The Federal Trade Commission released a statement today saying it’s sent warning letters to several major companies in the US reminding them that it’s illegal to stipulate warranty coverage is dependent on using prescribed parts and service providers for repairs. In addition to manufacturers of “cellular devices,” warnings were also sent to companies that sell cars and video game hardware.

Unless first-party parts or services are provided to consumers for free, requiring their use as a condition of a warranty is illegal under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, the release says. That act passed in 1975.

The FTC didn’t mention companies by name, but gave some examples of offending statements made:

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

The FTC has requested the companies review their warranty literature and warned that failure to update warranty information available online within 30 days could result in legal action.