As iPhone 7 launches, some question Apple's repair policies

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COLUMBIA – With the launch of the iPhone 7 Wednesday, some technicians warn consumers to be aware of the issues they may face with Apple repairs down the road.

The “right to repair” movement says electronic manufacturers like Apple, block repairs and coerce people into buying new products or expensive warranties.

Only technicians certified under Apple can honor product warranties. The other option for consumers is taking damaged devices to third-party repair shops.

iGenie Repair is one of seven third-party repair shops located in Columbia. Owner Justin Martin said it’s important for people to keep their warranties, but there’s often a downside to the services provided by Apple-certified technicians. Repairs by certified technicians can cost more, take longer and have quality-control issues, he said.

“You don’t always know what you’re going to get back. You could be getting a water damaged phone that you don’t know what is going to happen to it in the next six months, and we have seen that quite a bit,” Martin said.

Technicians certified under Apple are often limited to charging manufacturer prices, Martin said. But according to Apple-certified technician Kyle Huebotter, there's a reason for that.

"You're getting genuine Apple parts rather than third-party parts that come from a foreign country. They're coming directly from Apple facilities," Huebotter said.

He said Apple technicians go through specific training.

"These devices are touched by people who've had hours and hours of training to know how to use Apple devices and how to work with them," Huebotter said.