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How Sony, Microsoft, and Other Gadget Makers Violate Federal Warranty Law

It’s illegal for Sony, Apple, Microsoft, and others to void a warranty just because you repaired your electronics yourself.

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IGiveHugs2NakedWomen2943d ago

Agreed. Excellent article. Kudos to the author.

nveenio2942d ago

"…prohibits warrantors from conditioning warranties on the consumer’s use of a replacement product or repair service identified by brand or name…”

On my PS4 warranty, there is no service identified by name, which means it still could be argued to meet government regulations. For other applications, however, this has been very informative. When we bought a brand new Nissan in 2007, the condition of the 5yr/100,000m warranty was that all oil changes be done at the dealer. That was okay for a while, but as the car started to age, their service started taking longer and longer. The last time I had them perform the oil change, my four-year-old son and I waited in the dealership for two and a half hours. And we'd had an appointment. But now I know that my next warranty won't be voided if I never use the dealer in the first place. (Which I probably won't.)

thisismyaccount2943d ago

What almost no one knows is that these stickers and clauses are illegal under a federal law passed in 1975 called the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

Federal Law = USA only then

sampson31212943d ago

yes, but perhaps people from other countries might have similar laws. it's a good idea to check in your country.

rainslacker2943d ago

Are the stickers illegal, or just them not honoring the warranty should it be broken?

I used to do service repairs for Sony and other electronic companies, and while I was asked to verify the sticker was in place, they never followed up on it nor would I be prevented from doing the repair should I so choose..

Generally, I wouldn't do a repair if the sticker was broken though. Reason being is that while 99.9% of people don't know their rights, 99.9999% of people don't know jack squat about how to open, diagnose, repair, or put back together these devices. I know it seems odd, given the internet tells you everything, but I can say that for non-warranty service(where the person paid me directly) I saw they usually screwed things up more by opening the case.

For a company like Sony, or most other electronics manufacturers, repairing piece that's broken isn't a big deal. but get people fiddling around inside, doing things they don't know how to do, and breaking or hillbilly fixing their devices just makes it more expensive to repair.

Unfortunately, if the case has been opened, there is really no way for the companies to say if the defect is on the actual product, or if it was user error from fussing around inside....which is why the warranty is void, not because they don't want to fix their defects or are trying to monopolize a repair market where they more often than not contract out the repairs to repair specialist(like I used to be), or 3rd party companies which specialize in such things.

However, technically, you are correct, just opening the case shouldn't void the warranty. But if anything is done inside it, the warranty is void.

Long story short, if it's under warranty, get it fixed under warranty. There is no monopolization in that repair service, because the company has to pay. Felt that part of the article was a bit heavy handed as if warranty service costs the consumer money.

Angeljuice2942d ago (Edited 2942d ago )

"For a company like Sony, or most other electronics manufacturers, repairing piece that's broken isn't a big deal. but get people fiddling around inside, doing things they don't know how to do, and breaking or hillbilly fixing their devices just makes it more expensive to repair."

Well, theoretically you are correct, however sometimes the technicians aren't capable and you have to do it yourself.
My Commodore Amiga broke completely (wouldn't turn on). I sent it to two different repair shops and was told it was irreparable.
I had nothing to lose so I took it apart, fiddled with it for a couple of hours and got it working perfectly (with a couple of alterations to the wiring).

I realised then that repair shops are not the answer. They can replace a broken part, but if it isn't a stock part or a known fault, they do nothing.

Anybody with a technical mind and a level of dexterity can replace broken parts, and can also fix irreplaceable parts if you do it yourself.

I tend to fix most things myself nowadays as it is a lot more interesting and saves wasted time and money.

rainslacker2942d ago

While I don't disagree with you, the way electronics are made today is much different than the way they were with the Commodore. For the most part, all electronics inside a system, beyond the motherboard(although some parts may be replaceable) are all modular in design, and meant for easy repair by repair shops. So long as it's not the motherboard which is the problem, a repair shop should be able to readily get the parts required....particularly if they are warranty service certified.

However, I've seen people try to repair their own stuff with official replacement parts or off brand parts, and still botch it up.

