Those ‘warranty void if removed’ stickers are illegal says US consumer watchdog

Warranties can be somewhat fickle. Whether you have a gaming console, a mobile phone or even a car, you probably noticed in the fine print that the manufacturer will refuse to honor the warranty of that product if you use what you consider to be unauthorized repair services or third parties not. Authorized party accessories or, heaven, you do not want to, if you break the seal on that label from & # 39; Null warranty if it is removed & # 39;

According to the US consumer protection agency UU Federal Trade Commission, however, such policies are illegal. On April 10, the FTC announced that it had sent letters to six companies advising them that their conditional warranty practices violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which states that no manufacturer can restrict the repair of a device that offers a warranty on .

Although the FTC does not accurately establish the companies with which it is contacted, it does provide examples of actual policies that are considered unacceptable:

  • "The use of [company name] parts is required to maintain its … guarantees of manufacturer and any extended warranty intact. "
  • " This warranty does not apply if this product … is used with products not sold or authorized by [company name]. "
  • " This warranty does not apply to this product. .. has had the seal guarantee on [product] altered, defaced or removed. "

And, as Ars Technica points out, a bit of Google makes it easy to find that those policies are from Hyundai, Nintendo and Sony, respectively.

Like a messenge With a letter sealed with wax to deliver to a particularly violent king, we are all exceptionally careful not to split the stickers we see frequently on our Xboxes and PlayStations, lest manufacturers think we've been doing some unauthorized manipulation.

Lately, Nintendo has not been sympathetic to consumer complaints using third-party devices that are breaking their Nintendo switches, simply stating that such devices should not be used. Apple is also known for its strict repair policies and limited third-party authorizations, and it was only last year that the company began allowing customers to use approved third parties for screen repairs.

But apparently those restrictions are simply not on. In a statement, Thomas B. Pahl, acting director of the FTC's Office of Consumer Protection, said: "The provisions that link warranty coverage with the use of particular products or services harm consumers who pay. more for them as for small businesses that offer competing products and services. "

The FTC has not been sensitive to its demands in its letters to the six companies involved, requesting that each company review its guarantees to eliminate offensive conditions, and review its practices to comply with the law, within 30 days.