Reconsider Those 'Warranty Seal' Stickers — FTC Warns Manufacturers

Reconsider Those 'Warranty Seal' Stickers — FTC Warns Manufacturers

The FTC said it was concerned about the companies' statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers or their products warranties would be considered invalid.

The US Federal Trade Commission staff has sent warning letters to six "major companies" that sell cars, mobile phones and video gaming systems, warning them to improve their warranty terms for customers. The FTC outlined three examples where "questionable provisions" are in play.

Hyundai's warranty states that "the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact". The Playstation 4 has various stickers that must be broken to open the device that explicitly state that tampering with them invalidates the warranty. iPhones and MacBooks don't have a warranty-voiding sticker, but Apple Geniuses are trained to look for clues that would tip the company off to the fact that the device has been opened.

This warranty shall not apply if this product.is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name]. I have a feeling that this one in particular is aimed at smartphone companies. This has been a contentious issue for consumer electronics, where it's often hard to get repairs done through a third party.

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The final issue that the FTC has raised pertains to warranty void stickers. To their credit, Apple has loosened that grip around third-party iPhone screen repairs, honoring in-warranty pricing even with the fix.

This warranty does not apply if this product. has had the warranty seal on the PS4 altered, defaced, or removed.

The illegal act here is companies appearing to "tie warranty coverage to consumers' use of authorized parts or service". Well, it turns out such demands and claims are illegal, and the FTC is taking action against such practices. The companies are given 30 days to update their websites and comply with the U.S. federal law before the FTC takes further action. That will depend on the new phrasing of the companies' policies, but this attention from the FTC will at the very least nudge things in the right direction.

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