The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning to five companies for using illegal means to discourage customers from having their hardware repaired by a third party.
After issuing a freedom of information request, Motherboard obtained a written notice from the FTC directed towards Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, ASUS, Hyundai, and HTC. According to the notice, the companies all send their devices with a plastic seal which claim that if a customer were to remove it, that the warranty for said device has been voided.
This is in violation of the 1975 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act law, which ensures that no manufacturer selling a product for more than $5 can restrict repair conditions for a product that’s also sold with a warranty.
Issued on April 9, the FTC’s warning gave the mentioned companies a total of 30 days to end its placements of these stickers, which can be found on devices such as the Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One. Failing to do so could, according to the note sent by the FTC, end up with the commission taking “law enforcement action and seek appropriate injunctive and monetary remedies against [company name] based on past or future violations.”
Other large companies, like Apple, that similarly encourage customers to not have their devices repaired by third-party sources are not mentioned in the FTC’s letter, according to Motherboard.
The five companies have until May 9 to remove the illegal stickers and seals from its products.