FTC Warns Manufacturers: Reconsider Those 'Warranty Seal' Stickers

FTC Warns Manufacturers: Reconsider Those 'Warranty Seal' Stickers

"Such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act", the FTC announcement reads, and in addition "may be deceptive under the FTC Act". Some even insist that you'll void the warranty if you break the "warranty seal". In an attempt to crack on conditional warranty coverage, the FTC sent letters outlining its concerns over warranty clauses to six "major companies", and it specifically mentioned those stickers.

Who does the FTC have in mind?

Hyundai USA now insists "the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact", while Nintendo sees no problem voiding otherwise valid warranties if some of its gaming devices are "used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo".

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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".

The FTC said it was concerned about the companies' statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers or their products warranties would be considered invalid.

This warranty shall not apply if this product.is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name]. After 30 days, the FTC will review companies' websites, and warned the recipients that "failure to correct any potential violations may result in law enforcement action".

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The Xbox One has a sticker that, if broken or removed, implies to Microsoft that a third party has opened the device. TO BE CLEAR: It's not just the stickers that are illegal - it's any suggestion from any company saying consumers can not keep warrantys for products they've gotten fixed or worked on with non-original-brand parts or services. Each of those company's warranty agreements advise against or forbid opening the device. That will depend on the new phrasing of the companies' policies, but this attention from the FTC will at the very least nudge things in the right direction.

Incidents such as these have prompted calls for Right to fix legislation, which was enacted by California in March, the 18th state to adopt such a law.

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