FTC: third-party fix services will not void your warranty

FTC warns console and smartphone makers against limiting consumer warranties

The move seems calculated to get a broader response than just six companies, however; With a public press release like this, the FTC is sending a long-overdue message to manufacturers and customers alike that warranty stickers just don't work. In an attempt to crack on conditional warranty coverage, the FTC sent letters outlining its concerns over warranty clauses to six "major companies", and it specifically mentioned those stickers.

Hyundai USA now insists "the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer's warranties and any extended warranties intact", while Nintendo sees no problem voiding otherwise valid warranties if some of its gaming devices are "used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo".

The FTC says claims by manufacturers that a warranty can only be intact if a consumer buys specified parts are prohibited under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law setting out the rules for consumer product warranties.

It's common for manufacturers of cars, video game consoles, and other products to insist that consumers will void their warranty if they use unauthorized fix services or unauthorized third-party parts.

If a company uses a seal or sticker that voids warranty if altered, defaced or removed, then that could be seen as an issue- unless that company provides free part replacements and repairs, or has cleared it with the FTC beforehand.

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Nintendo's warranty states that "this warranty shall not apply if this product is used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo".

This could be a major win for consumers: more repairs and service locations would be allowed under warranty, and modders of game consoles may be able to indulge their hobby without trying to hide it from the manufacturer.

Any person who performs work on their own electronics knows all about "warranty void if removed" stickers.

The names of the companies receiving the FTC letter have not been revealed, but it's not hard to guess.

The FTC is demanding that the companies stop voiding warranties and remove statements from their websites and other materials threatening to do so within 30 days.

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