Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

FTC Claims 'Warranty Void If Removed' Stickers Are Illegal

FTC warns big tech firms to stop voiding warranties for 'unauthorised' repairs Sticker to the man
Kim Reese | 12 April, 2018, 01:01

"Companies can't void a consumer's warranty or deny warranty coverage exclusively because the consumer uses a part made by someone else or gets someone not authorized by the company to perform service on the product", said FTC official Lesley Fair.

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 FTC has officially warned several companies that their policies of ceasing support when a user attempts "non-approved" repairs or servicing are likely illegal.

That's according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who yesterday posted a press release warning vehicle, phone, and video game console makers to stop using warranty terms that aren't legally enforceable. The FTC outlined three examples where "questionable provisions" are in play.

Having your smartphone serviced by an unauthorized third party will most certainly void its warranty.

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Great news for anyone who hates those "Warranty-void-if-removed" stickers found on many tech products. 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.

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

If a company uses a seal or sticker that voids warranty if altered, defaced or removed, then that could be seen as an issue- unless that company provides free part replacements and repairs, or has cleared it with the FTC beforehand. This in effect forces consumes to forgo do-it-yourself repairs or paying a potentially reduced rate to a third-party fix shop, rather than going through the manufacturer.

The illegal act here is companies appearing to "tie warranty coverage to consumers' use of authorized parts or service". In addition, the FTC called for each company to revise its practices to comply with the law.

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