FTC Hits Harley-Davidson On Right To Repair
from the fix-your-own-stuff dept
Following through on a request by the Biden administration to defend right to repair, the FTC has demanded that Harley Davidson and Westinghouse stop voiding customer warranties over repairs. In an announcement, the FTC noted that both companies used fine print to void a customer’s warranty if they used independent dealers for parts and repairs:
“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. “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.”
Voiding your warranty if you (gasp) try to obtain (usually less expensive) third-party parts or assistance is just one of countless strategies companies use to monopolize repair. It’s an issue that plagues not just auto dealers and tech companies, but the medical sector as well. The combination of mindless consolidation and attacks on independent repair have consistently driven up costs for everyone.
If you’ve not skimmed it yet, the FTC’s recent report, “Nixing the Fix,” is a worthwhile read.
While U.S. consumer rights have been a bit of a depressing mess for years, watching the right to repair movement go from nerdy niche to mainstream has been one of the few high points. New York recently became the first state in the nation to pass a full right to repair law after growing consumer anger.