The Magnuson-Moss Act:
(From Washington D.C., not Las Vegas)
A federal law called the
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act governs consumer product warranties and
protects your right to choose. The Act requires manufacturers and
sellers of consumer products to provide buyers with detailed
information about their warranty coverage. The Act affects both the
rights of consumers and the obligations of warrantors under written
Your printer. Your choice.
Under the law, it's against the law for an OEM or anyone to make you
buy a specific brand of cartridge. Nor can anyone can tell you that
remanufactured cartridges will void your warranty. It's your
printer, you bought it, so it's your right as a consumer to choose
which brand of cartridge you use.
Information about the Act
Clarifying the Lawmakers' intentions
#1: Congress wanted to ensure that consumers could get complete
information about warranty terms and conditions. By providing
consumers with a way of learning what warranty coverage is offered
on a product before they buy, the Act gives consumers a way to know
what to expect if something goes wrong, and thus helps to increase
#2: Congress wanted to ensure
that consumers could compare warranty coverage before buying. By
comparing, consumers can choose a product with the best combination
of price, features, and warranty coverage to meet their individual
#3: Congress intended to promote
competition on the basis of warranty coverage. By assuring that
consumers can get warranty information, the Act encourages sales
promotion on the basis of warranty coverage and competition among
companies to meet consumer preferences through various levels of
#4: Finally, Congress wanted to
strengthen existing incentives for companies to perform their
warranty obligations in a timely and thorough manner and to resolve
any disputes with a minimum of delay and expense to consumers. Thus,
the Act makes it easier for consumers to pursue a remedy for breach
of warranty in the courts, but it also creates a framework for
companies to set up procedures for resolving disputes inexpensively
and informally, without litigation.
Magnuson-Moss and Your Business Practices
In order to understand how the Act affects you as a businessperson,
it is important first to understand actions not intended by the Act.
The Act does not:
#1: require any business to
provide a written warranty. The Act allows businesses to determine
whether to warrant their products in writing. However, once a
business decides to offer a written warranty on a consumer product,
it must comply with the Act.
#2: apply to oral warranties.
Only written warranties are covered.
#3: apply to warranties on
services. Only warranties on goods are covered. However, if your
warranty covers both the parts provided for a repair and the
workmanship in making that repair, the Act does apply to you.
#4: apply to warranties on
products sold for resale or for commercial purposes. The Act covers
only warranties on consumer products. This means that only
warranties on tangible property normally used for personal, family,
or household purposes are covered. (This includes property attached
to or installed on real property.) Note that applicability of the
Act to a particular product does not, however, depend upon how an
individual buyer will use it.
What the Magnuson-Moss Act Requires
Congress has specified a number of mandatory warrantor requirements.
They've also directed the FTC to adopt rules to cover other
requirements. The FTC adopted three Rules under the Act:
* the Rule on Disclosure of Written Consumer Product Warranty Terms
and Conditions (the Disclosure Rule)
* the Rule on Pre-Sale Availability of Written Warranty Terms (the
Pre-Sale Availability Rule)
* and the Rule on Informal Dispute Settlement Procedures (the
Dispute Resolution Rule).
In addition, the FTC has issued
an interpretive rule that clarifies certain terms and explains some
of the provisions of the Act. This section summarizes all the
requirements under the Act and the Rules.
The Act and the Rules establish three basic requirements that may apply to you, either as
a warrantor or a seller.
Rule #1) As a warrantor, you must
designate, or title, your written warranty as either "full" or
Rule #2) As a warrantor, you must state certain specified
information about the coverage of your warranty in a single, clear,
and easy-to-read document.
Rule #3) As a warrantor or a seller, you must ensure that warranties
are available where your warranted consumer products are sold so
that consumers can read them before buying.
The titling requirement, established by the Act, applies to all
written warranties on consumer products costing more than $10.
However, the disclosure and pre-sale availability requirements,
established by FTC Rules, apply to all written warranties on
consumer products costing more than $15. Each of these three general
requirements is explained in greater detail in the following
What the Magnuson-Moss Act Does Not Allow
There are three prohibitions under the Magnuson-Moss Act. They
involve implied warranties, so-called "tie-in sales" provisions, and
deceptive or misleading warranty terms.
"Tie-In Sales" Provisions
Generally, tie-in sales provisions are not allowed. Such a provision
would require a purchaser of the warranted product to buy an item or
service from a particular company to use with the warranted product
in order to be eligible to receive a remedy under the warranty. The
following is an example of prohibited tie-in sales provisions:
"In order to keep your new Plenum Brand Vacuum Cleaner warranty in effect,
you must use genuine Plenum Brand Filter Bags. Failure to have scheduled maintenance
performed, at your expense, by the Great American Maintenance
Company, Inc., voids this warranty."
Know your rights. Call with questions.
If you have any questions about your Rhinotek Warranty or about the
Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, please call us toll free 1-800-695-7446
and ask to speak with a customer service representative.