Why should I care?
Tech products are some of our most expensive household purchases, and their prices are constantly rising. Not so long ago, a high-end smartphone was priced at $ 650. Today, new Apple and Samsung phones start at $ 700 and $ 800, respectively.
The average household would save $ 330 a year by repairing products instead of replacing them, which is $ 40 billion nationwide, according to a study by the US Public Interest Group.
By extending the life of your equipment, you would also invest more energy, metals, plastics, and human labor in making the product.
Why aren’t more people repairing their technology?
There are several barriers to home electronics repairing that can make them intimidating.
Basic repairs like replacing a broken screen or dead battery aren’t easy. Modern gadgets are so thin and firmly glued that you can usually pry them open with special tools. It’s also not easy to buy genuine parts – for example, you cannot order a replacement screen or battery from the Apple or Samsung websites.
Repairing basic components is also becoming more and more impractical for unauthorized workshops, especially with Apple cell phones. Many key parts in newer iPhones, including cameras, batteries, and screens, require proprietary software tools to get the job done, independent repairers said.
Going to Apple and Microsoft stores and authorized repair shops is an easy option, but the cost can be so high that you might be convinced to simply buy a new one. When I took my wife’s iPhone to an Apple store this year, I was given $ 280 to replace a broken touchscreen, about 40 percent of the price of a brand new iPhone. Instead, I switched to a different route.
Why are unauthorized fixers not authorized?
Independent repairers gain access to tools, parts, and repair guides when they partner with technology companies to become authorized service centers. However, Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit, which publishes free user guides for restoring their devices, said many independent repairs were turned off by the terms of the contract in order to be authorized.
A requirement to be an Apple Authorized Repair Center involves collecting detailed service records, including customer names, product serial numbers, and mailing addresses. This information will need to be provided to Apple in the event of an audit to ensure repairs have been properly performed. Even if a repair provider terminates their contract with Apple, they must agree to share this information with the company for another two years.
There is also the question of price. Shakeel Taiyab, an independent repair shop in South San Francisco, said it billed its customers lower prices for sourcing authentic parts from channels like electronics refurbishers that extract working components from broken equipment. (He charged me $ 180 to fix my wife’s iPhone screen, which undercut the Apple Store by $ 100.)
Mr Taiyab said if he became an authorized vendor he would follow the rules, which could lead to price increases for his customers – something he didn’t want.