FTC Gives 30 Days to Get Rid Of Illegal Warranty Void Stickers

rgMekanic

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In a follow up to a story we did last month where the FTC stated that "Warranty Void if Removed" stickers are BS, Motherboard has obtained copies of the letters sent to companies via a FoIA request. The companies that were warned in the letters were Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Hyundai, HTC, and ASUS.

The letter gives each company 30 days from April 9th to change its official warranty policy, stating:

"This letter places you on notice that violations of the Warranty and FTC Acts may result in legal action," the letters state in bold, adding that the FTC had reviewed warranty language on each manufacturers' websites and found it to be infringing. " 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."

Another step in the correct direction when it comes to the "right to repair." We will have to keep an eye out for what, if any changes these companies make to their policies as the 30 day deadline is coming fast. Thanks to erek for the story.

The only difference between the letters is that each calls out the specific language from each manufacturer that violates federal law, for example, Microsoft’s Xbox One warranty states “Microsoft is not responsible and this warranty does not apply if your Xbox One or Accessory is...repaired by anyone other than Microsoft.” The FTC letter specifically states that this type of language is illegal.
 

sfsuphysics

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Well goodbye warranties, no company worth their salt will want to put a warranty on a product if your "right to repair" is what ended up breaking something else. Hmmm nice little solder joints then fat glob of solder that shorts out a couple traces... geeeze I wonder why it doesn't work anymore.
 

Master_shake_

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Well goodbye warranties, no company worth their salt will want to put a warranty on a product if your "right to repair" is what ended up breaking something else. Hmmm nice little solder joints then fat glob of solder that shorts out a couple traces... geeeze I wonder why it doesn't work anymore.
I bet not only are you wrong that it will be business as usual

Besides they don't warranty against physical damage anyway
 

BloodyIron

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With one hand we have FTC repealing net neutrality.

With the other, we have consumer rights being actually protected.

This FTC is confusing.
 

DukenukemX

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Great, now what am I suppose to do with this shirt?

560.jpg
 

gxp500

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So how long before a major class action lawsuit against every company that has denied warranty based on those stickers?
 

Nobu

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So how long before a major class action lawsuit against every company that has denied warranty based on those stickers?
You would need to be able to prove they denied warranty because of modifications that would not cause more damage than would occur if it were unmodified, and not because you caused the damage either directly or indirectly through your modification. Else, you could not be part of the class.
 

gxp500

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You would need to be able to prove they denied warranty because of modifications that would not cause more damage than would occur if it were unmodified, and not because you caused the damage either directly or indirectly through your modification. Else, you could not be part of the class.
Would they even diagnose the part if they knew the void sticker was tampered with? Something tells me no.
 

Spidey329

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You would need to be able to prove they denied warranty because of modifications that would not cause more damage than would occur if it were unmodified, and not because you caused the damage either directly or indirectly through your modification. Else, you could not be part of the class.


Pretty sure they tell you "warranty denied - Warranty Void Sticker damaged" .. which would be enough. They would need to prove that any modifications (opening the device) caused the damage resulting in the warranty claim. That'd be very hard to prove.

The car manufacturers were slapped for trying a similar thing (e.g. voiding a power train warranty because you put an aftermarket intake on the vehicle).

Would they even diagnose the part if they knew the void sticker was tampered with? Something tells me no.


My guess, no. They simply ask for you to pay return shipping or offer you a replacement deal. The latter would be done to scare you into thinking you're out of luck and the replacement would likely be a repaired (and refurbished) version from some other sucker.
 

Donald Bell

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The car manufacturers were slapped for trying a similar thing (e.g. voiding a power train warranty because you put an aftermarket intake on the vehicle).

Unfortunately, this is a poor example as warranties for cars are honored by the dealer, who can give you a million excuses or just plain lie, both of which are SUPER common. I promise. Car manufacturers couldn't care less about your problems with a dealer refusing to honor a warranty. If it isn't a life/safety issue and isn't systemic with that model car, you are SOL.
 

mord

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I wonder if manufacturers will start using epoxies to make disassembly more difficult.
Not likely. They just wanted you to use them for all repairs so they make more money. They are not likely to do things that make it significabtly harder for them to make money off repairs.

That's not to say they won't do something, just not out of spite. They don't care. They just want to make money.
 

Nobu

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Pretty sure they tell you "warranty denied - Warranty Void Sticker damaged" .. which would be enough. They would need to prove that any modifications (opening the device) caused the damage resulting in the warranty claim. That'd be very hard to prove.

