As an independent agency of the United States government with a history of over a century of protecting consumers against unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce, as well as fighting and preventing anticompetitive business practices, the FTC has been in the spotlight of late with various Qualcomm, Facebook and YouTube investigations.
Soon enough, an additional half a dozen “major companies that market and sell automobiles, cellular devices, and video gaming systems” stateside could be severely penalized by the Federal Trade Commission for violations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The six companies technically remain unnamed, although the examples of “questionable provisions” included in their warranty policies quoted in the FTC’s latest press release indirectly reveal the identities of three of them.
Hyundai USA currently insists “the use of Hyundai Genuine Parts is required to keep your Hyundai manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact”, while Nintendo sees no problem voiding otherwise valid warranties if some of its gaming devices are “used with products not sold or licensed by Nintendo.” As for PlayStation VR owners, Sony demands they take particularly good care of the “warranty seal on the product”, which shall not be “altered, defaced, or removed” to continue enjoying the benefits of the headset’s limited hardware warranty.
All those abusive or deceptive conditions, as well as similar ones stipulated differently by the other three “major companies”, will need to be reviewed and revised within 30 days, as the FTC does not allow warranty coverage limitations based on the use of “specific parts of services.” Apple may well be one of the three, with its typical third-party repair shenanigans in clear violation of a number of consumer protection laws.