The Federal Trade Commission recently issued a press release stating that six major car, mobile phone, and video game system companies have been warned for violating a product warranty act by requiring consumers to only use first-party products or else void their warranty. [Thanks, Ars Technica!]
This violation involves common practices such as having ‘Void If Broken’ stickers on the products. The FTC also gave some examples of problematic language found in the warranty which is prohibited under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act passed in 1975, and two of them point to Nintendo and Sony respectively being warned:
- This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
Here’s the passage from Nintendo’s warranty info:
THIS WARRANTY SHALL NOT APPLY IF THIS PRODUCT: (a) IS USED WITH PRODUCTS NOT SOLD OR LICENSED BY NINTENDO (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NON-LICENSED GAME ENHANCEMENT AND COPIER DEVICES, ADAPTERS, SOFTWARE, AND POWER SUPPLIES)
Here’s the other example pertaining to video game systems:
- This warranty does not apply if this product . . . has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.
Here’s Sony’s warranty info:
THIS WARRANTY DOES NOT APPLY IF THIS PRODUCT… (G) HAS HAD THE WARRANTY SEAL ON THE PS4™ SYSTEM ALTERED, DEFACED, OR REMOVED.
According to Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, “Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services.”