Warranty-voiding language like Nintendo's and Sony's is illegal — FTC

FTC warns big tech firms to stop voiding warranties for 'unauthorised' repairs

The names of the companies have not been revealed, but they are "major companies that market and sell automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems in the United States". Unless the sellers provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited in the U.S. or could be considered misleading to consumers. In addition, the FTC called for each company to revise its practices to comply with the law.

In a Wednesday letter to six unnamed companies, the agency determined that the use of "warranty seals" - stickers that are placed on internal components, over screws for example, and which must be broken in order to fix or open a device - are illegal.

As for PlayStation VR owners, Sony demands they take particularly good care of the "warranty seal on the product", which shall not be "altered, defaced, or removed" to continue enjoying the benefits of the headset's limited hardware warranty.

According to the FTC, manufacturers who claim that the warranty is void if consumers buy third-party parts violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which lays down the rules for warranties when it comes to consumer products. The stickers warn that removing or otherwise destroying them will immediately void the manufacturer's warranty. To their credit, Apple has loosened that grip around third-party iPhone screen repairs, honoring in-warranty pricing even with the fix.

"After misleading consumers about its privacy and security practices, Uber compounded its misconduct by failing to inform the Commission that it suffered another data breach in 2016 while the Commission was investigating the company's strikingly similar 2014 breach", Maureen Ohlhausen, the acting FTC chairwoman, said in a statement.

The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on companies that condition the warranty coverage to use specific parts or services. These stickers are often used to discourage consumers from performing DIY repairs, or going through third-party services.

Warranties are null and void if a warranty sticker is damaged or removed.

The FTC is asking these companies to review their promotional and warranty materials to be sure they are in compliance with the law.

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