FTC Issues New Policy Statement Advancing the Goal of Open Repair Markets

  • The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) unanimously voted in favor of a policy statement aimed to boost enforcement against manufacturer practices designed to prevent purchasers from repairing their own products in violation of antitrust laws, the FTC Act, or the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits, among other things, tying a consumer’s product warranty to the use of a specific service provider or product, unless the FTC issues a waiver.
  • A recent FTC report to Congress about repair restrictions found that manufacturers use a variety of methods to make it more difficult for consumers to fix or maintain their products, including limiting the availability of parts and tools or using adhesives to make parts more difficult to replace, resulting in increased costs to consumers, barriers for independent repair shops, and unnecessary environmental waste.
  • Under its new policy, the FTC will devote more enforcement resources to combat repair restrictions, prioritize investigations into unlawful repair restriction practices, and explore new rulemaking. In addition, the FTC will collaborate with state law enforcement agencies and policymakers to advance the goal of open repair markets.