The tamper-evident "Warrant Void If Removed" stickers violate the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975, which allows device owners to take their gadgets for service at independent depots without voiding their warranties.
As with its predecessors, Microsoft's Xbox One S has one of these stickers, as well as illegal warranty terms that state that the warranty "does not apply" if the device is "opened, modified, or tampered with [or] repaired by anyone other than Microsoft." An FTC spokesman affirmed that these stickers and the accompanying warranty are deceptive and have no legal standing: "The stickers could be deceptive by implying consumers can’t use parts the warrantor doesn’t pre-approve, which violates the anti-tying provisions of MMWA."
“Manufacturers threaten to do things they cannot do legally but 99.9 percent of consumers have no idea of their actual rights,” Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the Repair Association, a group lobbying for fair repair laws around the country told me in June.
Steve Lehto, a Michigan-based lemon law attorney, told me Microsoft’s MMWA violation is quite cut-and-dry, but noted that challenging Microsoft on the policy would be too expensive for any consumer.
“The manufacturers know that the litigation costs would be prohibitive in any given single case,” he said. “But it might be ripe for a class action if there are legitimate problems being denied for warranty coverage by someone. That might be where this is headed someday.”
The Xbox One S Still Uses Microsoft's Illegal Warranty-Void-if-Removed Sticker
(Image: Xbox One S Teardown/IFixit)