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Samsung requires independent repair stores to snitch on you, but it gets worse

Samsung also wants independent stores to disassemble your phone if it uses unofficial parts, according to a report.

Published onMay 24, 2024

Galaxy S23 FE front
Ryan Whitwam / Android Authority
  • A contract between Samsung and independent repair stores has revealed anti-consumer practices.
  • Stores are required to disassemble products that feature parts not bought from Samsung.
  • These stores are also required to snitch on the customer to Samsung.

Samsung is in hot water this week after popular repair outlet iFixit announced that it was terminating its partnership with the Galaxy maker. Unfortunately for Samsung, it turns out this might be the tip of the iceberg.

404 Media obtained a purported contract between Samsung and an independent repair store which paints the Korean brand in an extremely poor light. The contract outlines a variety of actions stores have to take if they want repair parts from Samsung.

The most controversial clause requires independent repair stores to immediately disassemble all products that feature parts not purchased from Samsung. These stores are also required to notify the Galaxy maker of the “details and circumstances of any unauthorized use or misappropriation of any service parts for any purpose other than pursuant to this agreement.” In other words, the repair stores are required to tattle if they find repair parts not sourced from Samsung in a customer’s phone.

The sketchy terms don’t end here

The apparent contract also calls on independent repair stores to upload customer details for each repair to a Samsung database. These details include the customer’s name, email address, IMEI number, phone number, the device issue, and more. It’s unclear whether customers are made aware of the fact that these details will be shared with Samsung.

Either way, disassembling a customer’s product just because it has parts not bought from Samsung seems like a blatantly anti-consumer practice. This would be particularly predatory if the unofficial part works fine and the customer is having unrelated issues, potentially forcing them to pay for a repair they didn’t need. It’s unclear whether any consumers have already been affected by this practice, though.

We’ve contacted Samsung for comment on these terms, whether consumers have recourse if their phones are disassembled, and whether the company requires repair stores to inform customers that their details will be shared. We’ll update the article if/when the company gets back to us.

The news also comes after iFixit announced yesterday (May 23) that it was terminating its repair partnership with Samsung. The repair outlet cited the price of spare parts, Samsung’s refusal to let iFixit help local repair stores, and several other reasons for the tie-up ending. This also comes as Apple — which has been notoriously hostile to the right-to-repair movement — increasingly embraces repair-friendly practices in the wake of repair-focused legislation around the world.

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