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Voiding Iphone warranties might break the law

Could land Apple in the sauce
Tue Sep 25 2007, 20:56

APPLE'S VOW to void the warranties of Iphones that their owners have unlocked could land it in hot water, writes Phone News.

The US Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act provides protection for consumers that prohibits Apple from voiding an Iphone warranty due to third party modifications or enhancements.

However, if Apple can prove that its written Iphone warranty legally and specifically prohibits unlocking, or that the modification or enhancement of unlocking the Iphone has damaged the device, it might get away with disclaiming warranties on unlocked Iphones.

Cellphone manufacturers generally consider a successfully unlocked cellphone to retain its warranty, although a device that has been unlocked unsuccessfully can be considered to have a voided warranty if it can't be repaired by reflashing the firmware.

Further, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits Apple from disabling or damaging an Iphone merely because it can detect that it has been unlocked. It does seem to permit Apple to require that an unlocked Iphone be relocked to AT &T's service. However, other laws and regulations seem to prohibit this, too.

There are technical points of law involved here, so don't take our word for it. However, it seems almost certain that someone with a good telecommunications lawyer will seek to establish whether or not Apple can legally void the warranties of unlocked Iphones. µ

Phone News


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