WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators have accused Harley-Davidson and Westinghouse of imposing illegal warranty terms on customers and ordered them to fix their warranties and ensure their dealerships compete fairly with independent repairers.
The companies imposed illegal warranty terms that voided customers’ warranties if they used anyone other than the companies and their authorized dealers to obtain parts or repairs – restricting their options and costing them more money , the Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday in actions against the Milwaukee Motorcycle. maker and MWE Investments, which manufactures Westinghouse-branded outdoor generators and related equipment.
Under a proposed consent agreement with the agency, companies will be prohibited from telling customers that their warranties will be voided if they use third-party services or parts, or that they must only use parts. brands or authorized service providers.
Companies will also be required to add specific language to their warranties recognizing consumers’ right to repair: “Having your product repaired by a repair facility that is not affiliated with or an authorized dealer of (name of company) will not void this warranty. In addition, the use of third-party parts will not void this warranty.
Companies must send and post notices telling customers that their warranties will remain in effect even if they purchase replacement parts or obtain service from independent repairers. They must direct their authorized dealers to remove misleading display materials, train employees, and not promote parts and branded dealers to third parties.
Last year, the FTC passed a policy statement supporting the “right to repair” that promised to strengthen enforcement efforts and pave the way for new regulations. Regulators have argued that anti-competitive restrictions have directed consumers to isolated repair networks or caused them to replace products before the end of their useful life. The idea was to give Americans more freedom to fix broken cell phones, computers, video game consoles or even tractors themselves, or to use independent repair shops.
“Consumers deserve a choice when it comes to fixing their products, and independent dealers deserve a chance to compete,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s consumer protection bureau, said Thursday. “These orders require Harley and Westinghouse to set their warranties, be honest with consumers, and compete fairly with independent vendors. Other companies that stifle consumers’ right to repair should take heed. »