Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo Given 30 Days to Ditch Repair-Deterring Warranty Stickers


You don’t see a lot of places offering console repairs anymore, which isn’t surprising, as Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have gone out of their way to discourage the practice. In fact, all three current consoles have “warranty void if removed” stickers or seals on or inside them to deter any sort of repairs or tinkering. Well, it turns out that's illegal.

Per US law, no warranty on a product sold for over $5 dollars can put any restrictions on repairs. A lot of companies do, but it seems like the FTC has decided to actually enforce the law. In addition to Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, Hyundai, ASUS, and HTC have also received the following warning:

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“This letter places you on notice that violations of the Warranty and FTC Acts may result in legal action.  FTC investigators have copied and preserved the online pages in question, and we plan to review your company's written warranty and promotional materials after 30 days. You should review the Warranty and FTC Acts and if necessary, revise your practices to comply with the Acts' requirements. By sending this letter, we do not waive the FTC's right to take law enforcement action and seek appropriate injunctive and monetary remedies against your company based on past or future violations.”

The warnings were issued on April 9, meaning the companies have until May 9 to ditch the stickers and change their warranty policies. The FTC letters sent to Sony, Microsoft, and Sony (read them here) all specifically call out the parts of their warranties that prohibit repairs or the use of third-party peripherals. So, in addition to repairing your machine, you’re free to buy all the wacky accessories you want!

It’s good to see the FTC putting their foot down on this issue. The big console makers would, of course, prefer you just buy a new machine if yours breaks, but that shouldn't be your only option. I doubt this will lead to a mom ‘n’ pop repair shop renaissance, but it’s the principle that matters.

Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo have not publicly responded to the FTC’s orders.