Mag-Moss rule review: Is it warranty-ed?

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These days many shoppers wouldn’t think of buying a product without checking if it comes with a written warranty.  And companies in it for the long haul understand the importance of living up to their promises if something goes kablooey.  But that wasn’t always the case.  It wasn’t until 1975 — when Congress passed the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act — that federal teeth were added to consumer warranty protections.

Among other things, Mag-Moss says that businesses offering written warranties to consumers have to clearly disclose the details. Over the years, to flesh out companies’ obligations, the FTC has issued additional compliance guidance in the form of rules, guides, and interpretations.

As part of its systematic review of regs on the books, the FTC just announced it’s looking into how Mag-Moss is faring in today’s marketplace.  What’s up for consideration? The FTC’s Interpretations of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act; rules dealing with written disclosure of warranties, how warranty documents should be available pre-sale, and informal dispute settlement procedures; and the agency’s Guides for the Advertising of Warranties and Guarantees.

The FTC is interested in feedback about the rules’ costs and benefits, as well as their overall effectiveness and coverage. If your company offers warranties — or if you can share insights into how warranties are working in today’s marketplace — you’ll want to be part of the conversation.

The deadline is October 24, 2011.  Save time by filing your comments online.

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