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Replacing hard drive voids warranty

Medieval_Thinker (592748) writes | about a year ago

5

Medieval_Thinker (592748) writes "I replaced a hard drive in my Chromebook and had a question for the Chrome-Ninjas. I got a reply back that my warranty was void. I suggested the tech consult a supervisor about the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975. I should be able to upgrade a hard drive or memory without voiding a warranty. I got this back in reply.

"Thank you for your message.
My supervisor was informed of the situation before sending out the previous email.
Unfortunately we are not going to be able to support your device any longer."

Have the rules changed? Is replacing a hard drive in a Chromebook any different than replacing one in a Dell?"

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5 comments

I don't think Magnusson-Moss will help you here. (1)

RealityGone (883555) | about a year ago | (#43057903)

Granted, I'm not a lawyer and I've only read the wikipedia page about the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act [wikipedia.org] but I don't think it will help you in this situation. I assume the bit you are thinking will help you is "You do not require consumers to perform any duty as a precondition for receiving service, except notifying you that service is needed, unless you can demonstrate that the duty is reasonable." but that is only for full warranties and I really doubt you got a full warranty with your chromebook, it is most likely a limited warranty. Even so I doubt that "don't open the case and change out internal parts" is an unreasonable duty to have in order to prevent inexperienced people from breaking the product.

There would be specific warranty terms from the manufacturer for your specific product. A brief look at some warranty terms for a Samsung Chromebook [samsung.com] reveals the following restrictions to their limited warranty:

  • * use of products, equipment, systems, utilities, services, parts supplies, accessories, applications, installations, repairs, external wiring or connectors not supplied or authorized by Samsung; Is the hard drive you used authorized by the manufacturer for use in the product?
  • * adjustments and failure to follow operating instructions, instructions for installing a user-installable part, or cleaning, maintenance and environmental instructions that are covered and prescribed in the instruction book, including incorrect installation of hardware or software; Is the hard drive a user-installable part? I doubt it.
  • * damage (not resulting from defects in materials and workmanship) which occurs in your possession or that of other third parties, including due to accidents, opening of the product case or cabinet, abuse, neglect, fire, water, lightning or other acts of nature; (emphasis added) This one would probably void your warranty even if none of the rest of it did. Of course you could argue your problem isn't a result of opening the case or you merely wanted advice but they aren't going to support it anyway.
  • Whether people who have the skills necessary should be allowed to upgrade and modify their computers without voiding the warranty is another question entirely. In reality the terms of the limited warranty that you received from the manufacturer of your Chromebook in all likelihood do not allow you to do so and I don't think the Magnusson-Moss act isn't going to help you at all.

Re:I don't think Magnusson-Moss will help you here (1)

Medieval_Thinker (592748) | about a year ago | (#43058147)

I am not a lawyer either, but even the Wikipedia article addresses the hard drive issue. "Warrantors cannot require that only branded parts be used with the product in order to retain the warranty.[7] This is commonly referred to as the "tie-in sales" provisions,[8] and is frequently mentioned in the context of third-party computer parts, such as memory and hard drives."

Re:I don't think Magnusson-Moss will help you here (1)

RealityGone (883555) | about a year ago | (#43059885)

Actually, I don't think that would help. I doubt the "authorized parts" are from a specific brand more so than specific models from a number of brands (manufacturers) that meet certain performance and technical specifications and have been tested by the manufacturer providing the warranty (in this case Samsung) to show that they actually meet those specifications.

Not that nullifying that section would make much of a difference since I feel it isn't even the one most likely to void the warranty (assuming you don't purchase cheap or used hardware). My main point was that nowhere in the Magnosson-Moss Warranty Act does it state that manufacturers are required to let you modify the product you've purchased and still retain the limited warranty they've provided. In fact it doesn't state anything really to help in this particular scenario at all so I wonder why it was brought up to defend the OP's position.

Not new (1)

linebackn (131821) | about a year ago | (#43062397)

This isn't a new thing at all. Even back in the 80's/90s some desktop PC makers would put a seal on the back of the case stating you would void your warranty if you even opened it. You were usually required to take the machine in to an "authorized service center" if you wanted any changes.

Which was extra crazy back then because one of the main reasons for buying a "PC" was for the seemingly infinite expandability and customization compared to closed proprietary machines.

In practice, companies can refuse to honer warranties for any reason they want.

The solution back then was to buy from a different vendor.

In this case, I would imagine their standard warranty repair procedure is just to replace the machine with a different one. Therefore they would be unable to accept a modified machine, as you would lose your upgrade.

The rings of Support Hell (1)

tFunc (2618093) | about a year ago | (#43063925)

Commercial applications and add-ons often use a hardware ID, such as the hard drive (hashed and salted), in order to unlock the software on a single machine and deter unauthorized copying. Wanton swapping of the hard drive may lock down proprietary software and place you in Support Hell. A proactive call to SW vendors prior to the new coupling may lessen the burning sensation. Ah, but which vendors? Your manufacturer knows; call them (sizzle, sizzle).
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