FTC warns six companies of illegal warranty stickers and practices

How many products have you bought that come with stickers proclaiming “warranty void if removed?” Those stickers are remarkably common despite being illegal here in the good ol' US of A since 1975. Last month, the FTC announced that it had alerted six companies that their warranty terms and conditions could be in violation of the law. More recently, the folks at Vice's Motherboard publication discovered through a Freedom of Information Act request that the six companies were Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Hyundai, HTC, and Asus.

The FTC says that the above-named companies' warranty terms could be in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. That's because the companies imply or outright state that users will lose their warranty coverage under various circumstances, like using third-party parts. That's not legal unless the companies give away the products or services required for the repair for free. The commission goes on to call out Sony, HTC, and Asus specifically for their use of “warranty void if removed” stickers, which are also illegal under the act.

The aforementioned companies were given 30 days from the original announcement (dated April 10) to make changes to their promotional and warranty materials. The FTC notes that failure to comply with the Magnuson-Moss act as well as the original FTC Act of 1914 may result in “law enforcement action.”

Comments closed
    • Anovoca
    • 1 year ago

    Yay, time to get me an aftermarket retro n64 style Switch [url=https://www.amazon.com/BASSTOP-Replacement-Housing-Controller-Electronics/dp/B075JJ2KH5/ref=sr_1_65_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1525352357&sr=8-65-spons&keywords=blue%2Bnintendo%2Bswitch%2Bshell&th=1<]case[/url<].

    • Froz
    • 1 year ago

    This is interesting. So how can companies can legally make sure that a device got broken because the parts had a hidden fault, not because user messed up something in the device? There doesn’t need to be a visible physical damage…

      • Welch
      • 1 year ago

      My thoughts too…. The guys comments about it hurting consumers I feel doesn’t understand how the real world works. If the void stickers are no longer allowed, then the manufacturers will just all start charging enough to make up for all of the BS claims that people make after they open and break their own devices. They will probably also be overly stringent on which warranties they will honor.

      The big companies don’t get effected by the overly protectionist government crap, they adapt and make up for it in other areas. It will be the smaller guys who can’t afford to have a bunch of extra warranty repairs claimed by people who break their own stuff. Those little places will struggle to compete or just not start up in the first place.

      I can also see these big manufacturers going more the HP route… That is, make everything with easy the hell to break plastic clips. So it doesn’t exactly say you can’t work on your own stuff, but when you send it in after destroying the plastic clips they can claim it was damaged or misused, hence no warranty.

        • Beahmont
        • 1 year ago

        Yeah, that’s not legal either.

        And essentially your argument is, “Corporations are going to break these laws that protect consumers from Corporations cheating them, so we just should not have laws protecting consumers.”

        How very glibertarian of you.

      • Beahmont
      • 1 year ago

      It’s called testing. Nothing requires Apple to take the word of the person asking for the warranty.

      Also, it’s not like this is a new law, it’s been around for almost a hundred years.

      • cynan
      • 1 year ago

      Yet we currently navigate these issues all the time. Case in point, BENT SOCKET PINS!

    • albundy
    • 1 year ago

    hah, and i just got an I Void Warranties tshirt.

    • cynan
    • 1 year ago

    All of the companies mentioned sell their products globally. Could it just be that the policy is a global one, applying to any country in which such stickered policies actually, erm, stick?

      • mesyn191
      • 1 year ago

      Doesn’t matter.

      Selling your stuff in any given country means you have to comply with their rules whether its company policy or not.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    I wonder why this is just happening now. I have an OG Xbox with a hole through just such a sticker, manufactured in 2002. Pretty sure just about every console going back to those days has such a sticker. My Dreamcast doesn’t, but Sega had already exited the console market by then.

      • uni-mitation
      • 1 year ago

      Money. Laws without money are just suggestions. These laws so promulgated by bodies of representatives so elected by “The People” delegate such enforcement to said agencies. These agencies still don’t have the power of the purse, for the U.S. Constitution places the purse strings solely on the providence of Congress.

      Essentially, a way to repeal any law is to withhold funding for enforcement of said law. By Congress’s parliamentary rules, any budget resolution is only subject to a simple majority to pass the budgetary bill.

      Also, people are not very privy of the myriad of regulations, laws, and opinions. They are more interested in stuff like the new royal wedding. The proles of this era are the same of roman times- throw them bread and gladiatorial games and the masses are sated and docile.

      uni-mitation

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        That’s a whole lot of words just to say you don’t know. 😆

          • uni-mitation
          • 1 year ago

          Please rephrase your question in direct and clear terms.

          uni-mitation

    • Khali
    • 1 year ago

    I wonder if Apple is aware of said Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act? They sure seem to be going out of their way to stomp out any and all third party repair shops and third party parts. Granted I don’t think I have ever heard of Apple voiding a warranty. They just refuse service while pointing to some fine print in their TOS as justification. Just go over to YouTube and do a search for Louis Rossmann to find all kinds of videos about Apple’s shenanigans.

