Reader Gets SHARP To Take Back His Defective TV 1 Month Out Of Warranty

Dan bought an Aquos LC-32D40U 32″ LCD TV’ and one month out of warranty it developed a thin black line on the right side of the screen. Sharp didn’t want to talk to him. Best Buy wanted to charge him $100 just to come out and look at it. Something had to be done. Dan writes:

“I called a bunch of Best Buy-recommended third-party repair places. The guy I found from G&D Electronics on Henry was great. But the part that was needed, a new LCD panel, was $1,500. So he gave that to me to pass on to SHARP and said, “The best thing you can do is take it back to them and stick the price and age of the TV in their faces.” Meaning that the TV is so new and the part is so expensive that it is unreasonable to expect that after one year of little usage that it will fail.”

The SHARP customer relations people said, “we would rather have you email us pictures of the problem, vs waiting weeks to send out a tech,” which seemed reasonable. So I snapped like 10 pics and emailed them off. About a week later I got on the phone with the “replacement department” who evaluated the images while I was on the phone. The replacement department gave the go ahead for the Return Authorization number. But first they insisted that I be the one that tell Best Buy I was returning the TV. After a couple of hours on the phone with Best Buy, the process started all over again with SHARP and Best Buy finally talking it out. After 2 days, they called me with an RA number valid for 30 days.

So Saturday I went back to the Best Buy in Long Island City, they give me a voucher, and I picked out a TV. They had an awesome 1080 p, 40 inch Samsung on sale for the price of my 32 inch SHARP. So I got a nice upgrade out of it, too. While I am sure that SHARP thought they were saving a customer by taking back the TV, I had no desire to get another one. I also bought the 4 year extended warranty for $179…I think I have justified the purchases at this point. Let all the commenters that said I had no recourse suck my butt!

LESSONS:

  • Persevere
  • When two different companies are fighting each other through you, put them in contact with each other so they can duke it out themselves.
  • And best of all, sometimes pointing out how ridiculous the cost of the repair would be given the amount of time you’ve owned it can make it so they take back your TV and let you get a new one eve if you’re out of warranty.

PREVIOUSLY: Aquos LC-32D40U Develops Defect 1 Month Out Of Warranty

Comments

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  1. howie_in_az says:

    Waiting for follow-up story about how the Samsung fails 1 month out of warranty and Best Buy refuses to replace/repair it.

  2. forever_knight says:

    it has been confirmed: whining until you get your way trumps any responsibility the consumer has for buying a product with a short warranty.

    this story, as well as the Samsung story Howie_in_AZ mentions above, is one of the worst things about Consumerist.

  3. UESC says:

    the extended warranty might not help you out as much as you think…

    good luck though!

  4. parad0x360 says:

    Jesus im glad they repaired it because thats crazy expensive! Verizon tried to hit me with a replacement fee when my $400 phone died 9 days out of its 1 year warranty. Lets just say me and the manager had some words before he let me get a refurb phone at no charge. So what if i had to superglue the front panel on the new phone…it works!

  5. warf0x0r says:

    Great story. I bet the BBY people were extremely happy you bought the PSP too since the price of the TV doesn’t count as revenue so basically as far as their concerned you just came in and bought a PSP with nothing else… then again it was a different model. Either way gratz are in order.

  6. @forever_knight: A short warranty? How many electronics products can you name that have a warranty longer than a year? Stop reading a site call “The Consumerist” if you don’t think Consumers trump big business so long as the problem is valid.

    For the rest of us, I’m sure we’ve all learned a lesson over the past week: buy your electronics from Sharp and not Sony! Apparently at Sharp, they take into consideration that you spent your hard-earned cash on their products.

  7. Ben Popken says:

    @FOREVER_KNIGHT: So the worst thing about The Consumerist is that sometimes the consumers win and businesses have to answer for making a shoddy product? Just checking.

  8. ry81984 says:

    @forever_knight:

    You should not need a warranty.
    Manufacturers should stand by their products within a products useful life. In the case of the LCD tv it should be as long as the rated bulb life.
    Why should you have to be the one to gamble when if it were up to you the product would not have been defective?

  9. balthisar says:

    Reminds of back when hard drives were expensive, Maxtor was kind enough to replace my 200 GB when it started to fail just a few days past warranty. I felt good about it, even knowing that I’d get just another Maxtor drive back.

    For things that are seriously expensive, I’ve fully convinced myself to always buy at Sam’s Club. This past Friday, my 37″ LCD stopped working (no power). Yeah, I had bought an extended warranty (still recommended for plasmas and LCD’s), but didn’t want to deal with the hassle. When I looked at the receipt, it’d been 13 months since I bought the thing. So, I packed it up and took it back to Sam’s. It really, really was a no questions asked return! They even refunded 100% of the warranty price! I bought a new television (and another warranty, although as you can see, it’s not really needed) on the spot.

