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FTC warns companies that using "warranty void if removed" stickers is illegal

By midian182 · 14 replies
Apr 11, 2018
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  1. Great news for anyone who hates those ‘Warranty-void-if-removed’ stickers found on many tech products. The legality of the labels, which has long been called into question, has now been cleared up by the Federal Trade Commission, which has warned some firms that they violate federal laws.

    In an announcement yesterday, the FTC said it had sent warning letters to six major companies about their anti-competitive warranty policies. The notes say the agency has “concerns about the companies’ statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact.”

    The FTC included the following as examples of questionable provisions:

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

    This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].

    This warranty does not apply if this product . . . has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.

    The FTC writes that the six companies it targeted markets and sells automobiles, mobile devices, and video game consoles in the US. It didn’t name the firms directly, but it's thought that Microsoft and Sony could have been recipients of the letters—both companies use the stickers on their Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

    The FTC says that under the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, companies can't put repair restrictions on their products unless they provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC

    "Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services," said the Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Thomas B. Pahl, in a statement.

    The FTC will review the companies’ websites in 30 days to check they are complying with the law. If their policies aren’t updated, the agency may consider enforcement action against them.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,060   +1,187

    Wheels of government grind exceeding slow.
     
    veLa, Darth Shiv and wiyosaya like this.
  3. GreyFoxx

    GreyFoxx TS Booster Posts: 99   +69

    Does this apply to the UK?
     
  4. Just what I thought.
     
  5. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 719   +284

    Last I checked the FTC has nothing to do with any country but the US.
     
    veLa, EClyde and Darth Shiv like this.
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,385   +3,775

    FINALLY ..... the FTC makes an intelligent move that will benefit the consumer!
     
    yRaz and treetops like this.
  7. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 3,160   +1,413

    So... the article is completely different from the click-head line... not really a surprise...

    The headline says the warranty 'sticker' and shows a picture of one. The article says it's the warranty 'SEAL' - not some worthless label. The seal makes sure you don't go and open your xbox to try to an solder some hack onto the board and then go cry to MS that it's now broke.

    Why does the FTC think people should be free to handle their own 'repairs' and then still be able to cash in on the warranty? Those seals makes sure that the warranty is valid. The warranty only covers if the product breaks, not if you open it and try to enhance it and break it yourself. The seal prevents this.

    This literally sounds like they're trying to make it so you can break your own stuff and have it replaced by the company. Sick of your xbox? Break it, get a replacement and sell it as new!
     
    CybaGirl and SantistaUSA like this.
  8. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,992   +3,478

    Well first this covers both warranty stickers and seals. So now if you remove your warranty sticker or break a warranty seal, your warranty is still valid no matter what the company's policy says.

    Second, all the stickers did was force people to upgrade their equipment because they prevented people from maintaining their gear. For example, having to void your graphics card warranty to replace the thermal paste. That should never void warranty yet MSI put those warranty seals on screws you'd have to remove to replace the paste.

    This does not stop companies from voiding warranties where the product was modified with non-original parts.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
    RevD14, yRaz and failquail like this.
  9. Bullwinkle M

    Bullwinkle M TS Booster Posts: 134   +69

    Our guarantee to you!

    We guarantee that this sticker was placed on the back of our legitimate products prior to sale and that as long as this sticker remains on our product, we guarantee that it is still on the product

    Here is a copy of that sticker>
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    If the sticker is removed, the warranty is Null and Void
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Now how exactly is this sticker Illegal?
     
  10. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,971   +2,275

    Well, it is probably for the courts to decide at the moment. You can bet that there will be at least one high profile company taking this ruling to court, then the courts will decide if it really does fall under the 1975 act mentioned in the article.
     
  11. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,962   +577

    It usually means if you repair part A but then part B fails and is not related to the repair of A, then the company traditionally would still have used the fact you repaired A to decide not to cover you.

    An example of this is replacing your HDD/SSD in your laptop then (sometime later) the screen failing.
     
    lostinlodos, yRaz, failquail and 2 others like this.
  12. Knot Schure

    Knot Schure TS Addict Posts: 266   +113

    Watching this with interest!
     
  13. GreyFoxx

    GreyFoxx TS Booster Posts: 99   +69

    Yeah I get that, but considering the number of American products available in the UK, I was curious as to how this would effect us lot.
     
  14. Ravey

    Ravey TS Addict Posts: 156   +67

    Nope it doesnt apply to us, but we have our own set of laws in regards to warranty. just google;

    warranty legislation uk .gov

    and that should bring up all your rights for just about anything you buy or any service provided to you

    such as:
    Consumer Rights Act 2015
    Sale of Goods Act 1979

    Hope this helps GreyFoxx
     
    GreyFoxx likes this.
  15. GreyFoxx

    GreyFoxx TS Booster Posts: 99   +69

    Thank you for the helpful response, I did try to find this but had no joy.
     

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