Australian regulator sues Apple for disabling iPhone, iPad units that received third party repairs

Australian regulator sues Apple for disabling iPhone, iPad units that received third party repairs
Apple is being sued again. Today, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) instigated the suit, filing the action in the country's Federal Court. The regulatory agency accuses Apple of disabling hundreds of Apple iPhone and Apple iPad units because they were repaired by third party repair shops that were unauthorized. In February 2016, certain Apple iPhone 6 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus users found that their devices were bricked after the Touch ID button was worked on by unauthorized third party repairmen.

The devices would run normally at first until they were updated to iOS 9. At that point, the affected iPhone and iPad units would stop working and show an "error 53" message. While Apple told owners of these so called "error 53" devices to contact them, some in the U.S. also contacted their lawyers and a class action suit was filed. The suit was subsequently thrown out of court. Eventually, Apple sent out a patch allowing affected iPhone and iPad models to update to iOS 9.2.1 by connecting to iTunes over a Mac or PC. 

Apple admitted that the "error 53" message was designed to be a security check to protect Apple customers. When the components inside the Touch ID module don't match other components inside an iPhone or iPad, the Touch ID module is disabled. Many unauthorized third party repair firms could not match the components after a repair. Apparently, this violated Australian Consumer Law. As a result, the ACCC has gone to court and wants the judge to throw the book at Apple.

The regulatory agency is seeking injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, other penalties and costs. Even though the story hit the media in early 2016 when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus was involved, error 53 messages on iOS devices repaired by an unauthorized repair shop go back earlier than that. For its law suit, the ACCC says that its timeline covers the period from September 2014 through February 2016.


source: ACCC via AppleInsider

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16 Comments

1. kiko007

Posts: 7491; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Derp...

11. sgodsell

Posts: 6855; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Apple, the Hitler of computing.

2. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3091; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

3. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

"WHAT" -Lil Jon

4. AlikMalix unregistered

Hey, if Apple broke a law in whichever country it wants to do business in, then the lawsuit is necessary... if Apple did not break a law, and consumers have agreed to apple's security measures than lawsuit will not win... I say, let it play out...

7. TheOracle1

Posts: 2047; Member since: May 04, 2015

You're correct of course. But can you name any manufacturer of any product in the world that does something like this? At worst they may void your warranty. Disabling the device when it's not been reported as stolen or compromised is exploitative. This is why there's now legislation in several states for consumers to choose who can repair their items. Of course Apple is fighting it tooth and nail because their policies are bull$hit. I've never bought an Apple product but do you sign something agreeing that they can do this?

9. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1306; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

You never sign but if you read that little warranty booklet that comes in the box, many of them state that you don't actually own the device. Many companies state that your purchase is actually some sort of rental/loan/lease. It also usually says that they can do whatever they want to it later on. Of course that fits out the window when a law says otherwise.

10. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

That's usually for digital content like games, movies and so on, this includes physical discs too, but I haven't seen this for physical products. On one hand, Apple is "protecting" the consumer from bad repairs by untrained repairer. On the other hand, Apple is forcing you to repair with their athourized retailer or then themselves and charging more. It's just an issue of balancing out here.

13. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The only except is situations beyond your control, liek weather knocking out phone service. In the US, the FCC requires that all phones, whether mobile or landline, must if at all cost have access to 9/11(Emergency Service) or the O (Operator). PERIOD. Recently and I wasnt aware, t_Mobile did gimp the Note 7 to not work on their network. I didnt notice because i am usually on Wifi. But they remove the ability for me to use LTE. But I could send and receive texts and make and receive calls, I just could get on the internet without wifi. But I never noticed because I have wifi at home, wifi in the car and wifi in my office. So I;m never really ever not on wifi, because I have a MIFI device via Verizon. It was only when I went to a area where I didnt get service that I noticed I had no LTE. When I reboot my phone, it failed to register on T-Mo LTE network. But even though they gimped the Note 7, it still made calls and still worked on Wifi. What Apple did, totally bricked the phone and put literally millions of lives in jeopardy. Like another posted said, Apple is fighting against having 3rd party repairs done on their phones. Because they want the money for their always breaking phones. The only phone in history to have a 58% failure rate. No product has ever been that way. They are gonna lose this case. See the US FCC didnt bring a suit because the US gov't is in bed with most corps here. But if you are an outsider like Samsung, they try to punish you even illegally and you have to spend money to fight and win.

6. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

Good job ACCC.

8. SIGPRO

Posts: 2810; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

And that's why apple sucks!

14. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

There fans too. Because you don't see any of them here trying to defend them either. Knowing they have no leg to stand on. If Samsung had done this though, oh my god, imagine the comments. But it is Apple so the trolls are hiding. Just like trolls do! I do understand Apple gimping the FPS, because its a security feature of the phone. But bricking the whole phone though is a bad idea because it could have coause the lose of life. Apple doesn't care, there products have killed people and Apple has done nothign to fix it either.

12. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The US FCC should have did the same. The law in the US prevent a carrier from totally cuttin phoen service do to somethign like non-payment. As with a landline, you still can call the carriers or call 9/11. When Apple totally bricked phones, they also took away the ability for emergency calls. If millions of peopel did 3rd party repairs, Apple purposely and knowing bricked their phones and every country including the US should be suing them. Someone who updated their phone could have been in a terrible accident which cost them life because their phone stopped working because Apple gimped it. T_mobile I didnt know, but 3 weeks ago banded the Note 7 on its network. But my phone still was working. But after a factory reset, the phone failed to register on their LTE network, but I could still make phone calls and get text messages, but I couldn't get on the internet without wifi. They took away data, not he phone main function which is making calls. What Apple did is wrong, and they should be sued heavily. Whoever the engineer was who did that, should be fired.

15. kiko007

Posts: 7491; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

You're hopelessly stupid...

16. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

That's not what your mom told me. She said you were!

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