A big barrier to fixing things for yourself is the stickers that say “warranty-void-if-removed.” Often times the stickers happen to be strategically placed in areas that might need repair by those that prefer do-it-yourself repair to save money.
However, the worry is the sticker will be ruined and if something big were to go wrong with the machine it would not be covered under warranty.
Companies say that their warranty stickers are needed to make sure that no one will tamper with parts of the device that could cause some unseen damage that in the end is not due to being a product defect.
However, this results in a system where far fewer repairs are carried out, more items, especially electronic devices are just disposed of, and a monopoly of sorts established in the repair industry for the item’s original manufacturer.
However, the legal enforcement for these types of warranty stickers has been always up for debate, and the Federal Trade Commission, in a just released notice, has taken the time to let companies know that it does not look at the stickers as being enforceable. The release said that six companies were sent letters warning each that their stickers were in violation of a law that is longstanding.
The FTC letters warn that staff at the agency is concerned about the statements made by the companies that consumers must use a specific service or parts provider to maintain their warranties valid.
The letter added that unless the warrantors provide the services or parts for free or obtain a FTC waiver, such statements are prohibited in general terms by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that governs all warranties for consumer products. In addition, such statements might also be considered deceptive under the FTC Act.
The letter added that if the six companies did not update policies they have on their own websites within the next 30 days, then the FTC would consider taking action of enforcement against them.
This move appears to be calculated to receive a much wider response than only six companies. Nevertheless, with a release to the public of such as letter, the FTC has sent a message that is long overdue to customers and manufacturers that the warranty stickers simply do not work.