Apple Plans to Build Specialized Repair Center in Russia After Lawsuit

Denis Grishkin / Vedomosti

Apple plans to provide a full repair service in Russia for all iPhone damages as the result of a lawsuit filed by a dissatisfied customer, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The company is considering building a centralized repair center dedicated to full-service production, according to an unidentified source close to the company.

The decision comes after a lawsuit was filed against the company by Russian iPhone owner Dmitry Petrov in June.

The lawsuit involves not only Apple, but also its chain stores and service companies; and Petrov, a customer could not get his warranted device’s screen fixed or replaced.

Petrov refused to pay extra to get his already warranted device exchanged through an outside provider, refused to get his device exchanged for a new one, and refused to use the services of an outside center for an extra fee of up to 30,000 rubles ($469). Instead, he sued Apple for violating consumer rights and asked for the necessary smartphone replacement screens to be available in Russian service centers.

Petrov argued that Apple violates Russian laws on consumer protection because it is not providing the supply of necessary spare parts for repairs.

Currently when Apple equipment breaks down in Russia, the majority of customers are given entirely new products in service centers, according to letters sent by Apple to the court and obtained by Vedomosti. However, in the case of a broken display, 100 percent of products are neither replaced nor fixed.

According to the letters, replacing the display requires a complex calibration procedure involving “big and expensive” equipment, which can only be done with access to the iPhone operating system under the protection of the Apple network.

It is not known when Apple's centralized repair center will open, but it will be expensive. One unidentified employee of an Apple partnership corporation told Vedomosti that he believes it will cost between $1 and $2 million.

iPhone’s share in the total portfolio of Russian smartphone sales was roughly 17 percent in the first quarter. The main incentives for the purchase of iPhones is brand loyalty, Valeryia Andreyeva from M Video told Vedomosti. By creating a complete cycle of iPhone care and production, Russian iPhone users may become more loyal to the brand, she predicts.

Apple declined to comment on the matter.

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