Magazine Article | February 16, 2007

Are Statements Of Voided Warranty Claims Valid?

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

You can use batteries and chargers manufactured by some non-OEMs without risking your product warranty.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, March 2007

Over the past 40 years, almost every type of electronic equipment imaginable has become portable using DC battery power. Televisions, radios, telephones, computers, bar-code scanners, and printers are just a few examples of portable devices. Portable electronic technology has grown exponentially, as has the market for small rechargeable batteries, as a result. The OEM of the portable equipment designs and provides product accessories and rechargeable batteries that power the equipment. Naturally, as time progresses, the rechargeable battery packs need to be replaced. The users of the equipment can either buy new batteries from the OEMs, or they can purchase them from another third party aftermarket company.

As new markets for portable equipment emerge, so does the need for replacement battery packs to power them. Since the 1970's, many new companies have been formed that specialize in producing replacement battery packs. Worldwide, there are many battery companies that design, manufacture, or outsource their batteries, thus competing with the OEM companies. Therefore, OEMs have made advancements in technology, and developed innovative marketing strategies to procure new business and maintain their existing business. A common strategy, promoted by the OEMs or developed as a sales tactic by sales representatives to keep customers, has been to tell customers that the use of aftermarket (non-OEM) battery packs in their equipment will void their product warranty. So, the OEM will not cover maintenance and repair for the equipment. 

Providing replacement batteries in several markets, most of our customers and distributors have encountered objections such as this in attempts to sell our products to equipment users. A large percentage of these potential customers are afraid to buy non-OEM batteries or chargers for their equipment, because they do not want to risk having the OEM not cover repairs under warranty, nor do they want to compromise their service or maintenance agreements. In the majority of situations, the equipment users will experience substantial savings by using batteries and chargers from companies other than the OEM, but they feel the risk of warranty loss is too great.

Warranty Not At Risk With Compatible Battery
Alexander Technologies sought legal advice to clarify some statements made by the OEMs. We found it illegal for any company or its employees to make statements that a warranty will be invalid if non-OEM batteries or chargers are used. Statements like this are similar to an automobile company saying that using anything other than the factory original brand of tires on a vehicle will nullify the vehicle warranty. These statements violate a federal warranty law of the Federal Trade Commission called the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975. This law includes a section called the 'Tie-In Sales' provision that addresses this issue as well as others. Those wishing further clarification of this warranty law could go to the Magnuson-Moss Act of 1975 Web site and find the 'Tie-In Sales' provision.     

This provision states that OEMs do have the right to refuse warranty if equipment damage is the result of the use of an incompatible aftermarket battery. OEMs can also refuse warranty if damage is the result of a battery used that does not meet the original specifications of the OEM product.

Within the last 40 years, Alexander Technologies has witnesses unfair trade practices used by many OEMs in an effort to maintain their business. So, since the voided warranty is a non-issue, working with companies such as Alexander Technologies, whose products equal, or in most cases exceed, the OEM specifications, can significantly reduce operating costs without sacrificing OEM quality.