Samsung reportedly requires independent repair stores to rat on customers using aftermarket parts

Samsung reportedly requires independent repair stores to rat on customers using aftermarket parts


If you take in your Samsung device to an independent shop for repair, Samsung requires the store to send your name, contact information, device identifier, and the nature of your complaint to the mothership. Worse, if the repair store detects that your device has been previously repaired with an aftermarket or a non-Samsung part, Samsung requires the establishment to “immediately disassemble” your device and “immediately notify” the company.

These details were revealed thanks to 404 Media, which obtained a contract that Samsung requires all independent repair stores to sign in exchange for selling them genuine repair parts. Here’s the relevant section from the contract: “Company shall immediately disassemble all products that are created or assembled out of, comprised of, or that contain any Service Parts not purchased from Samsung.” It adds that the store “shall immediately notify Samsung in writing of the details and circumstances of any unauthorized use or misappropriation of any Service Part for any purpose other than pursuant to this Agreement. Samsung may terminate this Agreement if these terms are violated.” Samsung did not respond to a request for comment from Engadget.

Samsung’s contract is troubling — customers who take their devices to independent repair stores do not necessarily expect their personal information to the sent to the device manufacturer. And if they’ve previously repaired their devices by using third-party parts that are often vastly cheaper than official ones (and just as good in many cases), they certainly do not expect an repair store to snitch on them to the manufacturer and have their device rendered unusable.

Experts who spoke to 404 Media said that consumers are within their rights to use third-party parts to repair devices they own under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, a federal law that governs consumer product warranties in the US.So far, Right to Repair legislation exists in 30 states in the country according to the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), a consumer advocacy organization. But in states like New York, Minnesota and California where this legislation goes into effect this year, contracts like the one Samsung makes repair stores sign would be illegal, 404 Media pointed out.

“This is exactly the kind of onerous, one-sided ‘agreement’ that necessitates the right-to-repair,” Kit Walsh, a staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation told the publication. “In addition to the provision you mentioned about dismantling devices with third-party components, these create additional disincentives to getting devices repaired, which can harm both device security and the environment as repairable devices wind up in landfills.”

This isn’t the only incident around device repair that Samsung has found itself in hot water. Hours before the report from 404 Media, repair blog and parts retailer iFixit announced that it was ending its collaboration with Samsung to launch a “Repair Hub” less than two years into the partnership. “Samsung’s approach to repairability does not align with our mission,” iFixit said in a blog post, citing the high prices of Samsung’s parts and the unrepairable nature of Samsung’s devices that “remained frustratingly glued together” as reasons for pulling the plug.



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