Posted by Suraj A. Vyas | 3 minute read
The 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act just saved consumers a ton of headaches in 2018 and the future. Next time one of your devices breaks and you have to send it in, don't worry about those stickers they always tell you not to peel off. A few months ago, the FTC sent out warnings to some companies that were violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act by requiring buyers of their products (who wanted to use the warranty) to do things like keep their warranty stickers on or not use their devices with third party accessories. They were given a deadline to change their policies or face "law enforcement action." The deadline is up.
The Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Thomas B. Pahl, said: “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." The FTC sent a letter stating the following to at least six companies: "This letter places you on notice that violations of the Warranty and FTC Acts may result in legal action. FTC investigators have copied and preserved the online pages in question, and we plan to review your company's written warranty and promotional materials after 30 days. You should review the Warranty and FTC Acts and if necessary, revise your practices to comply with the Acts' requirements. By sending this letter, we do not waive the FTC's right to take law enforcement action and seek appropriate injunctive and monetary remedies against [company name] based on past or future violations."(Emphasis in original).
Below is a screenshot of some examples of the disallowed language:
The three above examples are referring to Hyundai automobiles, Nintendo consoles and handhelds, and Sony PS4™ respectively. Open up your iPhones, peel off the stickers on your video game consoles, and know that you're covered. The following companies (and likely many more) will be revising their policies in order to comply with the FTC's warning:
*iPhones and Macbooks don't actually have a policy against peeling off stickers, but they do have a policy against internal tampering. Apple can look at the internal sticker with the serial number and make sure it's not misaligned, which might happen if you got your screen fixed by a third party or even if you bought a refurbished iPhone. They have a few other tricks up their sleeve including a dent detection tool, liquid contact indicator, and more.
Though the FTC has issued warranty warning letters in the past, they have never directly targeted technology companies until now. Many tech companies lobby against your "right to repair" and the FTC declaring that warranty policies like those above are void is a huge win for consumer rights.
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