Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Third-party fix services will not void your warranty — FTC

FTC warns console and smartphone makers against limiting consumer warranties FTC Staff Warns Companies that it is Illegal to Condition Warranty Coverage on the Use of Specified Parts or Services
| 12 April, 2018, 00:58

The FTC cites the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which in 1975 determined that manufacturers can not restrict repairs on devices which come with warranties, and the FTC Act. Some even insist that you'll void the warranty if you break the "warranty seal". 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.

Who does the FTC have in mind?

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

There has also been an official statement by Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission, who said that tying warranty coverage with the use of particular products hurts both consumers, and small businesses, which want to be competitive with their services.


As for PlayStation VR owners, Sony demands they take particularly good care of the "warranty seal on the product", which shall not be "altered, defaced, or removed" to continue enjoying the benefits of the headset's limited hardware warranty.

These exact phrases, with names of companies redacted, are provided as examples in the FTC's release.

The FTC warning states that language like "this warranty shall not apply if this product.is used with products not sold" and requiring warranty stickers to maintain a warranty are all illegal. The companies are given 30 days to update their websites and comply with the USA federal law before the FTC takes further action.

The Xbox One has a sticker that, if broken or removed, implies to Microsoft that a third party has opened the device. As it turns out these stickers are actually illegal, at least according to the FTC (via Motherboard) who claims that under federal law, customers are allowed to fix their own things, and that manufacturers can not force customers to use their own fix services. That will depend on the new phrasing of the companies' policies, but this attention from the FTC will at the very least nudge things in the right direction. The FTC has initiated enforcement actions against other industries that void warranties in the past, but this appears to be the first time the FTC has specifically called out makers of cell phones and gaming consoles for the practice.

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