FTC warns phone makers: It’s illegal to void warranties over third-party parts

The Federal Trade Commission has warned six major companies that sell smartphones, video game systems, and vehicles about warranty conditions that require customers to use specified parts or service providers.

The FTC says claims by manufacturers that a warranty can only be intact if a consumer buys specified parts are prohibited under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, a law setting out the rules for consumer product warranties.

The only conditions a firm can apply to restrict warranties in this way are if they receive a waiver from the FTC or provide the specified parts or services for free.

“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm 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.

The FTC hasn’t named the firms but a company that has been criticized over the years for restrictions on third-party screen replacements is Apple. However, the iPhone maker argued that its 2016 ‘error 53’ debacle was a security measure.

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