Third-Party Repair Houses and Monopoly

DaVinci robot-assisted surgery tools require hospitals to get factory repair. They don’t allow third-party repair services. Now some hospitals are suing the company over this, calling it a “monopoly position.”

They’re actually claiming that daVinci’s makers, Intuitive Surgical, have a monopoly on robotic assistants for surgeons. But they’re suing over the repair issue.

Devil’s advocate

Is Intuitive Surgical a monopoly? We don’t know. We don’t even particularly care. But let’s talk about the third party repair policy.

Rexroth also doesn’t allow third-party repairs.

The complaining hospitals say that Intuitive Surgical will shut off their machinery in the middle of an operation. Rexroth does nothing of the kind. But they do say that using a third party repair service will void the warranty. Factory repair, on the other hand, brings your component back to you as good as new (or even better than new), with a new warranty.

We support them in this absolutely.

Why? The complaining hospitals say they could get repairs done more cheaply if they could go to a third party. Some Rexroth users think the same thing.

But here’s what we see with third party repairs:

We could go on.

The truth is, Rexroth can’t guarantee the work of third party repair houses. They don’t want to deal with the consequences of third party repairs, so they don’t provide parts or specs to third party repair houses.

The risks of third party repair

We often see the results of third party repairs. Usually, it means poor quality repairs, since Bob’s BBQ and Servo Repair doesn’t have access to original parts or specs, not to mention trained technicians.

Downtime builds up, with its attendant costs. By the time the poor client turns to factory repair, they’ve already paid for the supposedly cheaper option, and they also have to pay the fair price for factory repair on top of that — did we mention the cost of all that downtime?

The daVinci surgical devices can cost as much as $2.5 million apiece. We have no idea what repairs cost, but it really might not make sense to shop around for a bargain in this case.

Does that make them a monopoly? We’ll leave the decision to the courts. But we can help when you need reliable service and support for Rexroth electric motion control systems, legacy or new.

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