Originally Posted by reflex99
It has been this way for YEARS now. If you screw up a product yourself, it is your fault, not theirs. The warranty only covers manufacturing defects, not user error. Every computer component manufacturer in the industry does not cover user error. AFAIK, XFX is the only company to explicitly state that you are allowed to replace the stock cooler without voiding your warranty. For other companies, MSI for example, they will still issue an RMA, as long as you return the card to a stock state before sending it to them.
Back to the car example (note i do not know much about cars), if you replace the tires with something not designed for your car, and you end up ruining your wheels, the car manufacturer is NOT going to warranty that. You screwed it up.
If you were to attempt to challenge this in some sort of court, you would probably win anyways because i doubt that AthlonMicro/Sapphire Tech are willing to pay for a lawyer to come and deal with you...
Regardless, they need to prove that the modification caused the problem directly. I use non-approved tires on my car, yet when my axle snapped and my car hit the pavement, Honda still covered the warranty. There was no way for them to directly prove
the tires caused the issue. Nowhere in their warranty does it state user modification is not covered, but they held the warranty regardless, because they have to. Courts aren't necessary for this type of thing as the FTC handles complaints quite well.
Sapphire were to challenge it, their argument would go something like, "The part in question is sold as one complete unit and is expected to be used as such." FTC's rebuttal would go something like this, "What makes the cooler so special that it MUST be used and cannot be replaced with something else? What makes this cooler so different from other parts being replaced in a whole computer?" At this point, it would become very difficult for Sapphire to argue their point as there's so much data that the cooler itself can be replaced without issue. Thus, they would switch tactics and say the user caused the problem during installation, at which point the new counter-argument would be lack of physical damage. At that point, they're stuck, as they have zero precedence and zero proof. Their legal department would see this coming before any official proceedings for sure. Physical damage (that they can prove was caused by the user) would be their only bet in this case.
Of course, all you'd really need is the threat. There's no way they'd risk any kind of government intervention or legal action over one RMA. For a pair of 6990s, what's the cost to them? $1200 max, I'd say. That's about 1 hour with a good corporate lawyer. So, I'd make the threat either way, whether I plan to follow through or not.