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FTC: "Warranty Void If Removed" Stickers are Illegal

FTC: "Warranty Void If Removed" Stickers are Illegal
© Melanie Shields | Dreamstime.com

Remember the first time you saw a tag that said the warranty for whatever it was attached to would be void if it was removed? How about the nervous hands you struggled with while trying to repair a gadget on your own, all while a sticker saying you would no longer have a warranty if it was torn or the device was messed with was staring right at you?

The warnings were probably enough to get you to take your broken item to a repair shop specified by the company, one that may have been out of the way or perhaps charged more for certain parts. You didn't like it, but rules are rules so the best you could hope for is that nothing bad would befall your item.

For what it's worth, it looks like you may have been stressed out over nothing. As a recent letter sent out by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission notes, such claims and demands from companies are not acceptable.

Also, they are not legal

The letter that was sent to six major companies including cellular devices, video gaming systems and automobiles, the FTC said, simply, tags with those kinds of warnings are illegal. In other words, they are saying just because the tag is removed does not mean any warranty has gone away with it.

Along with that, they have ruled that under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, companies are not allowed to put restrictions on how people choose to repair their products. That means companies cannot dictate which repair shop you take your item or that you spend more on specific replacement parts.

“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 in a press release.

Companies have tried to get around that law by locking down their products as well as repair techniques. They did so by introducing the idea of voiding warranties if the products were not handled in a certain manner.

The letters sent by the FTC are meant to not only serve as a warning for those six companies but also as one for any businesses that use similar tactics. The plan is to review each of the six companies' websites after 30 days to see if they have changed their ways and, if not, will face legal action.

Now that you know about warranties, here are 20 incredibly useful websites you'll wish you knew about earlier

Do you have a specific need or problem? With more than a million websites you can visit now with a click of a button, there's bound to be something that you can use to solve your tech issue. That's why Kim put together this list of some of the most useful sites.

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