. To support my position I have the law and an overwhelming consensus that stealing to line your pockets is wrong.
You have an opinion and an internet connection. And you won’t let something as insignificant as it being illegal stop you from strongly supporting it (insults included).
You will slowly realize why the court of public opinion is worthless when it comes to a moral judgement. Yes, great for a media circus and anonymous pearls of wisdom. Not so great for any judgement of value.
Your argument is extremely dangerous, it's no different from "of course you got robbed and beaten, what are you expecting when you walk into a dangerous neighborhood?"
There's a very important line between what's illegal/criminal (robbery, fraud) and what's merely objectionable/distasteful (not selling repair parts), and it's a dangerous game to confuse the two.
Apple knows it's increasing the reward of fraud — and therefore its own loss to fraud — by not selling parts. But Apple accepts that cost and chooses only to take enforcement actions, not market actions.
The practice described in this article is illegal, plain and simple. It's fraud. It is very much black and white. Finding some "moral" justification for why you may think it's OK to do it doesn't change this.
I know I'm going to get downvoted to hell but you're playing the victim blaming game. And yes, I know it sounds ridiculous to say Apple is a victim but it's still stealing and you're justifying it. Sounds a lot like the people who blame the rape victim for dressing "inappropriately" and "increasing the reward".
As a trillion-dollar company, I couldn't give less of a shit about its victimhood.
If you wanted a venue where everyone has to agree with you or shut up your living room was more appropriate.
And I’ll have to say your definition of “nobody” is extremely narrow based on the dynamic of the votes for those opinion “nobody cares about”.
Although I’ll admit the “I’m OK with stealing if the company is rich and I don’t like ‘em” group is in the lead.
agreed. this seems like a very transparent attempt to counter the growing anger over Apple's hostility to right-to-repair
And repairability forces tradeoffs of its own in other product qualities that people care a great deal about. The frustration people feel over the USA's crappy warranty and consumer protection policies is real and well deserved, but the repair thing is red herring from actually fixing that. In general legislation should focus on goals not means, means change rapidly and different people will desire different tradeoffs, that's what markets are actually good at figuring out. They don't have goals themselves, but they're good at optimizing towards goals and then dynamically adjusting over time.
I don't think the "right to repair" groups are all astroturfers and PR campaigns themselves, as well as companies that stand to profit I'm sure there are a few tinkerers who genuinely want it and a much bigger group that just hasn't thought deeply about it, but it's still frustrating to see all this energy finally boil up and end up in something that could be actively harmful to some stuff people like and misses the chance to actually internalize another set of costs and make everything work better. "Right to have dealt with for a time proportional to price paid" doesn't at all roll off the tongue as well but it'd be much better law.
Edit: I hope people will not get too bogged down with lack of implementation details here, this post is not a research paper and I could have been more precise (and maybe doing such a thing would genuinely be a worthwhile exercise). Objections have been raised about accidental breakage for example, and I got confused by one reply, while I think the price should remain external for that one but can see an argument that the availability for an extra time period should not. Ie., if you break it then the manufacturer isn't on the hook for the cost (though you can insure) but the manufacturer should still be required to deal with it at cost for an extended time, maybe even after the main coverage period ends. The main take home I wanted to argue was that "repairability" is just one tool in the box, and at least in the legislation attempts I've seen there doesn't seem to be acknowledgement that features like security, worse active matter to dead matter ratios, and durability can all be negatively impacted by "repairability". Implementation details would absolutely have to be carefully examined and argued about, but I stand by the goal being that products "last a reasonable time" and should never be a lottery for the public.
None of us should have to wonder about invisible failure rates and repair/replace costs of any sort when browsing the aisle in a store or pages online, that should be the responsibility of whomever is making it. They're the ones best placed to price it in, and to work and innovate to make that price lower or the value higher in whatever way they deem fit.
What you’re proposing is much more reliant on apple than right to repair would be.
so If I am clumsy and accidentially break my display of my macbook (entirely my fault), apple should replace it for free?
And again "deal with it", it's up to them how. A replacement would obviously do it, but so would a repair, the whole point is each manufacturer could optimize for what they think is the best approach. Some will in fact go for easy repairability part swapping, so basically making each individual repair as cheap as possible. Others will work to increase their QA to reduce overall incident rate, so despite each individually costing more the overall rate would still be acceptable. There will be efforts to leverage the value offered by more compact systems into higher profit margins which then can help offset repair/replace costs too. Etc, everyone will do their own thing, and consumers will see in the sticker price all of that internalized for each company and know that no matter what they buy they can expect it to be taken care of for a reasonable period of time without any "extended warranty" shenanigans (extended warranties should only be necessary for professional/enterprise customers who really need a support cycle completely divorced from standard consumer usage and they can negotiate that and any SLAs themselves).
