How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/warranty-void-if-removed-stickers-are-illegal

“Warranty void if removed.” These warranty agreements and stickers exist almost entirely to help manufacturers maintain a monopoly on repairing the devices that they sell us.

These stickers and clauses are illegal under a federal law passed in 1975 called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

To be clear, federal law says you can open your electronics without voiding the warranty, regardless of what the language of that warranty says.

The statute itself states “for example, a provision in the warranty such as, ‘use only an authorized ABC dealer’ or ‘use only ABC replacement parts,’ is prohibited where the service or parts are not provided free of charge pursuant to the warranty.”

The MMWA is a relatively obscure statute that is most famous for creating “lemon law” for cars. If you’ve ever heard about it before, it’s probably in the context of car warranties: a warranty cannot be voided simply because someone uses aftermarket parts in their device or car.  But the law applies to all consumer devices that cost more than $15, including electronics

The Xbox One has a sticker that, if broken or removed, implies to Microsoft that a third party has opened the device. The Playstation 4 has various stickers that must be broken to open the device that explicitly state that tampering with them invalidates the warranty. iPhones and MacBooks don’t have a warranty-voiding sticker, but Apple Geniuses are trained to look for clues that would tip the company off to the fact that the device has been opened. Apple has also been known to refuse service on devices that have been opened.** Each of those company’s warranty agreements advise against or forbid* opening the device.

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