Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

When you buy a new smartphone, computer, home appliance, or other product, you may not always think about whether it can be fixed if it breaks or has an issue. But here’s the thing: some manufacturers prevent you from fixing the things you buy. They might do things like gluing in batteries, limiting the availability of spare parts, and not giving you the repair instructions and software to help figure out the problem.  

The FTC released a report today about repair restrictions and how they limit your ability to fix products that break. The report suggests what the FTC, lawmakers, and manufacturers can do to make it easier for you to fix the things that you own.

But there are some things that you can do yourself. Before you buy, do some research online to find out:

  • What is the average lifespan of the product?
  • What is likely to go wrong with it if it breaks?
  • How hard will it be to fix the problem?

Here’s something else to know, in case you find yourself in this situation. Let’s say you took a product to an independent repair shop to fix or maintain it. Then later you go to the product’s manufacturer for a repair — but one not related to the earlier fix. If that repair is covered by your warranty, and if your warranty hasn’t expired, the manufacturer can’t refuse to make the repair.

If you’re told that your warranty was voided or that it will be voided because of independent repair, we want to hear about it. Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.  

13 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.