Australia Sues Apple For Bricking iPhones Repaired by Third Parties

Everyone holds up their phones to take photos at London Fashion Week February 2017 (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Everyone holds up their phones to take photos at London Fashion Week February 2017 (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Apple forbids consumers from taking their iPhones to third parties for repair, and sometimes even bricks phones as punishment. But Australia has said that’s not cool and is suing the tech behemoth. Or, to put it in Australian, “yeah nah mate, garn git fucked.”

Australia’s consumer watchdog agency, the Competition and Consumer Commission, announced early this morning that it’s suing Apple for refusing to service iPhones and iPads that have been bricked by software updates. Bricking a device means that it’s been rendered completely unusable—about as good for making things like telephone calls and Snappy Chats™ and Twitter Tweets™ as a brick.

The federal suit alleges that Apple bricked the devices of consumers in Australia from September 2014 to February 2016 after those users had their devices repaired elsewhere. Apple refused to restore the phones after bricking them, which appears to be in direct violation of Australian consumer laws.


According to Apple’s terms of service, if you get something like a broken screen repaired by anyone but Apple, the company doesn’t have to honor warranties, including the extended warranties of AppleCare. But Australia says that it doesn’t matter what Apple says—Australian law supercedes Apple’s bullshit policies.

“Consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party,“ the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

“Denying a consumer their consumer guarantee rights simply because they had chosen a third party repairer not only impacts those consumers but can dissuade other customers from making informed choices about their repair options including where they may be offered at lower cost than the manufacturer,” Sims continued.

It’s certainly an interesting test of consumer rights in Australia, though any judgment against the company wouldn’t hold any sway on consumer protections in the United States. The US has weaker consumer advocacy laws, though it did become legal to unlock your iPhone back in 2015. We’ll take what we can get, I guess.


Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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Oh noes...Apple may lose the coveted Australian market...

I do a crane job in Australia once. I did not like working in that country at all. I was forced to toddler proof unmanned industrial crane because Australian safety code written by idiots.

That and Australian people, at least in Brisbane, are insanely racist.