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

FTC: third-party repair services will not void your warranty
Having your smartphone serviced by an unauthorized third party will most certainly void its warranty. Right? Well, not necessarily.

In a statement made on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission pointed out that a product's warranty cannot be tied to the use of a particular brand's replacement parts and repair services. In other words, having your phone serviced by a third party cannot render its warranty void in case, say, a manufacturing defect manifests itself down the road.

The FTC further stated that it has sent warning letters to six companies, at least one of which is involved in selling "cellular devices". It warns them against using unlawful and potentially misleading statements in their warranty terms and conditions, such as:

  1. The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your . . . manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
  2. This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
  3. This warranty does not apply if this product . . . has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.

The warranty act also renders "warranty void if removed" stickers useless, which are often seen on PCs and gaming consoles.

There has also been an official statement by Thomas B. Pahl, Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission, who said that tying warranty coverage with the use of particular products hurts both consumers, and small businesses, which want to be competitive with their services.

Companies have 30 days to remove warranty tying statements from their websites and policies. Otherwise, legal actions will be taken.

source: FTC via Engadget

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19 Comments

1. Cat97

Posts: 1923; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Good !

8. yann

Posts: 614; Member since: Jul 15, 2010

Guess which company is not happy. pApple?

16. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

I don’t imagine any manufacturer who would like this.

2. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1079; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Hmm I wonder which Cellular Device company has a very strict Warranty policy that the FTC would not agree with....

3. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3147; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Ha! I’m itching to see what the Defenders Of The Fruit Shield have to say about this. Lots of garbage written over the last couple of says on a similar thread. This is where I say “Told you so!”

15. Venom

Posts: 3692; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Yes, take your device to an unauthorized repair shop so they can mess it up. Didn't think of that did you? And I find it funny when you are able to take shots at other companies, some more than others, but I say something that is backed by proof, you pitch a fit.

22. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3147; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

I probably own more Apple products right now than you ever will so don't try to paint me as an Apple basher. I'm technically and mechanically skilled enough to do my own parts replacements myself so I don't need to visit ANY repair shop and I never have. What you don't seem to understand is that the owner of a product has the legal right to do what he pleases with his products. This is not Apple's or any other company's call - it's the Federal Government's as far as the US is concerned. This article was based on a previous one that dealt with Apple. Not Samsung, not Sony, HTC, LG, BlackBerry or any other. Any criticism leveled at Apple was solely based on them being the subject of the article, not some tin-foil conspiracy you cooked up in your head,

4. antroid

Posts: 392; Member since: Jan 24, 2018

I'm sure Apple won't be happy about that

5. cmdacos

Posts: 4260; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Smart decision.

10. libra89

Posts: 2290; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

I'm glad this was said. This is ridiclous to even be suggested as a thing considering that not every country has Apple Stores and also not everyone has one in their backyard.

18. Subie

Posts: 2384; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

The FTC's decisions here will only affect these companies on how they operate in America. Those other countries will have to have their own legislation regarding these issues. Fortunately, many other countries already do.

6. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Hey if warranty can't be void let's disable stuff when people replace their screens, not at our place https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/11/iphone-replacement-display-ambient-light-sensor-issue/

17. rouyal

Posts: 1583; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Good. Manufacturers have no obligation to support third party parts.

20. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

It even does this when you use original parts.

7. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2432; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

As Michael Scott on the Office once said: “It takes a big man to admit his mistakes and I am that big man.” I have to concede that izim1 was correct in his interpretation of the law, although I will say the FTC’s own examples and interpretations of the law threw me for a loop considering their own example pretty much made it sound like it was allowable to deny a warranty if you didn’t use the right parts or equipment. However, I don’t know the real extent of this new warning letter. It sounds as though the FTC is attacking the usage of warranty voiding stickers more so than language of improper replacement equipment installation. It does reaffirm the right of a user to do their own repairs, but does not necessarily guarantee the right of a warranty if those repairs were done improperly or with the wrong equipment. Again, probably will need to wait and see what the response is and if these companies will apply for waivers.

13. southernzombie

Posts: 357; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

What it sounds to me is that companies will not be allowed to deny a warranty claim just because third parties have done repairs on the device. I'm sure there is an exception to that if the third party repairs are what caused the issue to begin with. Basically like someone else said, some people have no choice but to use an "unauthorized" repair service because going to an Apple store is impossible either because there is not one in their country or is just too far away. Until just recently the nearest apple store to me was over 2 hours away. So if someone needed a screen repair and they were in one of those situations they would have no choice but to use a 3rd party. If the phone then starts having booting issues or battery issues, so long as it wasn't caused by the new screen there is no reason why that should void the warranty.

9. PhoenixFirebird

Posts: 125; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

Yay! Good!

11. speedingcheetah

Posts: 86; Member since: Jul 22, 2017

So this just ONLY applies to smartphone makers??? What about other electronics like game councils and computers.

14. southernzombie

Posts: 357; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Didn't read the article did you? "The warranty act also renders "warranty void if removed" stickers useless, which are often seen on PCs and gaming consoles."

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