Published: Thu, April 12, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

FTC warns phonemaker to not link warranty to in-house repairs

FTC warns phonemaker to not link warranty to in-house repairs

They are very common on lots of electronic devices, ranging from games consoles, to PC parts and other products, like TVs or mobile devices.

The FTC brought out the rule hammer this week in a letter to 6 companies about their stickers.

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.

In the letter, the commission cited the 1975 Magnunson-Miss Warranty Act, and said that companies can not put fix restrictions on their products unless they provide the parts and services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC. 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. In its letters, the agency provided three examples of what it deems to be "questionable provisions" found on different products.

Nintendo's warranty states that "this warranty shall not apply if this product is used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo". I have a feeling that this one in particular is aimed at smartphone companies. This has been a contentious issue for consumer electronics, where it's often hard to get repairs done through a third party. Well, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has now deemed these stickers to be illegal.

Sony's warranty states that "this warranty does not apply if this product. has had the warranty seal on the PS4™ system altered, defaced, and removed".

Apple in February ditched a warranty condition that excluded coverage on iPhones that had displays repaired or replaced by third-party providers.

The illegal act here is companies appearing to "tie warranty coverage to consumers' use of authorized parts or service". Companies receiving letters on the topic are being asked to review their warranty terms to make sure they are in compliance with the law, Furthermore, the FTC says it will be reviewing each company's website after 30 days to ensure compliance, otherwise they may face legal action.

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