What is the e-Warranty Act?

As the name implies, the e-Warranty Act of 2015 allows businesses to comply with certain consumer product warranty rules and regulations with printing those warranties on actual paper - hence the term "e-Warranty." To understand what the e-Warranty Act actually is, lets dive into what it looked like for a business to provide warranties for consumer products prior to the e-Warranty Act.

The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act

In 1975, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act was passed as a federal law. This law was enacted to protect consumers from, among other things, being lured to purchase products using a deviously described and disclosed warranty. Some basic tenants of the act are:

  • It does not require that manufactures provide a warranty on consumer goods, but if they do provide a warranty and the consumer product costs more than $15, then compliance with the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act is required.
  • The warranty must include information such as whether the warranty is full or limited.
  • The warranty can't include tie-in sales requirements.
  • The warranty can't include disclaimers of implied warranties.
  • Most importantly here, the warranty must be printed on a single document on or within the packaging of the product.

That last point is what the e-Warranty Act changes.

Goodbye Paper, Hello e-Warranty!

Much to the chagrin of commercial printers everywhere, the e-Warranty act eliminates the requirement that these types of warranties be printed on or within packaging. Instead, manufactures are permitted to (but not required, if they love paying for paper and ink) direct consumers to a website displaying the terms and conditions of their consumer warranties. They can comply by simply including a URL to the e-Warranty terms on the product itself, on the packaging or in a product manual. Some of the additional requirements include:

  • Including a mailing address, phone number or other non-internet method of obtaining the warranty.
  • The warranty must be displayed in a clear and conspicuous manner on the website.
  • The warranty must still be available for review at the point of sale, although this can be done electronically.

The e-Warranty act should provide a significant cost saving for manufactures that take the time to embrace it. The simple act of launching an e-Warranty Center for a manufacturers line of consumer products could result in savings millions per year in printing costs.

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