– The biggest hardware maker in the world said it won’t sell its products with a “zero warranty” policy, which could have serious ramifications for companies that rely on consumers buying their hardware for its repairability.
Hardware manufacturer Ace Hardware said it would be unable to offer its products without the policy, but that the company had been advised by lawyers from the National Retail Federation and others.
The NRF and the National Consumer Law Center said in a statement on Friday that Ace Hardware had failed to provide consumers with information that could allow them to know if a product has been damaged or that the warranty has been voided.
Ace Hardware CEO Steve St. Pierre told The Associated Press on Friday he had not been contacted by the attorneys.
The company said it planned to appeal the decision.
“We will continue to be committed to the safety and well-being of our customers,” he said.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in July that it was investigating Ace Hardware after a report said a product was defective because it had been shipped to customers who weren’t told about its warranty.
The commission’s investigation was prompted by a report in October from the Consumer Product Reports Association, which said the company was using deceptive marketing practices.
Ace hardware is one of the few companies in the industry that has made it clear that its products have no warranty.
“As consumers, we know that there are consequences to shipping products without a warranty,” said Brian Cates, the chief executive officer of Ace Hardware, which sells products at about 50,000 retailers and online.
“When our customers are buying our products, they know what’s going on.”
Ace Hardware declined to comment further on the lawsuit.
It is the latest in a series of lawsuits alleging the companies that supply the computers, televisions and mobile phones that comprise the vast majority of the smartphone market are not providing adequate warranty protections.
A federal judge in California has already ruled against Ace Hardware in a case involving a consumer complaint that said the maker of its popular iPad tablet was not providing consumers with a warranty.
In the lawsuit, a consumer from the San Diego suburb of San Clemente, California, said the tablet was defective, requiring a replacement, and that the retailer did not provide a repair.
In an order last month, U. S. District Judge Paul D. Salas ordered Ace Hardware to provide an answer to the complaint by Jan. 13.
The order said Ace Hardware would not provide information to the consumer on whether it offered a repair, a service, or the option of purchasing a new device.
“Ace Hardware will not provide the information requested by the consumer to satisfy the FTC’s investigation,” the order said.