Three weeks ago the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) began sending letters to companies outlining concerns over conditional warranty clauses that are in violation of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which governs consumer product warranties. The FTC letters outlined several examples of questionable provisions such as:
- The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your…manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
- This warranty shall not apply if this product…is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
- This warranty does not apply if this product…has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.
The above, however, can be acceptable provided the manufacturer is providing free part replacements and repairs or has received a waiver from the FTC. In a statement by the FTC,
“it is illegal to condition warranty coverage on the use of specified parts or services.”
Companies receiving letters from the FTC to this effect will have 30 days to ensure compliance before facing legal action. This means that if you see a warranty “void if removed” sticker, you can disregard the warning.