The car manufacturers were slapped for trying a similar thing (e.g. voiding a power train warranty because you put an aftermarket intake on the vehicle).




My guess, no. They simply ask for you to pay return shipping or offer you a replacement deal. The latter would be done to scare you into thinking you're out of luck and the replacement would likely be a repaired (and refurbished) version from some other sucker.
Right, but you would have to show that they did that. A recording, letter, or email. If you have none, and they didn't retain any records, then you're sol.
 

risc

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Not likely. They just wanted you to use them for all repairs so they make more money. They are not likely to do things that make it significabtly harder for them to make money off repairs.

That's not to say they won't do something, just not out of spite. They don't care. They just want to make money.

They wanted a simple and efficient way to assure the items they received from warranty weren't tampered with and are genuine spec products. No one should be obligated to repair bubba'd equipment.

I'm almost positive, the sticker will be replaced with another method making it more expensive and difficult. If I was a manufacturer, I would. Countersink screws + epoxy, or just epoxy the housing.
 
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I cant believe the FTC did something good for the people. Im really shocked

Prices will go up across the board as companies have to absorb people trying to fix their own shit and dodgy repairs followed by an RMA.
 

Gman1979

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So when do we see the class action lawsuits for all the warranties denied just for cganging GPU TIM? lol
 

Gman1979

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Prices will go up across the board as companies have to absorb people trying to fix their own shit and dodgy repairs followed by an RMA.

Not as much as you'd expect. The third party companies who get contracted to handle this stuff will just find new reasons to deny valid replacement/repairs.
 

nutzo

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Prices will go up across the board as companies have to absorb people trying to fix their own shit and dodgy repairs followed by an RMA.

No, any repair attempt that caused damage (bad solder job, broken cable, etc.) would still void the warranty.
They would just have to say something like "Warranty void due to solder damage on board." instead of just saying sticker damaged.

It may raise repair cost for the bad actors who use any excuse (like a damaged sticker) to avoid covering the warranty.
I've had too many products where the sticker was in a bad location that almost guarantied that the stick would get damaged in a short time.

I've also had products where heat weakened the glue on the sticker so I could disassemble the product without damaging the sticker :D
 

rudy

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Well goodbye warranties, no company worth their salt will want to put a warranty on a product if your "right to repair" is what ended up breaking something else. Hmmm nice little solder joints then fat glob of solder that shorts out a couple traces... geeeze I wonder why it doesn't work anymore.


That's not true at all plenty of industries such as the car industry operate with out these bogus premise. If you open a device or otherwise modify it and it caused damage that will be apparent. If you open a device and there is no apparent damage then they have no right to deny your warranty claim.

Why do people worry about things that represent a small portion of the population. How many people are their out there that are the type to try and fix something and will mess it up, but wouldn't go through a sticker, seems like a small group. All the warranty void stickers did was stop the type of people who could fix things from doing it until the warranty was up. And for me personally it also meant in many cases I actively avoided new products because I don't want to be limited in how I use them. If you want to see how true this is look at the aftermarket PC parts business. Their have been many times where they backed off such claims cause they realized that not allowing people to use their parts the way they want would reduce sales. And ultimately every part inside your PC has a individual warranty. If it was so horrible the whole entire PC parts business wouldn't have a warranty on anything as it would be to risky people you know building their own computers.
 

Advil

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I'm not sure how it changes anything. The worst offenders who constantly claim some type of bogus physical damage will STILL claim some type of bogus physical damage whether you violated a sticker or had a shop try to repair it.

And I'm in agreement that attempting to have something repaired is pretty much going to be a guaranteed excuse to call anything and everything physical damage.
 

Iratus

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Hang on, some federal rule changes to benefit consumers rather than large corporates, this was a mistake right?

I'd make sure I have my monster.com profile up to date if I worked at the FTC, this can't be allowed to happen
 

alxlwson

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Unfortunately, this is a poor example as warranties for cars are honored by the dealer, who can give you a million excuses or just plain lie, both of which are SUPER common. I promise. Car manufacturers couldn't care less about your problems with a dealer refusing to honor a warranty. If it isn't a life/safety issue and isn't systemic with that model car, you are SOL.