    I hope Sam’s has some deal where they get most of their money back from the manufacturer.

  10. Techguy1138 says:

    Wow this really worked against the company. What incentive would they ever have to do this again.

    The TV breaks out of warranty. They negotiate a very nice replacement method. instead of getting a loyal customer for helping him out they get a negative internet story and the competitor gets a sale.

    They were nice to the customer and got burned. I wonder if they will try that again.

  11. @Ben Popken: Wonderfully witty remarks like that are why you get paid the big bucks to write at The Consumerist =P

  12. @Techguy1138: How did they get burned? IMO, and probably the opinions of many others, this story is good publicity. I know I’ll remember this when I’m shopping for a new tv after the holidays!

  13. karl hungus says:

    As the person that this actually happened to, I never said this was about burning the people at best buy or sharp… In fact I have to give both parties credit for taking a reasoned approach that required no yelling or fighting. So he’s right this is good publicity.

  14. noorct says:

    @thnkwhatyouthnk:

    Absolutely. I think I’d be much more likely to buy from them based on this story than I would otherwise be. Rational consumers reading this story outnumber the one guy who didn’t go with Sharp again. Therefore, a publicized act of good faith does pay off for them.

  15. karl hungus says:

    @foreverknight:

    Which of these particular companies do you work for, by-the-way?

  16. edro says:

    I had a similar situation, I bought a 50″ Vizio plasma from Sam’s and 54 weeks after I bought it I heard a loud popping noise inside the TV and everything went black.

    I called Vizio immediately and after explaining the situation and how I was only 2 weeks outside of the warranty, the CSR transferred me to a new department. I again explained everything and that rep told me that as soon as I fax over a copy of my receipt, they would ship me a new 50″ TV at no cost to me.

    I immediately faxed the receipt over to the rep and a few weeks later Two Men and a Truck arrived at my house delivering a newer model of my 50″ Vizio (the new one had a tuner, the old one did not). They took away the old one (after they removed it from the wall) and rehung the new one.

    Great customer service from Vizio, they escalated my call on their own, and they offered me the new TV without me having to raise hell.

  17. FLConsumer says:

    The biggest problem I have with consumer electronics today is that it’s almost all universally poorly-made. I’m willing to pay extra for a product that won’t fail as soon as the short warranty is up. Gotta like Bryston, still shipping with 20 year warranties and often performing work on 20+ year old amplifiers at no charge if you’re polite with them.

  18. karl hungus says:

    I don’t know if I made it clear, but at no point during this did I yell or get mad or stomp my feet or whatever. Cool heads prevailed here…remember that.

  19. scampy says:

    @FLConsumer:

    The reason they are poorly made is because of all the cheap people out there that want a 50″ plasma TV for $1000. If people were willing to pay for quality then we would have quality products. This is why Bryston will send someone out to fix a 20 year old amp because that should be expected when you pay 5k for an amp. However you buy a $99 Sansui amp youre lucky you get a one year warranty

  20. Geekybiker says:

    While it does suck that it failed just of warranty, they are under no obligation to repair or replace those items for you.

  21. BigNutty says:

    They may not be legally responsible but they are certainly morally responsible to fix a problem just outside of the warranty.

    Companies that realize that “doing the right thing” is the best way to conduct business will always fair better in the long run and publicity wise.

    We all see how fast negative publicity can spread about an unfair business.

  22. XTC46 says:

    As cool as it is that you got it replaced, I hate customers who gripe about products that break out of the warranty and “demand” it be fixed. 1 day 1 week or 1 month out makes no difference. People should just consider the length of the warranty the expected life of the product and make their decision on that, if it lasts longer than the warranty, then you are getting a better ROI than you thought. If it doesn’t last as long as the warranty, then you get it repaired. Its win win.

  23. Mr. Gunn says:

    Thanks for keeping it classy, successful Dan.

  24. thats one hell of a voucher. you happen to scan/photocopy it before redeeming it? XD

  25. phelander says:

    Wow, Forever Knight, are you a bitter jerk!

  26. ShadowFalls says:

    He quite simply got lucky. Sharp had no reason to do anything as his warranty period was over.

    The only real messed up part is the amount they wanted to charge for the part. I could get two 32″ LCD TVs for that price, and they would be new, not just repaired.

