FTC Sends Stern Warning To ASRock, Gigabyte And Zotac Over Warranty Stickers

Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 4090 (blown up render)
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on warranty policies that run afoul of the right-to-repair movement. As part of the crackdown, the FTC sent warning letters to eight companies detailing warranty term violations. In three of those letters, which were sent out to ASRock, Gigabyte, and Zotac, the FTC took issue with warranty stickers that potentially stand in the way of a do-it-yourself (DIY) or third-party repair.

These types of stickers typically say "warranty void if removed" or something similar, and are often placed in locations that would make it impossible to perform repairs and/or what the FTC calls "routine maintenance" without peeling the sticker off. Examples we've seen in the wild include a single sticker that overlaps onto two separate sections of a product, or over the top of a screw that needs to be removed. We've also seen stickers that leave intentional residue to indicate that it was removed.

"These warning letters put companies on notice that restricting consumers’ right to repair violates the law," said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The Commission will continue our efforts to protect consumers’ right to repair and independent dealers’ right to compete."

Blown up render of an ASRock Radeon RX 7900 XTX.

In each of the letters, the FTC lists the specific warranty statement that caused the agency to become "concerned," followed by a warning that violating the Warranty and FTC Acts could lead to legal ramifications.

Here are links to each of the three letters...
While the letter are similar, they're not exactly the same. For example, the FTC's letter to Zotac calls out its warranty policy that states, "Warranty claims will be void if the user: … [t]ampers, defaces, or removes any stickers indicating void warranty if broken," adding that it would be concerned if Zotac denied warranty coverage based on those provisions.

In its letter to ASRock, however, the FTC went a little bit further and said that in addition to concerns over its warranty sticker policy, the agency "would be concerned about any additional representations made by ASRock that state or imply that its warranty coverage requires a consumer to purchase an article or service identified by ASRock or another brand, trade or corporate name."

That latter complaint was also the basis letters sent to four air purifier sellers, including aeris Health, Blueair, Medify Air, and Oransi, and treadmill company InMovement. According to the FTC, statements these companies use are generally prohibited under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) and could be deceptive under the FTC Act.