ICE Starts Raiding Mobile Phone Repair Shops To Stop Repairs With Aftermarket Parts (Techdirt)
Wednesday May 1st, 2013
Apparently Homeland Security's Immigration & Custom's Enforcement (ICE) team has found a new tech issue to overreact to and overhype. shutslar points us to a story of ICE agents raiding 25 smartphone repair shops in South Florida for daring to repair phones with aftermarket parts, rather than original products from Apple. As seems standard for ICE these days, rather than actually understanding the details at hand, they're taking orders from a corporate entity, in this case, Apple:
Apple is working with the government to shut down those who mislead consumers. This seems like a massive overreaction to a mere case of "misleading" consumers. They paint this as if it's some massive danger to make use of an aftermarket/non-Apple parts in doing the repair, but it's not. In many cases, such aftermarket parts are a good way to fix a phone at a more reasonable price. If Apple feels some of the shops are misleading customers, then it can sue for trademark infringement and deal with it that way.
Having over-aggressive, amped up ICE agents pretending this is a drug raid and that they need to "shut down" these shops is a massive overreaction which only serves to help prop up Apple's bottom line by taking aftermarket competitive parts out of the market, so that Apple can keep the margins on its parts extra high. Either way, there's simply no reason for treating the whole thing like a drug raid:
"When they came in it almost looked like a drug raid," Said Abella. They came after you because you weren't paying the toll to Apple, and Apple doesn't like competition. Why our taxpayer money is being used to support such a massive overreaction, shutting down small businesses who provide a useful service repairing phones, is beyond me. Honestly, ICE's propensity to act as private cops (with guns) doing favors for giant businesses is really sickening. ICE has been out of control for a long time, and shutting down small businesses because Apple doesn't want to compete? That's just crazy.
Abella claims there were 20 ICE agents and two people from Apple in his small Bird Road store.
Abella says he began fixing Apple Products because everyone else was.
"We got the parts from a company in California. To this day that vendor is still selling parts," Said Abella.
"Why did the come after me?” he added.