What the Magnuson-Moss Act Does Not Allow

There are three limitations under the Magnuson-Moss Act. These involve any implied warranties, which are often referred to as “tie-in sales” provisions, and deceptive or misleading warranty terms. Let’s look at these next.

Disclaimer or Modification of Implied Warranties 
The Act does not allow anyone who offers a written warranty from disclaiming or modifying implied warranties. This means that no matter how wide or narrow your written warranty is your customers always get the basic protection of the implied warranty of merchantability.

There is one allotted modification of implied warranties, however. If you offer a limited written warranty, the law allows you to include a provision that restricts the duration of implied warranties to the duration of your limited warranty.

For example, if you offer a two-year limited warranty, you can limit the implied warranties to two years. However, if you offer a full written warranty, you cannot limit the duration of implied warranties.

If you sell a product with a written warranty that came from the manufacturer, but you do not warrant the product in writing, you can disclaim your implied warranties. (These are the implied warranties where the seller and not the manufacturer, would be responsible.) However, whether or not you warrant the products you sell, as a seller, you have to give your customers copies of any written warranties from product manufacturers.

Most of the time, tie-in sales provisions are not really allowed. These kinds of provisions would require a buyer of the warranted product to buy an item or service from a particular company to use with the warranted product if they want to be eligible to receive a solution to a problem under the warranty. The following are examples of prohibited tie-in sales provisions.
 
In order to keep your new Proctor Silex Coffee Maker warranty in effect, you must use genuine Proctor Filters. Failure to have scheduled maintenance performed, at your expense, by the Company, will actually voids this warranty.
   
While you cannot use a tie-in sales provision, your warranty also doesn’t have to cover use of replacement parts, repairs, or maintenance that is inappropriate for your product. The following is an example of a permissible provision that excludes coverage of such things.
 
While necessary maintenance or repairs on your Pioneer Stereo System can be performed by any company, you recommend that buyers use only authorized Pioneer dealers. Improper or incorrectly performed maintenance or repairs will void this warranty as well.
   
Although tie-in sales provisions generally are not permissible, you can include this kind of provision in your warranty if you can effectively show the FTC that your product will not work properly without a specific item or service. If you believe that this is the case for your product, you should contact the warranty staff of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection for information on how you should apply for a waiver of the tie-in sales prohibition.

Deceptive Warranty Terms 
Warranties must not contain any lies or misleading terms. You cannot offer a warranty that looks like it appears to provide coverage but, in fact, doesn’t provide any. For example, a warranty that covers only moving parts on an electronic product that has no moving parts would be deceptive and illegal. Also, any warranty that promises service that the warrantor had no intention of providing or could not provide would be deceptive and illegal.

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