Reconsider Those 'Warranty Seal' Stickers — FTC Warns Manufacturers

FTC warns console and smartphone makers against limiting consumer warranties

The letters were sent to six US companies that market and sell automobiles, mobile devices, and video game consoles.

Given how expensive official replacement parts and fix services are, it is not surprising that many have turned to third-party services, which in some cases has resulted in some undesirable consequences. The FTC said that such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties and may be deceptive under the FTC Act.

That's according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), who yesterday posted a press release warning auto, phone, and video game console makers to stop using warranty terms that aren't legally enforceable.

The FTC goes on to say that of the six companies that it has warned, they include automobile, smartphone and video game console manufacturers.

For instance, the South Korean automotive manufacturer Hyundai has a warranty states that "the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact", Ars Technica reports.

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Stickers that say "warranty void if removed" are often found on gadgets, in many cases covering screws that would let somebody open the product and inspect its internal components.

"This warranty shall not apply if this product ... is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name]". 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. To their credit, Apple has loosened that grip around third-party iPhone screen repairs, honoring in-warranty pricing even with the fix.

"After misleading consumers about its privacy and security practices, Uber compounded its misconduct by failing to inform the Commission that it suffered another data breach in 2016 while the Commission was investigating the company's strikingly similar 2014 breach", said Acting FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen.

Apple in February ditched a warranty condition that excluded coverage on iPhones that had displays repaired or replaced by third-party providers. Any company that fails to follow this order within 30 days may face "law enforcement action".

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

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