Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

FTC: "Warranty Void If Removed" stickers are illegal


As PCGamer points out, the FTC's primary concern seems to be that companies are violating the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, which is a law that protects consumer product warranties and prohibits certain restrictions. The companies now claim their warranties are void if owners use them with unauthorized parts or services or if consumers open them up by removing a seal. The legal body sent warning letters to six companies that market and sell automobiles, video game consoles and mobile device in the US. In its letters, the agency provided three examples of what it deems to be "questionable provisions" found on different products.

The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your. manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact.

Nintendo's warranty states that "this warranty shall not apply if this product is used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo".

Companies can't put warranty stickers on their products and claim the warranty is void if you remove the sticker, the FTC says.

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According to the FTC, those types of provisions are generally prohibited unless a company provides free parts replacement and repairs, or has received a waiver from the FTC. The Playstation 4 has various stickers that must be broken to open the device that explicitly state that tampering with them invalidates the warranty. iPhones and MacBooks don't have a warranty-voiding sticker, but Apple Geniuses are trained to look for clues that would tip the company off to the fact that the device has been opened.

Warranty-void-if-removed stickers are one of the biggest barriers to fixing things yourself. This has been a contentious issue for consumer electronics, where it's often hard to get repairs done through a third party.

In the letters the FTC sent out, it asked the six companies to revise their warranty notices and make sure they don't "state or imply that warranty cover is conditioned on the use of specific parts of services".

The companies have been given a 30-day notice to update their website and comply with the US federal law before the FTC takes furth action.

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