Remember that time where the FTC announced they were cracking down on illegal, predatory warranty conditions? You know, such as those “warranty void if removed” stickers that don’t really have any legal base towards their implementation – and eventual refusal of an actual warranty claim? Well, the gong has now sounded, and it will reverberate some 30 times: the amount of days the FTC has given companies to cease and desist on putting those stickers in newly shipped products.
Via a Freedom of Information Act request, Motherboard has received confirmations that the first six companies that have been served by a letter form the FTC are Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Hyundai, HTC, and ASUS (the list of companies that didn’t get any letter, however, is quasi-infinite). The letters were sent by Lois Greisman, the FTC’s associate director of marketing practices, on April 9th, and established a 30-day period for companies to change their official warranty policies, threatening legal action.
“Warranty language that implies to a consumer acting reasonably under the circumstances that warranty coverage requires the consumer to purchase an article or service identified by brand, trade or corporate name is similarly deceptive and prohibited,” the FTC letters said.
This could also be concerning, however, as the FTC seems to be putting such an inordinate amount of focus on the language that is being employed by the companies. This, to this editor, seems like is leaving the door open for the companies to review their language and obfuscate their warranty-voiding intentions under other remarks than those they employ now. Here’s hoping we’re just putting our tinfoil hats on this one…
“This letter places you on notice that violations of the Warranty and FTC Acts may result in legal action,” the letters state in bold, adding that the FTC had reviewed warranty language on each manufacturers’ websitesand found it to be infringing. ” FTC investigators have copied and preserved the online pages in question, and we plan to review your company’s written warranty and promotional materials after 30 days. You should review the Warranty and FTC Acts and if necessary, revise your practices to comply with the Acts’ requirements. By sending this letter, we do not waive the FTC’s right to take law enforcement action and seek appropriate injunctive and monetary remedies against [company name] based on past orfuture violations.”