If worries about voiding your warranty have ever kept you from trying to repair your own electronics, or from visiting the cheap repair shop on the corner, the government has some good news for you.

The Federal Trade Commission recently announced that the warning stickers that say people will void their warranties not only are meaningless, but also illegal. These types of stickers are common on many electronics — for example, if you try to open an Xbox One X, you’ll find a black sticker over one of the screws; Microsoft has cited the sticker’s absence as a reason to reject people’s warranty claims in the past. Sony’s PlayStation has a sticker that says, “Warranty void if seal damaged.”

Read the full articles at the LA Times

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this. Manufacturers are not obligated to provide warranties. The only obligated warranty is the “Implied Warranty” that simply says a product is supposed to do what it is intended to do. A toaster should toast, and a garage door opener should open garages. Nothing says the toaster has to last x amount of days.

There is where the warranty void stickers come into play. If they can no longer be used, I suspect manufacturers will start to shorten the warranties. Those big companies will not like the notion of repairing items that were open and possibly broken because someone else tried to “upgrade” or repair it.

One of the most frequently had conversation in our business is the difference between warranty and breakage. If you drop your laptop, and break the screen the “warranty” does not cover that. Still we get asked on a weekly basis, if such breakages and water spills are covered by warranty. You can purchase additional “breakage” coverage for many items, but it is not usually included in the purchase price.

This FTC ruling is a big win for tinkerers who like to modify their equipment. Everyone else may end up paying more to repair things that may have still been under warranty if manufacturers start to shorten warranties because of this change.