Australia's consumer and competition watchdog is taking Apple to court again. This time, it's over the Error 53 "security feature" that bricked iPhones with third-party screen repairs. The ACCC says its investigation shows Apple appears to have refused to look at defective devices repaired by a third party.
As we reported back in February last year, the ACCC says that under Australian Consumer Law, customers are entitled to warranty support free of charge if their goods don't comply with consumer guarantees - even if repairs have been made to a different and unaffected or unconnected component of the device by a third party.
"The ACCC alleges Apple represented to consumers with faulty products that they were not entitled to a free remedy if their Apple device had previously been repaired by third party, 'unauthorised repairers'. However, having a component of the Apple device serviced, repaired, or replaced by someone other than Apple cannot, by itself, extinguish the consumer’s right to a remedy for non-compliance with the consumer guarantees."
In its media statement, the ACCC says it's seeking a host of reliefs against Apple — "pecuniary penalties, injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs" — for this alleged overreach. The last time Apple and the ACCC were this clearly at loggerheads was in December 2013, again over consumer guarantees.
Error 53: The Timeline
Over the weekend, you may have read reports about Apple "bricking" multiple iOS devices that had undergone third-party repairs. According to the Guardian, customers who elect to fix their damaged iPhones through unauthorised repair providers have been receiving an "Error 53" message which renders the device useless. Apple has since issued an official statement to address the mounting furore. Apparently, it's a deliberate "security feature". Should we be grabbing our pitchforks?
Apple has come under fire for "bricking" iOS devices that have been fixed by third-party repair shops. After the repairs are done, iOS device users reported that they received an "Error 53" message which would lock up their iPhones or iPads. Apple has insisted that this is a "security feature" but the company has now done an about-face on this issue.
Last week, Apple came under fire for "bricking" iPhones that had undergone unauthorised, third-party repairs instead of going through the official iPhone Repair store. Now, the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is wading in to determine whether the so-called "Error 53" violates Australian consumer laws.
In response to mounting pressure from irate customers and consumer protection agencies, Apple has released a new security patch which fixes the controversial Error 53. Here are the steps you need to take to recover your data and get your phone working again.