FTC Warns Six Companies Including Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for Flouting Federal Warranty Law

It is not only nonsensical but also illegal under the US federal law (FTC) for manufacturers of electronics to put stickers which say ‘Warranty Void if Removed’ on the gadgets. Moreover, it is unlawful for companies to tell their customers that if they get repairs done from a third-party, warranty on their electronics is void.

In April 2018, FTC (Federal Trade Commission) notified six companies via letters that their product warranties were illegal with the respect that they were violating US law. According to the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, companies do not have the permission to make a warranty void when the customer does not use the specified repair provider or part.

Federal Trade Commission warned six companies for the illegal warranty language which stated that certain parts or services are required to be used for preserving the warranty. Even though FTC didn’t release the names of the companies which received the letters, Motherboard obtained copies of the letter by filing a Freedom of Information Act request and learned the names of the companies that were warned. These companies are Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, HTC, ASUS, and Hyundai.

According to the letters sent on April 9, the companies received a month for changing their warranty policies on their websites. A failure to comply with it may make the FTC take legal action.

If you buy a mobile phone with a warranty, take it to a third party repair shop to fix it, then you need to return the phone to the manufacturer, the mobile phone company is not legally allowed to refuse the return just because you took the mobile phone to another shop. The same applies to any gadget and electronic device which costs $5 or above.

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As per the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, manufacturers are not permitted to add repair restrictions on devices they offer a warranty on. However, a number of companies flout this law regularly, and FTC has given them a warning.

Xbox One had one sticker that if tampered with, implied to Microsoft that it had been opened by a third-party. Sony took it even further by placing a variety of labels on PlayStation 4 warning the customers that breaking the seals will make the warranty void.

Even though Apple does not put any such warning labels or warranty terms, the Apple technicians are trained to spot clues which would imply that the gadget has been opened. The warranty for Apple devices is invalidated if any non-authorized repairs are done. To determine whether or not a third-party has opened the device, the Apple Geniuses check whether the serial number of the device is correctly aligned or not. If the sticker is not correctly aligned, they refuse any further repair even if the device is still under warranty.

These warranty stickers help the manufacturers to maintain a monopoly on device repair. The Repair Association’s executive director Gay Gordon Byrne said that companies make threats to do things which they cannot do lawfully, but 99.9% of the customers do not have any idea of their actual rights.

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