FTC legal issues re: Tie-in Sales
and the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act
Sherman and Clayton antitrust acts
Third Party and Aftermarket accessories/supplies
Jailbreaking and Rooting your phone or tablet.
There are many stories of Dealers and Sellers refusing to honor warranties because people a) Used a third-party ink cartridge, b) Opened their PC to install a memory upgrade, c) Used Prestone antifreeze instead of GM's Dex-Cool® (In their car not their computer), d) Jailbroke their iPhone to use an AT&T phone with Verizon.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines on warranties. Most of the above are related to the tie-in sales clause, Section 102 (c), of The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (P.L. 93-637) (1975), which states a manufacturer cannot force you to use a specific item or service (usually one they sell) with their product in order to be eligible to receive a remedy under the warranty.
In general, tie-in sales provisions are not allowed. Such a provision would require a purchaser of the warranted product to buy an item or service from a particular company to use with the warranted product in order to be eligible to receive a remedy under the warranty. The following case exemplifies a prohibited tie-in sales provisions: In order to keep your new Plenum Brand Vacuum Cleaner warranty in effect, you must use genuine Plenum Brand Filter Bags. Failure to have scheduled maintenance performed, at your expense, by the Great American Maintenance Company, Inc., voids this warranty.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act states, in part, in Title 15, United States Code, Section 2302, subdivision (c) says,
My google searches did not find any specific "case law" regarding this, but you could go to your library and search the Lexis database to find some.
In the IT (Information Technology) industry and in particular the accessory and upgrade markets, "tie-in sales" ploys can also violate sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890) which is in Title 15 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) . As the United States Supreme Court has stated:
The essential characteristic of an invalid tying arrangement lies in the seller's exploitation of its control over the tying product to force the buyer into the purchase of a tied product that the buyer either did not want at all, or might have preferred to purchase elsewhere on different terms. When such "forcing" is present, competition on the merits in the market is restrained and the Sherman Act is violated.Source: Memory and System Warranty - Separating Fact from Fiction - Support - Dataram
Section 3 of the Clayton Act (1914) also has "tying" language.
The same article talks about how Best Buy's Geek Squad refused to fix a hardware problem on a Netbook, for which the user purchased a $80 extended warranty, because he replaced Windows with Ubuntu Linux. He re-installed windows and showed the problem still existed, but Best Buy still refused to honor the warranty.
Third party ink cartridges:
Using Aftermarket Products:
Aftermarket equipment that improves performance does not automatically void a vehicle manufacturer's original warranty, unless the warranty clearly states the addition of aftermarket equipment automatically voids your vehicle's warranty, or if it can be proven that the aftermarket device is the direct cause of the failure.
SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Market Association) will support consumers using products manufactured by their members.
Jailbreaking and Rooting:
Rooting is the term usually used for doing the same thing on Android phones and tablets.
Originally, jailbreaking was not allowed due to its circumvention of copyright protection systems made illegal by Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1988, which amended Title 17 of the United States Code to extend the reach of copyright.
However, following a request from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in 2010, the US Copyright Office granted an exemption, which made it legal. Apple filed comments to this exemption but they were not recognized.
This exemption was a universal act that also applied to Android devices. Therefore, in the US, both processes are legal according to the US Copyright Office.
The current exemption may essentially expire when the Librarian announces the 2012 exemptions, which the EFF expects will happen in October.
My Story re: wet tablet:
I got a Samsung Tablet from Verizon wet and opened it up to try and dry it. Verizon replaced it even though they didn't have to.
See Water Damage.
Atlanta, GA: (404) 656-1399 Boston, MA: (617) 424-5960 Chicago, IL: (312) 353-4423 Cleveland, OH: (216) 522-4207 Denver, CO: (303) 844-2271 New York City, NY: (310) 235-4000 San Francisco, CA: (451) 356-5270Links:
Understanding the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (pdf) | Mobile Electronics (www.me-mag.com)
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act - Warranties - Consumer Laws
PC warranties - The PC warranty and the warranties of individual computer components
Geek Squad Wouldn't Honor My Netbook's Protection Plan - The Consumerist
Keeping Your Mod's Warranty Intact - For Dummies - Aftermarket equipment for cars
Can an automotive dealership void your warranty?