So no, we dont need "problems dealt with at zero monetary cost", we need hardware we can fix ourself. If you dont have a right to repair it yourself, you're at the mercy of the hardware provider, even if the screen only costs 1/10th of the quoted price, and you could do it yourself.
I made an edit, I think I misunderstood you and I apologize. It may be for example that there should be provisions requiring that accidents are still covered within a time period "at cost" though not for free.
But if you want "hardware you can fix yourself" as a feature in and of itself, then I think you should just be asking that of the market and buying accordingly, I don't think it's a universal. And I want the option to sacrifice that for other values when I deem it appropriate. For example, I use my smartphone for significant amounts of financial transactions, administrative access, and it has an enormous amount of highly personal information as well. I value it being highly sealed off (and would like it to be even more so, I'd be happy with a phone that's not just IP68 but good to 10 or 20 ATM too). How do you propose to legislatively require a "right to repair" there while not having that break the hardware trust chain? How does it interact with value of sealing and form factor? It seems to me that everyone has different needs there, which in turn suggests to me that it's not something to legislatively require but rather leave it up to the market. On the other hand that someone should be able to buy something and have it last a reasonable time period and if broken it should be replaceable/repairable at cost seems like it should be part of the price. Am I totally off on that to you?
FWIW I don't think the same applies to software, in that case I think it should be required by law that owners may load their own private keys in addition to whatever the manufacturer offers. But right now I really think the option to buy into features like a hardware trust chain where I need never worry about anyone but the minimum of the original manufacturer (who is part of that by definition anyway) is desirable. I don't see how to avoid that meaning that 3rd party unauthorized repairs get closed off in turn. It's a tradeoff.
He wanted to pay for the repairs, and Apple refused.
He then tried to buy the parts separately, and apparently if you got them from Apple, it would cost more than the computer was worth.
He eventually managed to source the parts through various people at a reasonable cost and repair his broken iMac with Louis Rossman.
Here are some of the videos (I'm sure I missed a couple, but it's a very interesting series of videos)
Insurance is for accidents; warranty is for their failures. And they have had a number of problems with pretty much every generation of product that would fall under warranty - delaminating screens (got it), broken speakers (got it), antennagate, etc.
That overheating problem was well known, and it took a long time for Apple to recognize the problem and issue a repair order. It was long enough that the AppleCare expired for those who got the MBP right after release, like me.
Because the problem was really bad (logic board replacements had the same issue, and the problem would recur within a couple of months) that a lot of people who had bricked MBP's disposed of them, sometimes at a heavy loss.
I was lucky I didn't throw my bricked MBP in the bin, so when the repair order finally arrived months after my MBP bricked, I was able to get it fixed. I had switched to Windows in that time, and I ended up unloading it to a friend of mine (with full disclosures of its lineage).
If Apple had it's way in future in a similar scenario, I could not fix it locally and cheap or the working parts could not be reused to fix other people devices.
I had a laptop that broke before(my fault), I went with it at shop and the motherboard needed to be replaced, I did not want to spend money on that but I could sell to them my remaining working components if I wanted too(screen and RAM) I did that and I still have somewhere the CPU,motherboard and the rest of the components.
isn't this a "guarantee for faulty goods"?
"Under EU rules you always have the right to a minimum 2-year guarantee at no cost, regardless of whether you bought your goods online, in a shop or by mail order."
If a hard drive breaks at random, good luck proving it's not built as designed.
Hard drives is a bad example though, given how many hard drive manufacturers offer a 5 year factory warranty themselves (or this used to be the case anyway).
And if it's by design, that's a class action lawsuit.
> The quality of goods is satisfactory if they meet the standard that a reasonable person would consider satisfactory [...] The quality of goods includes their state and condition; and the following aspects (among others) are in appropriate cases aspects of the quality of goods [...] durability.
We have words for this - It is called "WARRANTY".
Warranty however does not fix post warranty-period defects and this is where "right to repair" enters.
Am I wrong about this?
