The FTC announced on Thursday that it is taking action against the Harley-Davidson Motor Company Group and the Westinghouse outdoor generator maker MWE Investments for allegedly restricting users' ability to repair their own products.
"Consumers deserve choices when it comes to repairing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete," said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a press statement. "These orders require Harley and Westinghouse to fix their warranties, come clean with consumers, and ensure fair competition with independent providers. Other companies that squelch consumers' right to repair should take notice."
The two companies in question offered warranties that offered repairs or replacements if the products had defects in them. However, the two companies' warranty terms contained "illegal warranty terms that voided customers' warranties if they used anyone other than the companies and their authorized dealers to get parts or repairs for their products," the regulatory agency said. Harley-Davidson also "failed to fully disclose all of the terms of its warranty in a single document," the agency said, thus requiring users to contact a dealership for complete details. This is an alleged breach of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits companies from limiting companies from requiring consumers to use particular name brand products or else risk a loss of warranty.
The FTC has been an avid supporter of the right to repair, a policy notion advocating that users be able to repair their own products without having to pay additional funds to the product provider to get the right parts or services.
The regulatory agency released a report in May 2021 titled "Nixing the Fix" that elaborated on the state of the market and noted that companies such as Apple and John Deere have limited product repairability through software locks, intentional product designs, or enforcing patents. The policy is a particular area of focus for the agency, according to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan. Some companies have adapted to the FTC's policies by selling the parts and resources required for repair directly to consumers.
At least 34 states have introduced right-to-repair legislation for consideration, according to the Repair Association.
A representative from Harley-Davidson did not respond to requests for comment from the Washington Examiner.
Original Location: FTC tells Harley-Davidson to abide by right-to-repair rules in warranties
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