FTC warns some PC manufacturers that they're violating right to repair rules

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reminding several computer companies that “warranty void if removed” stickers are illegal, as is language discouraging consumers from fixing their own devices. The Commission warned ASRock, Gigabyte and Zotech to get rid of them and remove terms threatening to void warranties if users break the seal, it wrote in a press release spotted by The Verge.

“Letters to three other companies warn against their use of stickers containing ‘warranty void if removed’ or similar language that are placed in locations on products that hinder consumers’ ability to perform routine maintenance and repairs on their products,” the FTC wrote. “These letters were issued to ASRock, Zotac, and Gigabyte, companies that market and sell gaming PCs, graphics chips, motherboards, and other accessories.”

It wasn’t just the stickers, but language in the warranties stating that guarantees would be voided if said seals were broken. The practices “may be standing in the way of consumers’ right to repair products they have purchased,” according to the release. Commission staff will review the companies’ websites after 30 days and failure to correct violations may result in law enforcement action.

Right to repair laws have spread across US states, but the FTC is actually referencing decades-old rules. Under the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, companies can’t place restrictions on repairs unless they provide the parts or services for free or receive a waiver from the FTC.

This isn’t a new occurrence, as we wrote about a similar warning from the FTC way back in 2018. At that time, the watchdog sent warnings to six companies: Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, ASUS, HTC and Hyundai. Such stickers and policies aren’t necessarily illegal in other nations though, as iFixit wrote last year.

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