Google's Pixel phones under siege: Customers accuse the tech giant of confiscation during repairs
4 juin 2024

Google’s Pixel phones under siege: Customers accuse the tech giant of confiscation during repairs

Par Eliott Loudon

Concerns over the right to repair

In the realm of consumer electronics, the concept of the ‘right to repair’ is a hot topic. Recent controversies have pointed a finger at Samsung, accusing the company of dubious activities. Now, Google seems to be treading the same path, sparking outcry among its customers.

While the ‘right to repair’ should be a standard practice within the industry, it’s far from being widely accepted. An example of this is the recent furore involving Samsung. A few weeks ago, the renowned repair company iFixit made the shocking announcement that it was severing ties with the South Korean giant.

Samsung’s questionable practices

The reason behind this split was a report revealing some of Samsung’s questionable practices. According to the document, the company forces service providers to destroy devices containing unofficial spare parts. This policy effectively hampers third-party repairers by prohibiting the use of non-official components.

The controversy doesn’t end there. iFixit pointed out that it was becoming increasingly challenging to acquire components from Samsung for newer models like the Galaxy S23 or the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Google’s stance on the issue

One might hope that such anti-repair behaviours would be limited to a few manufacturers. However, that’s far from the truth. Tech YouTuber Louis Rossman recently discovered that Google has adopted a stance similar to Samsung’s.

Upon perusing the terms of service and repair of the Mountain View company, a certain clause stands out: « Unauthorized parts: You will not send a device containing parts not authorized by Google. If you do, your device will not be returned. » This policy has been in place since July 19, 2023, according to the latest update of Google’s document.

Customer backlash

Unsurprisingly, this revelation has caused an uproar among Pixel users. On platforms like Reddit and YouTube, they’ve been vocal about Google’s scandalous practices. One disgruntled user likened the situation to a car dealership refusing to repair a vehicle due to the use of non-official brake parts, and then towing the car to a junkyard.

They argue that the right to repair is crucial, as without this freedom, the concept of ownership becomes blurred. Google’s current practice is in stark contrast to the new EU rules on the right to repair. Since April 2024, manufacturers are required to allow the use of 3D printed or second-hand parts by independent repairers.

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