So, the FTC (USA) says that the “warranty void if removed” sticker is illegal, according to a 1975 law. The FTC pointed to some example cases of how companies treat the consumer illegally. The FTC required big companies to revise their warranty terms, including the details on their site. From the FTC site:
Each company used different language, but here are examples of questionable provisions:
- 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.
Beyond the sticker part, the FTC also says it’s illegal to require the consumer to use only companies’ part – parts which are usually overpriced or non existent. I wonder to what extent these requirements take hold and to what extent the companies will bypass them.
It’s important to note that even if these requirements are met, it doesn’t ensure that the companies provide any real and reasonably priced means to manually fix or upgrade your product. It’s more pronounced in the laptops’ scene, where usually you won’t be able to get any electrical diagrams and parts lists. One can buy a $2000 laptop you like very much and face the situation where you can’t really fix it because of some small issue (and it’s a small issue many times).
That’s one way that the companies control the market, forcing people to see products as something you use and throw. The “right to repair” organization is aimed to fix just that. Check them out!
Head photo: the void