By MARCY GORDON-AP Business Writer
Washington (AP) —Federal regulators accuse Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse of imposing illegal warranty terms on their customers, amend the warranty, and ensure that dealers compete fairly with independent repair makers. I ordered
On Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission imposed an illegal warranty condition in a lawsuit against Milwaukee Motorcycles that would void the customer’s warranty if the parts or repairs were made using anyone other than the company and its authorized dealers. Manufacturer of Westinghouse brand outdoor generators and related equipment and MWE Investments.
Under the proposed agreement with the agency, the company informs the customer that the use of third party services or parts will void the warranty or that only branded parts or authorized service providers should be used. Is forbidden.
Companies also need to add specific wording to the warranty granting the consumer’s right to repair. “The service of the product by a repair shop not affiliated with (company name) or an authorized dealer of (company name) does not void this warranty. Also, using third-party parts. However, this warranty will not be revoked. “
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Companies must send and post notices to notify customers that their warranty remains valid even if they purchase aftermarket parts or are serviced by an independent repair manufacturer. They need to instruct authorized dealers to remove deceptive exhibits, train their employees, and not promote branded parts or dealers to third parties.
last year, FTC has adopted a policy statement in support of the “right to repair” It promised stronger enforcement efforts and paved the way for new regulations. Regulators argued that anti-competitive regulations have led consumers to isolated repair networks or to replace products before they reach the end of their useful life. The idea was to give Americans more freedom to repair broken cell phones, computers, video game consoles, and even the tractor itself, or to use an independent repair shop.
“Consumers deserve choice when it comes to product repairs, and independent dealers deserve the opportunity to compete,” Samuel Levine, head of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Agency, said in a statement prepared Thursday. Said. “For these orders, Harley and Westinghouse need to fix their warranty, clean up with consumers and ensure fair competition with independent providers. Other companies that deprive consumers of repair rights should be careful. You should pay. “
Unavailable parts, instruction manuals, diagnostic software and tools, product design restrictions, and locks on software embedded in devices make it difficult to modify and maintain many consumer products, according to regulators and industry critics. It has become. Do-it-yourself repairs often require access to specialized tools, hard-to-find parts, and diagnostic software protected by the manufacturer.
“Rubber paves the way for FTC’s new focus on protecting rights to repair,” Nathan Proctor, senior director of repair rights campaigns for the US Public Interest Research Group, said in a statement. Companies are not the only ones using the threat of warranty revocation to limit repairs. FTC’s actions … give a clear signal that it’s time to stop infringing on consumer rights and respect the protection of repair rights. “
A Harley-Davidson spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. I couldn’t contact the Westinghouse spokesman.
FTC requires consumers to report potential abuse of warranty or similar breach. www.reportfraud.ftc.gov
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