Everyone has probably noticed a little sticker on the back of their console that says “warranty void if removed”. You’ll usually find similar messages at the ends of certain user agreement licenses, and essentially, it’s meant to keep customers from getting third-party repairs by voiding their warranty if they do. Well, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), that’s not cool — illegal, not cool.
In fact, they’ve sent out six letters to six major companies in the US warning that this practice is illegal. According to the statement given by the FTC on their website:
Unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties. Similarly, such statements may be deceptive under the FTC Act.
Thanks to the folks over at Motherboard who obtained copies of the letters, we now know these letters were sent to Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Hyundai, HTC, and ASUS. The agency’s associate director of marketing practices Lois Greisman sent out the letters on April 9 and gave each company 30 days to change its official warranty policies under threat of possible legal action against the companies. While there’s still no word yet on how the companies have responded to the FTC’s allegations, it may mean changes to warranty policies from these companies coming soon.