FTC: You Can't Void a Warranty by Breaking a Seal

FTC third-party repair services will not void your warranty

FTC warns console and smartphone makers against limiting consumer warranties

This, in effect, means that common-or-garden "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers are illegal, simplifies a news report published by Motherboard.

The Federal Trade Commission warned six manufacturers of cars, video game consoles and mobile devices that their overly strict warranty-voiding tactics aren't going to fly anymore.

The FTC also said that companies can not void warranties if consumers choose to fix their products with third-party parts - a policy that hurts "consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services", said Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

While the FTC didn't list the companies by name, they did state that these were businesses that sold "automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems".

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

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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".

As PCGamer points out, the FTC's primary concern seems to be that companies are violating the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, which is a law that protects consumer product warranties and prohibits certain restrictions.

Some of the warranties in question had phrases that blatantly stated a warranty would be voided if consumers didn't use parts sold or licensed by the company.

The illegal act here is companies appearing to "tie warranty coverage to consumers' use of authorized parts or service". If the situation has not improved within 30 days, the regulator may take further action. Apple, for instance, recently said that third-party screen repairs would void an iPhone's warranty. In addition, FTC staff requests that each company revise its practices to comply with the law. These stickers are often used to discourage consumers from performing DIY repairs, or going through third-party services.

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