      • moose17145
      • 1 year ago

      Or watch one of Linus’ more recent videos with the Mac that got damaged while they were putting it back together.

      He was trying to pay them money to fix it, and they still couldn’t because Apple will not supply anyone with the part needed to do it.

      Honestly… how Apple has not been caught up in this is absolutely beyond me… (oh wait… they just bribe people to be allowed to keep doing whatever they want).

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Warranties generally cover defects. The only defect in Linus’s iMac Pro was the YouTuber reassembling it.

          • moose17145
          • 1 year ago

          He was not trying to make them cover the damages. He was trying to pay them money to fix it. Your argument is invalidated.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            My point is perfectly valid, and to put it in a few words is this:

            Magnuson-Moss does not oblige Apple to do anything with Linus’s iMac Pro. Bringing it up here is tangential at best.

            • moose17145
            • 1 year ago

            Would you be making this same argument if this was a car that was damaged and 100% unable to be repaired because the manufacturer just refuses to provide parts to get it repaired?

            • tay
            • 1 year ago

            If the car was totalled yeah.

            • moose17145
            • 1 year ago

            What was all broken in that computer that made it totaled and completely not worth fixing? Cause I have seen this claim, and I am not buying it.

            • tay
            • 1 year ago

            I don’t know dude. I’m not there to assess. But the Genius Bar isn’t terribly skilled. They used to go to Apple HQ in Cupertino for training but stopped a few years ago. I bet it is beyond their level of skill but not Linus’ obviously.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            Lots of companies make parts for cars. Lots of companies make parts for a lot of different products. It doesn’t matter if Apple doesn’t make the parts available; somebody made those parts for Apple.

            • moose17145
            • 1 year ago

            Uhhmmmm… actually, it does matter.

            And the original manufacturer IS required by law to provide replacement parts, even if there are a thousand third party companies selling compatible replacement parts. In fact, they are required by law to provide replacement parts for 10 years.

            Anyone who owns a Victory Motorcycle should be aware of this.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            See comment #14. [url<]https://techreport.com/news/33590/ftc-warns-six-companies-of-illegal-warranty-stickers-and-practices/?post=1077187[/url<] edit: and Linus is still in Canada.

            • moose17145
            • 1 year ago

            Do you honestly think the story would have been any different if he were in the United States?

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            Of course not, and it’s fine.

            I’m not thrilled that Apple refuses paid repairs, but you’re still not citing the references that you say compel them to do so.

            • cynan
            • 1 year ago

            If only that applied to replacement batteries for cell phones or any mobile device for that matter… (And if it does, most companies sure don’t comport themselves accordingly)

          • Khali
          • 1 year ago

          If Linus had been looking to get it fixed under warranty you would have a good point. But, Linus freely acknowledged they were responsible for the damage and just wanted to get it fixed and were willing to pay for the repairs.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            Then what does that situation have to do with a warranty law?

            • Beahmont
            • 1 year ago

            If the replacement parts are not available to 3rd party repair shops, those shops can’t do warranty repair. If the replacement parts are available to 3rd party repair shops, the law under discussion allows those shops to do non-warranty work with the replacement parts.

            So you are just wrong that it’s not relevant. The law says that Apple has to make the replacement parts for free or it has to make them available to 3rd parties. It currently does neither.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            [citation needed]

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            Downvote all you want, but my Google searching has been unsuccessful in turning up laws that mandate that Apple make replacement parts available to third parties. it is NOT in the linked warranty law. It’s also apparently not available in any of these searches:

            [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=law+requiring+replacement+parts+repair[/url<] [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=replacement+part+availability+laws[/url<] [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=repair+parts+third+party+law[/url<] So again, citation needed.

            • Beahmont
            • 1 year ago

            Well for starters, you are just JAQing off here, please stop.

            Second, the law in question requires, as stated in the article, that 3rd Parties be able to replace or repair the product without violating the warranty unless Apple is providing the replacement parts for free. That means the parts to fix the device have to be available to 3rd Party Repair Shops, or those shops can’t fix or repair the product. If 3rd Parties can’t fix or repair the product, Apple has to provide replacement parts for free, and it doesn’t.