  27. mconfoy says:

    @Techguy1138: Besides being great publicity, it does not surprise me about Sharp as they are a decent company and their LCD TV is rated one of the best picture wise (as is the Samsungs). The fact is, they don’t have any idea how these TV’s are going to behave with real customers long term as they are just too new.

  28. cosby says:

    @xtc46:

    Yea I have to agree with you on this. The consumer in this case is a dick for going out and telling people off because he did get it fixed out of warranty. The consumer knew what the warranty was when they got the tv. They could have bought an extended warranty from the store when they got the tv or chances are bought one from the tv vendor.

    I use to work in retail and loved when a consumer would bring in a device for repair and when I asked if they bought an extended warranty and they laugh saying they never buy them then gripe about the repair costs.

    Would it be nice if the expensive items had a 3 year warranty? Sure it would. People would just bitch at the end of the 3 years though when it broke. Also price plays a big deal with this. When vendors fight price wars things like warranties can suffer. It is the price we pay for lower costs.

  29. themanishere says:

    hmmm. Butt sucking…

  30. @cosby: Ah yes, because there have been nothing but glowing reports on extended warranties. Nobody has ever had a nightmare experience with one of those.

    [/sarcasm]

    Maybe it’s hard for you people to grasp this, but a warranty is not supposed to be a marker for how long a product will last. Warranties are supposed to cover manufacturing defects. If you really believe that a product that lives longer than its warranty is icing on the cake, your problems are much farther reaching than being uncompassionate. If your reasoning were correct, then Microsoft, for example, would not have felt obliged to extend the XBox 360’s warranty to 3 years for RROD.

  31. Cary says:

    Kind of makes me want to go out and buy Sharp products – they did what they weren’t required to and that wasn’t good enough for you.

    Products can be made to not fail but I doubt anyone would buy them because of the price. Bryston electronics may have a 20 year warranty but they also cost 20x the price of average [stuff]. They may be worth it (as I feel my Conrad-Johnson stuff is), but you’re still paying dearly for that hand-made, overbuilt, Toyota goodness.

    You want a TV that absolutely, positively, won’t fail? Many electronics manufacturers make commercial displays that are intended to be on 24/7 and/or to be moved around constantly (as on movie sets) that will not fail in normal usage. They cost $5,000-$50,000, but they’re not going to crap out.

    Warranties are insurance policies and the cost is carefully crafted into the purchase price. EVERY product will eventually fail and, given enough money, an insurance policy long enough to cover it can be had. Some friends of mine buy extended warranties on EVERYTHING and the rub it in my face when their vacuum cleaner dies and it was covered. They fail to mention the thousands of dollars they wasted on the microwave, TV, washer, dryer, fridge, and dishwasher warranties they never used… but hey, the vacuum got fixed “free.”

    To expect no product to ever fail isn’t reasonable. Sharp took care of it and should be commended. My experience (and I’ve been in the electronics industry 25 years) is that Sony would absolutely, positively, leave you standing alone…”the one and only.” (to confess, I have a Sony LCD TV… I like their TV’s… okay?)

  32. cflury says:

    Amex baby, buyer protection!

  33. forever_knight says:

    @Ben Popken: Ben – My complaint about this story as well as the Samsung out of warranty story is that it is not worthy to be posted on the Consumerist. It is pseudo-news. That is my opinion, but I know at least some people share it. It’s clear others don’t. Why do I feel this way? Because unlike other Consumerist posts that are informative and helpful, these posts are about a consumer whining and complaining because the rules shouldn’t apply to him. The consumer is clearly upset for losing out of the sales contract earlier than expected–the product failed outside the product warranty period. What if his TV failed 2 months out of warranty? 3 months? 12? 18? 24? He would be upset even after two years because the perception is that TVs should last a long time–the new models are freaking expensive. So naturally, the consumer is upset! It sucks to lose and have a product die. But that is the price that he/she paid by purchasing a product with that warranty time period, failing to purchase an extended warranty, or any other practice (buying through sams or costco or using a credit card to extend the warranty). The consumer gambled and lost! It happens but it is not worthy of a news story. Neither is promoting the “complain until you get your way, even if you haven’t been actually wronged” point. It drags down the rest of the content on the site.

    Unlike you, I don’t believe that consumers trump business (big or small) just because. I believe in fairness. This applies to both consumer and business. I don’t believe in the sense of entitlement that these consumers have when they gamble and lose. Bitching and whining until getting what they want just isn’t deserving of a post on the Consumerist.

  34. accessmemorex says:

    I would like to say I am happy with the result of this one, They were more than helpful in getting this resolved even though they were not required too. This is a good example of a company going out of there way to help the customer. I probably still would have bought another sharp after they had proven themselved, Good luck with your purchase.