This is poor poor information. You've obviously never worked in the auto industry.
Dealerships have nothing to do with honoring the warranty other than being the intermediary between you and the manufacturer.
Here's how it worked when I was still wrenching, and it hasn't changed since: Customer brings vehicle in. States hard cold starts and CEL is lit. Vehicle is inside warranty miles/time limits. Do a quick scan with the IDS and pull/clear DTCs. Service writers toss them in a rental so we can do a cold soak start the next morning. DTC pointed to #6 glow plug. Verify harness wiring, good. Pull GP, yep, it's fucked. Replace GP, verify, send truck out the door. Dealership submits my book time and my findings notes to manf, and parts hangs on to the damaged GP in case the manf wants it. Dealership knew the moment they entered the mileage and last 6 if the vehicle if it was under warranty or not. They mark it warranty in the system, and submit. Goes straight to the many warranty department.
You shouldn't talk about shit you know nothing about.
 

viscountalpha

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This is poor poor information. You've obviously never worked in the auto industry.
Dealerships have nothing to do with honoring the warranty other than being the intermediary between you and the manufacturer.
Here's how it worked when I was still wrenching, and it hasn't changed since: Customer brings vehicle in. States hard cold starts and CEL is lit. Vehicle is inside warranty miles/time limits. Do a quick scan with the IDS and pull/clear DTCs. Service writers toss them in a rental so we can do a cold soak start the next morning. DTC pointed to #6 glow plug. Verify harness wiring, good. Pull GP, yep, it's fucked. Replace GP, verify, send truck out the door. Dealership submits my book time and my findings notes to manf, and parts hangs on to the damaged GP in case the manf wants it. Dealership knew the moment they entered the mileage and last 6 if the vehicle if it was under warranty or not. They mark it warranty in the system, and submit. Goes straight to the many warranty department.
You shouldn't talk about shit you know nothing about.

I would amend his comment and say difference manufacturers care differently about their customers. Let's say Ford for the sake of argument. Aren't they pulling many of their automotive line? ;)
 

mord

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They wanted a simple and efficient way to assure the items they received from warranty weren't tampered with and are genuine spec products. No one should be obligated to repair bubba'd equipment.

I'm almost positive, the sticker will be replaced with another method making it more expensive and difficult. If I was a manufacturer, I would. Countersink screws + epoxy, or just epoxy the housing.

That is one concern from a business. I still side with the consumer on this.

I don't expect a company to warranty something that has been broken by bad repair or tinkering.
 

NeoNemesis

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Well goodbye warranties, no company worth their salt will want to put a warranty on a product if your "right to repair" is what ended up breaking something else. Hmmm nice little solder joints then fat glob of solder that shorts out a couple traces... geeeze I wonder why it doesn't work anymore.

This won't happen because of the backlash both from consumers and from politicians would could conceivably start pushing minimum warranty regulations.

That's not to say they won't do something, just not out of spite. They don't care. They just want to make money.

This is a very important point and I'm glad you made it. Corporations aren't people and they don't react irrationally to situations like this, especially massive public corporations like the ones being discussed in this article.

This is why I always laugh when people suggest that Microsoft or Google should leave Europe every time they get slapped with a fine.
 
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alxlwson

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I would amend his comment and say difference manufacturers care differently about their customers. Let's say Ford for the sake of argument. Aren't they pulling many of their automotive line? ;)


Indeed they are, but just cars that don't rhyme with Mustang, lol. Poor sales due to SUV and crossovers being all the rage (again). I think eventually we'll see them return, but not so many models. I am surprised they are pulling the Focus. I hate that they are pulling the Fusion. As an owner and a big fan of the car, it is sad. So many PD are going to Explorer Interceptors due to price. The Taurus Interceptor is just a few grand less, but the Explorer is a far roomier and more capable vehicle. Not to mention, it's hella easier to do the lighting upfit on compared to the Taurus.
 

vegeta535

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Why are people even opening shit that is still under warranty? Hell even to me taking off a heatsink from a video card and slapping a water block on it should void it since you modified the card. Shit how many people broke their GPUs just taking it apart for cleaning.
 

alxlwson

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Why are people even opening shit that is still under warranty? Hell even to me taking off a heatsink from a video card and slapping a water block on it should void it since you modified the card. Shit how many people broke their GPUs just taking it apart for cleaning.


Not all off us are clumsy.
A sticker doesn't mean you broke something. Breaking something means you broke something.
Why should putting a water block on the card void the warranty if what happened is unrelated to the block? Example: a solder joint opening up at the HDMI connector.
 
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