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Scare Tactics Aside – Upgrades Do Not Void Your Warranty

From time to time, we at OWC hear from a customer who has been told by a service provider that one of our upgrades voids their machine’s warranty. As we have covered the past, this is simply incorrect. But this doesn’t just apply to those in the United States. Countries around the world also have laws in place to protect consumers who make upgrades to their machines.

In fact, a customer in Australia who upgraded with OWC contacted us recently after he was refused warranty service by a technician. The technician claimed while replacing his machine’s fan that the customer’s OWC Data Doubler voided his warranty. The technician noted that should his motherboard fail, his warranty would be voided because of the Data Doubler. But after some intrepid persistence, a more senior employee later notified the customer that the technician was “absolutely and positively incorrect.”

Unfortunately scare tactics and misinformation like this are occasionally used so a manufacturer can refuse to make repairs to a part covered by the warranty simply because an entirely separate part has been upgraded by the user. But as seen above, staying informed is the best weapon against these tactics.

Common upgrades such as memory, hard drives, SSD/flash drives and optical drives install into existing locations in a machine without modification to the system, and their presence does not cause harm to the machine. And simply installing them does NOT void your warranty.

Like the United States, which has specific consumer protections, most other countries offer protection that users should be aware of. And while sometimes there is posturing by a service representative, it’s in the interest of both the manufacturer and customer that the warranty be honored with fairness to the customer. Here are some examples of other countries with such laws in place:

These consumer protection laws are not uncommon and ensure your right to warranty. However, do be aware that the “you break it, you buy it” rules still apply. Some upgrades are being made increasingly difficult today. Professional service for some upgrades is something you should absolutely utilize to ensure your protection if you are not comfortable with an upgrade process.

As always, OWC is committed to serving our customers in the best way possible. And to prove this commitment, in the event a warranty is denied on grounds of OWC Data Doubler present – OWC will be the first to back that customer up and see that their warranty is honored one way or the other. That’s just part of the “OWC Difference” that we strive to make every day!

Larry O'Connor
the authorOWC Larry
OWC Founder & CEO
Larry O'Connor is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Illinois-based Other World Computing (OWC®). Starting as a one-man business in 1988, O'Connor has provided the leadership and vision to establish OWC as the leading provider of technology products and services today.
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  • Anyone know whether these consumer protections exist in Thailand? I have a MacBook Pro 13 with two years of AppleCare remaining. I’m considering a Data Doubler.

  • No mention of Electrostatic discharge (ESD)? Of course this is why Apple does not prevent you from upgrading your Mac. But trust that if AST finds damage to any component and the Mac has been opened without the requisite GSX ticket (read: serviced by a non-qualified person), Apple may void the warranty. A serious consideration for consumers who want to upgrade but don’t want to risk breaking their Applecare agreement. ESD kits are not cheap, and not something a consumer would own, unless they are ACMT, but it’s the only protection against ESD.

  • As a matter of fact I was told today at my local Apple store by the Genius who I asked to service my mac mini 2008 that because I had upgraded my machine they were not going to service it. (it was OWC RAM by the way). I informed him that they had previously serviced this same mac mini in 2010 (out of warranty) when it was hit with a power surge from lightning that passed through the dsl-telephone line and my entire network was fried. He then went to check with someone else and came back and told me since there was a precedent that they would check it out. Left me with a much less favorable opinion of Apple’s service than I have had up until now.

    • Use to hear stories similar to that frequently many years ago. The service rep initially suggesting they couldn’t service the system and then come back and say they’d make an exception this time – that kind of thing. Service would still be covered/performed – but a seed planted making you wonder about your next upgrade. That’s pretty rare today though, a lot has changed – including Apple’s own official support for many user upgradeable components.

      All said – the vast majority of Apple Authorized service providers and Apple Store Geniuses truly do a good job providing service and warranty support as intended. The Genius you encountered I’d suggest is one of those unfortunate exceptions to what is overall a very good group of folks.

      • My experience just got worse. I had removed the screws when I had checked the motherboard before taking it in, and now they refuse to install the motherboard that they ordered for it – once again saying that I had upgraded a non-user installable part when I replaced the hard drive. I was flummoxed when he said they don’t have screws for this machine because of its age – they clearly just don’t want to fix my computer. I sell to customers myself, and this is not the way to handle your customers. If you really don’t want to service my old machine that we both know can be fixed and I am willing to spend the money to get it fixed, why not offer me a discount on new machine to push me gently towards the end that you desire? Instead you leave your customer not wanting to invest more money into your products.

        • Hopefully more isolated and not representative of all Apple. Although, admittedly, Apple has certainly been going in the direction to promote buy new/replace for some time. Hoping no major leaps in that direction next week at WWDC… but the more they solder, the less there is that is repairable and serviceable. That gives no excuse for not servicing that which is.