Submission Number: 00004
Received: 10/5/2011 9:52:08 AM
Commenter: Melodie Eisenberg
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: 16 CFR Parts 239, 700, 701, 702 and 703; Request for Comments Concerning Interpretations of Magnuson Moss Warranty Act; Rule Governing Disclosure of Written Consumer Product Warranty Terms and Conditions; Rule Governing Pre Sale Availability of Written Warranty Terms; and Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and Guarantees ; FTC Matter No. P114406
Attachments: No Attachments
I am commenting to express support for Rule 702 requiring pre-sale disclosure of manufacturer warranties at the point of purchase. I recently shopped for a modem at a Best Buy store in Dunwoody Georgia. I was offered the opportunity to purchase a service contract, which I declined, but when I asked to view the manufacturer's warranty on the product, I was told "we don't have it" and "it's inside the package, so we cannot open it." When I called the Best Buy corporate headquarters to resolve the problem, I was told that "the manufacturer's warranty would be inside the package, and we would have to open the package in the store which is not allowed." Obviously, this prevented me from making an informed decision about whether to purchase the product, and it violates Rule 702. This is just an example; in my experience, there seems to be WIDESPREAD ignorance of rule 702 and gross misunderstanding by sales clerks about warranties in general. I often hear things like "it's a 2-year warranty" as if the length of warranty coverage is the only relevant piece of information. It is not! Sometimes, retailers just flat-out refuse to provide a copy of the written warranty; when I purchased a rebuilt transmission from an auto dealer, I was told "you don't need a copy of the warranty, it's in our system." I have no access to that dealer's "system" and I had to threaten legal action before I finally got a copy of the written warranty. Consumers would benefit from education about warranties in general, including their rights to review warranties prior to purchase, and retailers absolutely need to be educated about their obligations under the Act. The Act also need to provide consumers with a REMEDY for violations of rule 702; from my reading of it, I only see remedies available when a warranty is breached, but no remedy appears to be available to consumers whose rights are violated by a seller's failure to comply with Rule 702.