The USA’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a press release to six companies stating that forcing consumers to use certain parts or service providers is prohibited under US law.
The statement (as reported by BGR) has been taken to mean that commonly used ‘warranty void if removed’ stickers aren’t legally binding, and don’t allow a company to circumvent its obligations to consumers. These stickers are usually placed on a device such that they’ll need to be broken or removed if you want to open up the device to repair it.
In recent years, several states across the US have implemented so-called ‘right to repair’ legislation, which forces electronics manufacturers to provide repair information and parts to allow their devices to be restored by third parties.
This right doesn’t only benefit consumers, allowing them to spend less money and use their devices for longer, but it’s important for the environment, too. Every year, thousands of devices with minor defects end up in landfill, when they could be easily repaired with the right knowledge and tools.
Warrant Sticker Removal: Preventing unnecessary damage?
At the same time, we have a certain amount of sympathy for the companies that use such stickers.
If you’re offering a free warranty for a product, it’s helpful to have a way of determining whether the owner has been poking around and potentially breaking things inside the device. We’re all for a company offering a free repair, but we’re not so sure you deserve this free service if you’ve been doing some DIY tweaking.
This is unlikely to be the last we’ll hear about the controversial stickers. Only 18 of the USA’s 50 states have expressed an interest in right to repair legislation so far, and progress has been slower still outside of the country.
However, if we want to tackle the enormous amount of waste being produced as a result of our obsession with consumer tech, increasing the lifespan of devices is something that needs to happen – just as much in the UK as in the US.
Have you tried repairing your tech yourself? How did it go? Let us know @TrustedReviews