FTC warns companies that using "warranty void if removed" stickers is illegal

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Flickr via Andrew Cosand.

While no rulings have been made just yet, the FTC has sent letters out to "six major companies", including those that sell cars, gaming systems and mobile devices.

If you ever thought to yourself that those "warranty void if removed stickers" that often adorn various electronics are bullshit, good news-the Federal Trade Commission thinks so too.

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. In a statement made on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission pointed out that a product's warranty can not be tied to the use of a particular brand's replacement parts and fix services.

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In an announcement yesterday, the FTC said it had sent warning letters to six major companies about their anti-competitive warranty policies. In its letters, the agency provided three examples of what it deems to be "questionable provisions" found on different products.

The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your. manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact.

Companies can't put warranty stickers on their products and claim the warranty is void if you remove the sticker, the FTC says.

This warranty shall not apply if this product.is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].

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According to the FTC, those types of provisions are generally prohibited unless a company provides free parts replacement and repairs, or has received a waiver from the FTC. There's one company in particular that makes it very hard to open up its devices and is quite strict about not honoring a warranty if it sees any evidence of so-called (perfectly legal) tampering.

The illegal act here is companies appearing to "tie warranty coverage to consumers' use of authorized parts or service". Apple recently landed itself in the spotlight again for disabling iPhone 8s that were using third-party displays after being repaired at unlicensed shops.

Companies that have any question about their illegal practices regarding warrantys can go have a peek at FTC dot ORG where the FTC's Consumer Response Center released a statement.

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