As readers of the blog know, we have written previously about the importance of periodically reviewing warranty language to avoid scrutiny from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).   This week, the FTC blog published another article entitled “The latest word of warranties.”

In the post, the FTC offered the following guidance:

If your business offers warranties, here are some steps to consider:

  • Read your warranties to see if they prohibit a consumer from using other sellers’ parts or services – or if consumers might read your warranty to imply that. Conform your policies to the just-announced clarifications to the Warranty Act’s Interpretations.
  • Check your website to make sure your warranties are posted close to the warranted products.
  • Review your warranties and service contracts to ensure all material terms and conditions are disclosed clearly and conspicuously.
  • Read the FTC’s brochure, A Businessperson’s Guide to Federal Warranty Law.

My take on this post is that it reaffirms that the FTC continues to focus on consumer warranties and ensuring that a normal consumer would be able to understand what is and what is not covered.  Ultimately, a warranty is only good if it can be enforced so there needs to be balance between disclaiming liability and offering service to consumers.

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Photo of Jeffrey White Jeffrey White

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or…

I am a partner at Robinson+Cole who handles corporate compliance and litigation matters for both domestic and international manufacturers and distributors that make and ship products around the world. My clients have ranged from publicly traded Fortune 500 companies to privately held and/or family owned manufacturers. For those looking for my detailed law firm bio, click here.

I am often asked why I have focused a large part of my law practice on counseling manufacturers and distributors. As with most things in life, the answer to that question is tied back to experiences I had well before I became a lawyer. My grandfather spent over 30 years working at a steel mill (Detroit Steel Company), including several years in its maintenance department. One of my grandfather’s prime job duties was to make sure that the equipment being used was safe. In his later years, he would apply those lessons learned in every project we did together as he passed on to me his great respect and pride for the manufacturing industry.

Because of these experiences, I not only feel comfortable advising executives in a boardroom, but also can easily transition to the factory floor. My experience has involved a range of industries, including aerospace and defense, chemicals, energy, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, nutritional and dietary supplements, and retail and consumer products. While I have extensive experience in litigation (including product liability and class actions), I am extremely proactive about trying to keep my clients out of the courtroom if at all possible. Specifically, I have counseled manufacturers and distributors on issues such as product labeling and warranties, product recalls, workplace safety/OSHA, anti-trust, and vendor relations, among other things. I always look for the business-friendly solution to a problem that may face a manufacturer or distributor and I hope this blog will help advance those efforts.