FTC says warranty warning stickers illegal
If worries about voiding your warranty have ever kept you from trying to repair your own electronics, or from visiting the cheap repair shop on the corner, the government has some good news for you.
The Federal Trade Commission announced that warning stickers that say people will void their warranties are not only meaningless, but also illegal. These types of stickers are common on many electronics — for example, if you try to open an Xbox One X, you’ll find a black sticker over one of the screws; Microsoft has cited the sticker’s absence as a reason to reject people’s warranty claims in the past. Sony’s PlayStation has a sticker that says, “Warranty void if seal damaged.”
The agency said it sent letters about the labels to six “major” companies that make game consoles, automobiles and cellular devices. The FTC did not name the companies that received the letters. The agency said that these types of messages are in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits companies from putting repair limits on warranties, and they may also violate rules against false representation.
Consumer groups have criticized companies, including Apple, Sony and Microsoft for using these warnings — or for telling consumers that third-party repairs will violate a warranty. Sony and Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kyle Wiens, CEO of iFixit and its co-founder, said the announcement reaffirms consumer rights. “Of course correctly repairing products yourself doesn’t void the warranty. If you break your phone’s screen, you should have options outside of Apple for repairing it,” he said. “I’m glad that the FTC is cracking down on these abusive practices. We should be able to maintain our own hardware.”