As Holiday Shopping Season Gets Underway, FTC Reminds Internet Retailers to Ensure Consumers Have Access to Warranty Information

For Release

Federal Trade Commission staff is asking top Internet retailers to review their websites to ensure that they provide complete and accurate information about product warranties before consumers make their online purchases, as required by the FTC’s Pre-Sale Availability Rule.

The Rule requires retailers to make warranties available at the time of purchase for all warranted consumer products that cost more than $15.  However, a recent staff survey found several instances of Internet sellers offering warranted consumer electronics and appliances for sale without disclosing complete warranty information.

“During the busy holiday shopping season, it’s especially important that consumers get the information they need to make informed buying decisions,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “Internet sellers can help by making sure their websites are providing complete and accurate warranty information.”

The letters also inform the Internet sellers that they can comply with these obligations easily online by, for example, using a clearly-labeled hyperlink, in close proximity to the description of the warranted product, such as ‘get warranty information here’ to lead to the full text of the warranty.”

The letters note that FTC staff plan to revisit the websites after 90 days to ensure compliance with the regulations.  The FTC cannot disclose the names of the warning letter recipients, as that is nonpublic information.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180
 
STAFF CONTACT:
Svetlana Gans,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3708