Products with “warranty void if removed” stickers likely illegal, FTC warns

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has said that products with stickers that say “warranty void if removed” are deceptive and likely illegal.

Telling customers to “use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact” is also prohibited, the FTC said.

The FTC has warned six companies marketing automobiles, mobile devices and video game consoles in the US over statements they have made to consumers about using specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact. The FTC said that such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties and may be deceptive under the FTC Act.

The companies, which the agency did not name, have 30 days to respond to the FTC and failure to do so could “result in law enforcement action”.

“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,” said Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

The FTC provided examples of questionable provisions in statements to consumers:

“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.”

Some of the language in those examples matched the text in warranty documents issued by Nintendo, Sony and car-maker Hyundai, according to a report by Ars Tecnica on the matter.