            This means Apple has to provide 3rd Party Shops with the ability to purchase replacement parts, or do all warranty work for free to be in compliance with the law. It is currently doing neither as demonstrated by the story in question.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            [url<]https://www.mlmlaw.com/library/guides/ftc/warranties/undermag.htm[/url<] Here's a pretty good primer that refutes what you said. [quote<]While you cannot use a tie-in sales provision, your warranty need not cover use of replacement parts, repairs, or maintenance that is inappropriate for your product. The following is an example of a permissible provision that excludes coverage of such things. While necessary maintenance or repairs on your AudioMundo Stereo System can be performed by any company, we recommend that you use only authorized AudioMundo dealers. Improper or incorrectly performed maintenance or repair voids this warranty.[/quote<] Nothing about mandating anything. Oh, and as you've pointed out, Linus wasn't asking for warranty repair. You’re gonna have to show me. I read the link in this article, too. If I’m missing it that’s fine but you’ll have to cite it. I don’t mind being proven wrong.

            • Beahmont
            • 1 year ago

            So none of that is relevant. At all.

            Apple can not by law void the complete warranty on a product if a 3rd Party repairs the product, unless they provide free replacement parts. They do not currently provide free replacement parts. They are not responsible for the replaced parts unless those parts were replaced under warranty.

            Apple currently puts stickers on their product that state that they can void the entire warranty if anyone other than Apple does any repair work on the product. That is not legal unless Apple provides free replacement parts. Falsely advertising that a warranty is void for legally allowed actions is illegal.

            Apple currently holds sole control over all compatible parts for the internals of their products. Apple does not provide free replacement parts as part of their warranty. The law states Apple has to provide free replacement parts or sell replacement parts to 3rd Parties because 3rd Parties must be able to repair the Apple Product. It is illegal for Apple to be the only fixer of it’s own products.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            You keep repeating your argument and you do nothing to back up your points. And some of the things you say outside of the law aren’t true:

            -There are zero stickers on my MacBook Pro. Warranty or otherwise.
            -Apple does provide free replacement parts as part of their warranty service. You say they don’t provide parts. That’s not true.

            So you have a weird idea of what’s true.

            If you can’t quote the law (which is available online…it’s not like it’s a secret book) and show the specific text, we’re done.

        • tay
        • 1 year ago

        [url<]https://daringfireball.net/linked/2018/04/20/sebastian-imac-pro[/url<] Linus’ iMac pro was not repairable

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 year ago

          Something struck me as I read that article: Linus is in Canada, so American warranty law doesn’t apply. Just another strike against this being relevant to the topic.

            • moose17145
            • 1 year ago

            It is relevant because the same garbage happens State side with Apple, and like Khali, I am baffled how Apple hasn’t been nailed by the FTC as well with this.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 1 year ago

            My Google searching has been unsuccessful in turning up laws in any country that mandate that Apple make replacement parts available to third parties. It is NOT in the linked warranty law in this post. It’s also apparently not available in any of these searches:

            [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=law+requiring+replacement+parts+repair[/url<] [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=replacement+part+availability+laws[/url<] [url<]https://www.google.com/search?q=repair+parts+third+party+law[/url<] So I quit trying to do your job. Prove it.

          • moose17145
          • 1 year ago

          You know… all the Pro-Apple guys keep saying that… And yet I have yet to hear WHAT exactly was all fried in this incident that makes it not repairable, or as the article would suggest, “totaled”.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 1 year ago

            A car repair place will repair a totaled car as long as you are footing the bill. The reason most shops stop is the insurance payout wouldn’t be worth it. But if you were paying out-of-pocket, they’ll fix pretty much anything.

            • Beahmont
            • 1 year ago

            Which is why the story is relevant. These guys were trying to pay out of pocket and they still couldn’t get the think fixed.

      • uni-mitation
      • 1 year ago

      Any and all terms that go against a specific regulation, statute, or controlling legal precedent is void and unenforceable. Therefore, a plaintiff that has suffered harm from the non-compliance of said law would have a cause of action to seek relief in a court of law.

      Then, it would be a matter of determining jurisdiction, venue, loss, etc. Stuff that a duly licensed attorney in good standing with its jurisdiction’s bar be equipped to tell you whether you have any good remedies, etc. In the case of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act as many other remedial statutory provisions, there is a fee-shifting statutory where the prevailing party’s attorney fees & costs are paid by the non-prevailing party as a deterrent for any abuse of said law.

      uni-mitation

      P.S- Not legal advice- if you need it then call a lawyer!

    • Prion
    • 1 year ago

    Warranty on this comment is void unless comment is voted up.

      • uni-mitation
      • 1 year ago

      Not cool with all of this Gerbalese!

      uni-mitation

      • morphine
      • 1 year ago

      I voted up then down. Up to get warranty, down because you made a requirement for having it 😛

        • Anovoca
        • 1 year ago

        I voted down then up…..Then I realized I’m only a silver sub.

      • ronch
      • 1 year ago

      The warranty that come with my comments is 100 days or 10,000,000,000 millimeters. And there’s no ‘Warranty Void’ sticker either. Beat that!!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This