iFixit Breaks Off Self-Repair Agreement With Samsung

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The device repair and teardown gurus at iFixit are ending their repair relationship with Samsung. The company announced the end of the relationship in a blog post on Thursday, explaining that the repair deal is coming to an end following its two-year run because iFixit and Samsung were unable to come to terms on a new deal.

iFixit said it had launched iFixit’s Samsung Repair Hub with the goal of “building an incredible, repair-friendly ecosystem.” iFixit says it wanted to set a “gold standard” for repair documentation while providing local independent repair businesses with the parts and tools required to repair Samsung’s Galaxy devices.

Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to deliver on that promise.

As we tried to build this ecosystem we consistently faced obstacles that made us doubt Samsung’s commitment to making repair more accessible. We couldn’t get parts to local repair shops at prices and quantities that made business sense. The part prices were so costly that many consumers opted to replace their devices rather than repair them. And the design of Samsung’s Galaxy devices remained frustratingly glued together, forcing us to sell batteries and screens in pre-glued bundles that increased the cost.

The company says it doubts “Samsung’s commitment to making repair more accessible.”

iFixit was contracted to set up a self-repair program for Samsung customers, offering repair guides for replacing Galaxy components, including displays, back glass, charging ports, and other components. iFixit says Samsung erected obstacles along the way, including the high price of required repair parts.

iFixit also says that the high cost of repair parts from Samsung drove customers to replace their devices instead of repairing them. As an example, batteries and screens were only available in pre-glued bundles, meaning customers could not replace a battery without also swapping out the screen, increasing the expense of repairs. iFixit was also unable to provide parts to repair shops at prices and quantities “that made business sense.” iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens told The Verge that Samsung did not allow iFixit to sell more than seven parts per customer within three months.

Samsung also never shipped components to iFixit for its Galaxy S23 series, the Z Flip 5, and the Z Fold 5. In fact, it hasn’t sent anything since the launch of its S22 lineup.

Like all of its service partners, Samsung also required iFixit to share its customers’ email addresses and parts purchase history and sign a waiver before buying. “We do not require this information for any other partnerships, and do not share customer information with any other OEM,” says Wiens.

A contract recently uncovered by 404 Media shed light on Samsung’s onerous rules for independent repair shops. These include providing contact information and other details about all customers who have repairs performed and a clause that compels independent repair shops to “immediately disassemble” any Samsung smartphone that has been previously repaired using aftermarket parts.

iFixit said that it “tried to make this work,” but Samsung was profiting from unpaid work on repair guides.

We’re bummed but we won’t apologize for our initial optimism. Nor will we let one bad apple spoil the bunch; instead, we’re tossing it out before it can do so. But we also won’t stop you from a chorus of “I told you so”s—honestly that’s fair. The warning signs were there—we reported on them, after all.

iFixit is still working with several other electronics manufacturers on repair ventures, including Google, Valve, Lenovo, Motorola, and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, Samsung declined to comment on any of the details, saying only that Encompass’ SamsungParts.com is now the company’s one-stop-shop for self-repair.

We could see Samsung bring more of its self-repair operations in-house, much like Apple does. Apple’s Self-Service Repair program debuted in 2022, offering repair manuals, tools, and components to customers so that they can perform their own repairs.

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