AS Apple Authorised Repair Centre goes into liquidation, IThelp4U owner tell CN why Cupertino’s business practices is killing the small guyPenrith based IThelp4U went into liquidation last month, with Ferrier Hodgson partner Robyn Duggan appointed liquidator.

“We can’t compete with Apple” IThelp4U owner Michael Seamons told CN today.   
IThelp4U, an Apple Authorised Service Centre, has been based in Sydney’s Penrith for five years but business went downhill after an Apple Store moved in “just across the road”, two years ago. 
Apple Stores don’t charge mark up on parts and labour, so was impossible to compete against it, he says, admitting the “challenges” of working with the tech powerhouse.  
The business used to be an authorised reseller of Apple gear but Seamons says Apple cut reseller margins to 8%, when “realistically you need 10% to make a profit”. 
Other Apple demands included forcing resellers to buy $100K worth of equipment per year, which is fine if you’re a big operator like Dick Smith or JB Hi-Fi but when you are a small operator such a cost can choke you.
Apple is “killing off the small guy”, he says. 
The US giant don’t appear to support repair centres close to its stores, presumably to attract footfall into its own retail stores.  
The certified Apple technician can no longer order parts from Apple either, due to stringent rules in place by the company.  
The Penrith IThelp4U store was closed prior to liquidation which began on November 22, due to a dispute with insurance company QBE over a sum of less than $2000, who subsequently applied to the business into liquidation. 
“We refused to pay them [QBE] over the way they were doing business”, he said. 
QBE are now trying to claim a total of $6,000 from the company including dispute and other fees.  
Following the closure of his Penrith store, Seamons has now set up a new venture, called ‘ITHelp2u’  as a sole trader offering call out service to customers located “all over Sydney”. 
 A certified Apple repair specialist since the 80’s, Seamons used to do onsite work for Apple, which “used to pay the rent on the store”.
But when Apple contracted all repairs to Unisys, this was another kick in the teeth for the business. 
“Once that went away it became a struggle”, he says.  
Ditching the Penrith store meant all overheads were eliminated, and Samsons is confident he can still maintain a healthy business with the customers he got.  
He will continue to work with his existing customer base, many of who have been doing business with him for over 10 years.
And despite his commercial woes, he is still a fan of Apple products, noting their superiority on service compared to other tech rivals.  
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