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FTC Warns Console Manufacturers About Illegal Warranty Restrictions

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced in a press release earlier this week that it has warned six “major companies,” including console manufacturers, that it is illegal to add certain warranty restrictions when selling their hardware. While FTC doesn’t explicitly name the companies, Ars Technica’s research suggests that Sony and Nintendo are likely to be included in the list.

Here’s the language that FTC says is questionable:

  1. The use of [company name] parts is required to keep your . . . manufacturer’s warranties and any extended warranties intact.
  2. This warranty shall not apply if this product . . . is used with products not sold or licensed by [company name].
  3. This warranty does not apply if this product . . .  has had the warranty seal on the [product] altered, defaced, or removed.

The second statement can be found in Nintendo’s warranty and service information almost word for word, and the third statement can be found in Sony’s warranty limitation.

“Provisions that tie warranty coverage to the use of particular products or services harm both consumers who pay more for them as well as the small businesses who offer competing products and services,” said FTC’s Thomas B. Pahl.

All six companies have been told to review their warranty coverage.

[Source: FTC via Ars Technica, Games Industry]