FTC Warns Manufacturers Over “Illegal” Warranty-Voiding Stickers

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Tinkerers and modders have long known the dangers of opening up hardware that has that “Warranty Voided if Broken” sticker. Now, an interesting turn of events could lead to this no longer being a policy hardware manufacturers can enforce.

The Federal Trade Commission recently published a press release that called out six specific hardware manufacturers for those very same practices – practices the federal government outlawed in the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

While the names of those manufacturers have been redacted from the presser, Ars Technica did a bit of googling and found a few of them:

  • Hyundai’s warranty states that “the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.”
  • Nintendo’s warranty states that “this warranty shall not apply if this product is used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo.”
  • 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.”

To be clear, this is only prohibited if the manufacturers don’t provide the parts to do repairs for free, or receive a waiver from the FTC itself.

Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, also noted:

“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.”

The FTC also noted that this law covers products ranging from cell phones to gaming consoles, or pretty much anything more expensive than $15.

Following these warnings, the FTC told the six companies they have to make changes to their policies within 30 days, else the “failure to correct any potential violations may result in law enforcement action.”

Editor’s Note: Image via Imgur

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.