Procter & Gamble, Gillette – Alleged “Tying Arrangement”
Conditional Validity Of Product Warranties For Gillette, Venus, Braun & Oral-B Products At Issue In Class Action Lawsuit
On January 21, 2022, a class action complaint was filed against The Procter & Gamble Company and The Gillette Company LLC (“P&G,” “Gillette,” or “Defendants”) for the manufacture, marketing, and sale of consumer products sold under brand names that include Gillette, Venus, Braun, and Oral-B.
According to the class action complaint, the lawsuit was brought against the Defendants for the marketing, manufacture and/or sale of consumer products, the warranties of which include statements that condition the continued validity of the warranty on the use of only an authorized repair service and/or authorized replacement parts (i.e., a “tying arrangement”).
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, according to the complaint. The Defendants, allegedly, exacerbate these violations by stating on the outside of the product packaging that the consumer products include a one-year limited warranty, but the unlawful repair restriction is not revealed to the consumer until after the point of sale. Moreover, the Plaintiffs and other class members would not have purchased a particular product, or would have paid much less, if the unlawful repair restriction was known.
The complaint alleges that the Defendants condition warranty coverage on unlawful repair restrictions, and in numerous instances, the Defendants, via their warranty statements for various appliances, condition warranty coverage on the use of the Defendants’ 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.
By conditioning their warranty in this manner, the Defendants, according to the complaint, have violated the tying prohibition in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which prohibits companies from conditioning their warranties on the 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.