It also lead to lower or possibly lowest price of electronic products in US compared to rest of the world. Once regulations for better protection is in place and price also will adjust.
That's exactly like saying that letting chemical manufacturers just dump waste products directly into a river "lead to lower or possibly lowest price of chemical products". The whole issue with externalized costs is that they are in fact still real costs, except that it's not reflected in the price people see and thus there is no pressure to work on lowering it. Someone is still paying, often even the same people buying (directly or indirectly), but the signal is diluted.
It's not as if failed electronic products don't impose costs on the US too, it's just that the failure rate isn't included in the price but instead falls arbitrarily and inefficiently on individuals and society. Including it in the price won't necessarily change anything at all for some companies, it will simply reveal what was there all along. Companies that can deal with it cheaply thanks to superior practices will rightly be able to offer better value then those that cannot, and that's exactly what we want!
Manufacturers should stand behind their products, AND I should have the right to myself or hire a 3rd party to repair the devices I own with out facing legal repercussions in the form of IP Limitations, or prohibition on obtaining parts, manuals, schematics, etc. nor be prohibited from disseminating information on how to repair devices, creating tools to repair devices (including circumventing DRM protections), etc.
This is what Right to Repair is for, it is a separate issue from what you are looking to accomplish
That's marketing speak for "they used invisible ink and a UV lamp"
Considering that Apple is the biggest company in Silicon Valley, and every bar and night club bouncer from Boston to Bangkok has access to UV ink, it’s pretty safe to say that this isn’t just hand stamp ink.
And then they can print a bar or QR code with exact tracking information and history for the part.
Why do they not include all the Genius Bar appointment slot has been pre booked and on-sale in Taobao?( At least some point in the past ) Getting Apple to look at their phone in a timely manner would have some help so people don't go to third party repair shop.
The amount of fraud was ridiculous. We would get at least a dozen attempts at replacing phones (and sometimes laptops) that were clearly tampered with. You would have people coming in with up to four appointments at a time, each time with a phone that had the same issue -- it wouldn't power on. Why? Because they short circuited the logic board on purpose.
If we rejected a claim for tampering, they would pretty much go right out the store and (this is what one of the loss prevention people told me at the time) someone would swap out the internal serial number sticker for one that was more likely to be not blacklisted, and try again at another store in the region the next day.
This happened every single day I worked there. I vividly remember one extra aggressive person trying to bully us into a replacement for half an hour after the store had already closed who had already been refused on six separate occasions from different stores in the market.
This fraud doesn't just happen in China, it's everywhere.
Be nice if someone could run the numbers though. After the time and monetary cost spent buying fake components, switching them, planning the deceit, managing 'actors' and adapting to Apple's countermeasures strategy, what's the margin on the stolen components?
I guess these are mostly labour costs though, so - if you're a gang - you outsource it to your minions.
"But as the problem started to have a material impact on Apple's financial sheet, to the tune of billions, the company began to take further action."
Multi-billion seems implausible. Really? Apple achieves its financial performance despite absorbing multiple billions of dollars in repair costs? And Apple took no action until billions were lost? I don't doubt this was an expensive scam, but extraordinary claims need to be better substantiated.
The report notes 2000 cases per week in the Shenzhen store. With 50 weeks per year, 500$ damage per phone, you need 20 store-years to reach a billion.
A quick check  shows that Apple has 40 stores in China (and that's not counting authorised repair centres), and the problem began 6 years ago.
So even assuming the other stores are not as problematic as the Shenzhen ones, the figure could be in the right ballpark.
Next, Apple has about USD 250 bn revenue, and 50 bn net income annually , so absorbing a billion here and there is not implausible.
EDIT for clarity.
Tech Companies are Learning from Hollywood on how to make up damage claims, RIAA started it by claiming every Download off Napster was a "lost sale" so they quickly got to millions and millions of lost sales...
Microsoft recently used similar "math" in the Recovery CD case to inflate the damages to send a man to prison for redistributing OEM Restore CD's instead of buying Microsoft's over priced "refurbished PC" license on computers that already had a valid OEM License
Companies like Apple are very very very good at inflating their losses especially when it comes to Courts and Taxes
After all customers should immediately notice that their iPhone has no iOS any more after they get it back from the fraudulent repair shop.
I bet they do.
The fake customer gets to keep the difference as a commission, or keep the iPhone if he prefers to. If the swapping fraud works, that's win/win in any case, except for Apple.
Not that simple.