You know those stickers you sometimes find on the back of an electronic device that warns you if you were to remove it, it would void your warranty? As it turns out these stickers are actually illegal, at least according to the FTC (via Motherboard) who claims that under federal law, customers are allowed to repair their own things, and that manufacturers cannot force customers to use their own repair services.
Given how expensive official replacement parts and repair services are, it is not surprising that many have turned to third-party services, which in some cases has resulted in some undesirable consequences. According to the FTC, this is based on the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act which prevents manufacturers from putting restrictions on a device it offers warranty on.
The FTC writes, “The letters warn that FTC staff has concerns about the companies’ statements that consumers must use specified parts or service providers to keep their warranties intact. Unless warrantors provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC, such statements generally are prohibited by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law that governs consumer product warranties. Similarly, such statements may be deceptive under the FTC Act.”
So far the FTC has put six companies on notice although they do not mention which companies were notified. The companies are given 30 days to update their websites and comply with the US federal law before the FTC takes further action.