Maybe 1 in 20 screws something up beyond the repair itself....at least using anecdotal statistics. Consider the PS4 sitting at around 40 million consoles. If it has a 5% failure rate, that would assume that 2 million consoles crap out. Assume that 1 in 100 tries to repair it themselves. That means 200,000 people try to repair it without going through warranty service. Now consider that 1 in 20 screws something up. that means Sony is now having to fix more than the initial repair on 10,000 units. What may have been a simple fix for them, could cost them a rather expensive part, up to, and including the motherboard itself....which aren't cheap....not to mention the time it would take to determine if it was user error or Sony's fault.

n4rc2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

(Of course, manufacturers aren’t required to fix things that you break—they just can’t stop you from fixing it yourself or having someone else fix it.)

And that's just it.. it's not about forcing you to use their repair services, it's about not fixing your mistakes.. cars and electronics aren't the same thing..

If it's under warranty, why are you trying to fix it yourself? If it's out of warranty, then it's nothing but a sticker.

Trying to apply a 40 year old law to products that didn't exist is kind of funny really.. there are plenty of ridiculous laws still in effect from 100 years ago

KwietStorm_BLM2943d ago

Because there's nothing wrong with fixing it yourself, even if it's under warranty. If you know what you're doing, then what's the problem?

n4rc2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

What about the vast majority of people that don't?

It's not reasonable for these companies to have to either waste time and money investigating if you caused the damage or not, or simply eat the cost and repair your screw ups anyways.. the second you take repairs into your own hands, you've done just that..

You can't allow any diy wannabe to mess around freely then expect the manufacturer to fix it.. the law never worked that way to begin with

Either way.. it's a law that needs updating as a car from the 70s and a high tech piece of electronics from 2016 are not even remotely similar when it comes to service.

And if it was illegal.. how did this random site come to that conclusion but every lawyer in the country didn't? Oh yeah....

2pacalypsenow2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

Because companies would have no way to know if it was a defect or a person who thinks they can fix it broke it.

ShakyTown2943d ago

What if you decide to put a 2tb drive in your ps4, then months later the hdmi port goes out. They claim you void the warranty simply by opening the case even if their hardware failure is completely unrelated to you doing so.

jaycptza2943d ago

that's why the the hard drive casing is not stored in the area that will void your warranty. Are you that clueless?

2pacalypsenow2943d ago

Because installing a new hard drive doesn't void your warranty.

xMANB3ARP1G2943d ago

please never defend yourself in court you will goto jail.

ziggurcat2943d ago

@shaky:

replacing the HDD in your PS4 doesn't void the warranty, it's an approved user-replaceable component (it even shows you how to do it in the user manual).

ShakyTown2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

Lol,
I left for work after leaving the comment above and look at me now, the laughing stock of N4g. Anyhow, yes unfortunately I am that clueless. I did not realize that the ps4's hard drive was accessible without voiding the warranty.
I guess the issue is if someone wishes to fix or replace a part that isn't under warranty should it void the warranty on other components of the product unless it is repaired by the manufacturer?
The problem is that after spilling carne asada fries on my console, Microsoft could charge me whatever they see fit to fix the unit. Even if another reputable repair shop would do it for $100 cheaper they will void my warranty on future factory defective components. It basically gives them a monopoly on the repair market. No competition is bad for the consumer.
Props @2pacalypsenow and @ziggurcat for shedding light on the subject without attacking me and the other two childish fucktards can go suck a bag of dicks. There, now I'm one of YOU...

xMANB3ARP1G2941d ago (Edited 2941d ago )

shakytown honestly assumed you were just trying to be a troll spreading misinformation leading to at least one person somewhere seeing it and beveling it to be true. chill out guy if your not trolling were cool. sorry for the misunderstanding. if you are now planning to get a new hard drive remember 2.5 size and i recomend jumping straight to 2tb if you can afford it they have gone down in price lately that always helps. im at 1tb myself and im finding space issues to be far to constant for my taste, i want to make a jump to 4tb but i understand the only way that is possible is with the nyko data base thing and has more cons then i see worth it as you honestly dont need to have 2tb+ of games and dlc already installed at your fingertips but it sure would be nice.

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 2941d ago
s45gr322943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

Is due to people not wanting to wait a week or two for their console to be repaired. Basically, instead of shipping (pay for shipping and handling) their console to Sony or Microsoft, the consumer goes to their local repair shop in electronics and in one hour or two their console is fixed. This article demonstrates how corporations violate laws to have complete control of the console. It also proves that neither Sony or Microsoft can do whatever they want with their system. Gamers need to know their consumer rights ASAP in order to improve our gaming experience.

rainslacker2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

Complete control to spend money repairing your device? That doesn't make any sense. Some kind of repair monopoly(as the article says)...that doesn't make sense. They make no money off warranty service, however, they will lose more by doing warranty service to devices that more often than not were likely broken by the user if they had to open the case.

