FTC: third-party fix services will not void your warranty

FTC warns companies that void warranties over using 3rd party services		
	Devin Coldewey

   	7 hours

FTC warns companies that void warranties over using 3rd party services Devin Coldewey @ 7 hours

In an announcement yesterday, the FTC said it had sent warning letters to six major companies about their anti-competitive warranty policies.

If you ever see a product label stating that you will void the product's warranty if you break a seal or use unauthorized parts or service providers, know that you typically can ignore it.

"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", explained Thomas Pahl, from the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in the announcement. 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.

In a Wednesday letter to six unnamed companies, the agency determined that the use of "warranty seals" - stickers that are placed on internal components, over screws for example, and which must be broken in order to fix or open a device - are illegal.

In its letter, the FTC told companies that their sticker practices go against the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which stipulates, among other things, that branded parts can't be required for a warranty to be valid. The stickers warn that removing or otherwise destroying them will immediately void the manufacturer's warranty.

It's also possible that such statements would be considered deceptive under another federal law, the FTC Act.

The news comes amid reports that users of the Apple iPhone 8s may find themselves unable to use the touchscreen after downloading the recent iOS 11.3 update, if they had the screen repaired by a third party other than Apple.

The FTC says "it is illegal to condition warranty coverage on the use of specified parts or services". The letters state that FTC staff will review the companies' websites after 30 days and that failure to correct any potential violations may result in law enforcement action.

Warranties are null and void if a warranty sticker is damaged or removed.

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