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Brother Printers Warranty Tying Arrangement Class Action

This class action brings suit against Brother International Corporation and Brother Industries (USA), Inc., alleging that the warranties on its printers and other consumer products are conditional, based on repair by only authorized repair services or with only authorized repair parts. The complaint alleges that these restrictions constitute tying arrangements or unlawful repair restrictions.

The class for this action is all purchasers of Brother-branded products in the US which have warranty provisions that prohibit self-repair or the use of unauthorized parts.

Brother makes consumer products, including printers. The plaintiff in this case, Bob Konkel, bought a Brother Color Inkject All-in-One Printer in January 2020 from a Staples store in Massachusetts.

The printer began to malfunction slightly not long after he bought it, the complaint alleges. It claims that Konkel “would have liked to endeavored to repair his product himself during the warranty period, but his warranty as written prohibited him from doing so.”

The complaint alleges, “Tying arrangements that condition a consumer product’s warranty on the use of a specific repair service in this manner violate state and federal law. Further, [the Brother companies] exacerbate these violations by stating on the outside of the product packaging that the Products include a limited warranty, but the unlawful repair restriction is not reasonably revealed to consumers until after the point of sale.”

According to the complaint, Konkel was aware of the warranty when he bought the printer, but he did not know about the restrictions on it until he opened the packaging.

The complaint alleges that the Brother companies “condition warranty coverage on the usage of [Brother’s] repair services to perform maintenance and repair work, rather than allowing consumers to repair the product themselves or take it to a third-party repair service.”

However, the complaint alleges, “Under the terms of the warranty, [the Brother companies] are not obligated to provide first[-]party repair service and parts free of charge” and “purchasers are bound to only use authorized repair services and original Brother parts.” The complaint claims that the Brother companies “in effect provide parts in a manner which impedes or precludes the choice by the consumer to perform necessary labor to install such parts.”

This, the complaint claims, is a violation of the tying prohibition under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, “which prohibits companies from conditioning their warranties on a consumer’s use of any article or service (other than an article or service provided without charge under the terms of the warranty) identified by brand, trade, or corporate name.”

In addition, the complaint charges that the practice violates the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act’s prohibition on unfair or deceptive actions or practices, among other laws.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Brother Printers Warranty Tying Arrangement Complaint

January 31, 2022

This class action brings suit against Brother International Corporation and Brother Industries (USA), Inc., alleging that the warranties on its printers and other consumer products are conditional, based on repair by only authorized repair services or with only authorized repair parts. The complaint alleges that these restrictions constitute tying arrangements or unlawful repair restrictions.

Brother Printers Warranty Tying Arrangement Complaint

Case Event History

Brother Printers Warranty Tying Arrangement Complaint

January 31, 2022

This class action brings suit against Brother International Corporation and Brother Industries (USA), Inc., alleging that the warranties on its printers and other consumer products are conditional, based on repair by only authorized repair services or with only authorized repair parts. The complaint alleges that these restrictions constitute tying arrangements or unlawful repair restrictions.

Brother Printers Warranty Tying Arrangement Complaint
Tags: Printer, Tying Arrangement, Warranty