I'm not of the belief that people just open their systems to see if they can fix things. If they knew what they were doing, they would know the most likely cause before ever cracking open the case...especially in these internet days. People open stuff up, and maybe fix one thing, but often break another. User errors are not covered under warranty, which is why they don't want people opening the case. If they have to look and see if the user caused a problem to avoid repairing under warranty, then it just takes more time, and leads to repair shops, or the contractor that these companies pay to do the work, to do work and get paid despite the error being user induced. It's not like you ship these devices to Sony's offices, they're shipped to a 3rd party repair shop, or you're referred to a local warranty repair shop.

Gaming experience would be better served by just allowing the repairs be done under warranty. No reason to do it yourself, and I wouldn't recommend any DIY repair while something is under warranty.

ziggurcat2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

"Basically, instead of shipping (pay for shipping and handling)..."

if it's under warranty, you don't pay for anything, including shipping.

edit: my first PS4 was victim of whatever issue had plagued the launch PS4s - when I spoke to Sony about the problem, then sent a coffin for me to put the defective unit in, and have it shipped back to them. not a single cent came out of my pocket, everything was covered on their end. the entire exchange - from them sending me the coffin, receiving the coffin, packing up the defective PS4, sending them the defective PS4, them receiving the defective PS4, them sending me the replacement unit, and me receiving the new unit took all of 4 days. not a week or two.

TheCommentator2943d ago

So if it's out of warranty and the sticker is gone, why won't the companies fix it? They send it back to you when it's been tampered with in any way, even if you only opened it to clean it out.

Razputin2943d ago

N4rc, did you read the entire article?

They state that in certain cases even if under warranty the companies can/will REFUSE the repair.

I am certified along with many others to repair many electronics, but the simple fact that most items are locked under manufacturers (for instance, a certain motherboard/circuit board) you can't get anywhere locally. You either get 3rd party generic crap from China, or pay the manufacturer an extreme amount of money.

This is the issue.

n4rc2943d ago (Edited 2943d ago )

I actually did just read the whole thing.. my comments are based on the literal interpretation of an old law made for cars..

I know there needs to be a better way.. this just isn't it and the reason the FTC doesn't enforce it..

Edit for below

This isn't about the warranty act itself that I'm aware of (not American) but a amendment to it from 1975 primarily for automobiles

dumahim2943d ago

@n4rc
The Warranty Act is not an old law made for cars. It's for ALL consumer products over $15. It actually started out as a result of home appliance companies not living up to the terms of the warranty.

rainslacker2943d ago

Exactly. Electronics are kind of a delicate thing. Sure there's plenty of things which the user can do without much trouble...like replace a iPhone screen...but there are so many other things that can also go wrong, and many electronics today are so tightly packed into their cases, and require specific ways to assemble/disassemble, that the companies are the ones that are fixing things beyond some fuse that blows on the system board, and would then have to fix a clipped controller cable, or shorted out RAM chip.

Some of the things I've seen from doing repairs had me wanting to slap people with a hammer. It was rediculous the things they tried to do...like using a radio shack capacitor on a system board...despite having no idea how to test a capacitor, use a soldering iron, or bridging a fuse to jerry rig a repair.

@Kwiet

I used to repair electronics. most people don't know what they're doing, and even if they do, why not just have it done under warranty?

People are more than welcome to repair stuff themselves, and likely they could even get warranty service if they made a fuss. But they better really know what they're doing, and how to put that device back together exactly as the manufacturer sent it out like.

Companies would be spending a lot more money fixing other people's mistakes, and nowadays, with the internet, everyone thinks they know how to do everything, and more often than not screw up big time...particularly if they have no experience with electronics.

KwietStorm_BLM2943d ago

"What about the vast majority of people that don't?"

What about them? I said if you know what you're doing. There is a vast amount of intelligent, talented, and capable people out here. I didn't say anything about thinking you're nicer than you are, then trashing your system and still expecting them to fix it for you free of charge. I'm only addressing your statement, "If it's under warranty, why are you trying to fix it yourself? If it's out of warranty, then it's nothing but a sticker.."

Because really it's just a sticker either way.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 2941d ago
dumahim2943d ago

Good info. I started reading and was thinking, "it'd be nice to get Steve Lehto to chime in." Go figure, they did get him. Well done. Steve is good people. I read his stuff on Jalopnik all the time.