Published: Fri, April 13, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Watch out for this common - but 'illegal' - warranty language

Watch out for this common - but 'illegal' - warranty language

The use of company parts as a requirement for warranties to remain intact. If you need to make a fix, it looks like you can find third-party parts or employ a fix person of your choice without any fear of voiding a warranty.

The FTC gave examples of "questionable provisions", one of which matches the wording used by Hyundai, requiring customers to use company parts, while another used by Sony for its Playstation 4 gaming console voided warranties if a warranty seal was "altered, defaced, or removed". The FTC has found that some companies mandate that parts from specific manufacturers must be used in order to keep warranties in tact- this is more likely to affect automobile and mobile device companies.

"Warranty Void if Removed sticker on a Play Station 4

Stickers on gadgets warning "warranty void if removed" are deceptive and likely to be illegal in the U.S., its consumer watchdog has said.

These warranty policies violate federal warranty law, because warranties monopolize products that a consumer is allowed to buy and use with the original product.

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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". 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. But the FTC is now saying that "warranty void if removed" stickers are illegal and have contacted several companies to inform them of the fact. Apple recently landed itself in the spotlight again for disabling iPhone 8s that were using third-party displays after being repaired at unlicensed shops. The FTC further warns that such practices might qualify as deceptive under the FTC Act.

KitGuru Says: Warranty stickers are a nuisance but they are so common at this point that it would be hard to stop them from circulating.

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The companies, which the agency did not name, have 30 days to respond to the FTC and failure to do so could "result in law enforcement action".

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