The US Federal Trade Commission has ordered Harley-Davidson and generator company MWE Investments to stop voiding customer warranties over repairs, marking a new step in the FTC’s fight over right-to-repair issues.
The order covers Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles and Westinghouse outdoor generators and related equipment, which is manufactured by MWE. Both companies must remove illegal terms in their warranties that discouraged customers from using third-party parts and repair services, and the warranties must inform consumers that they can make third-party repairs without affecting their coverage. They also have to proactively inform buyers of their rights and order officially authorized dealers to avoid deceiving customers about the warranty or promoting official parts over third-party ones.
“Illegal repair restrictions can significantly raise costs for consumers, stifle innovation, close off business opportunity for independent repair shops, create unnecessary electronic waste, delay timely repairs, and undermine resiliency,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan in a statement. “It is critical that unlawful repair restrictions continue to be a key area of focus for the Commission.”
The FTC and several state legislatures have pushed official right-to-repair policies in recent years, while companies like iFixit have mounted public campaigns to pressure Apple and other hardware makers into supporting independent repair options. Khan declared that the topic would be a particular area of focus for the FTC last year, following an executive order from President Joe Biden.