Applying Samsung Updates Will Void Your Warranty

Reader Eric was having some problems with his Samsung TV, so when he found Samsung had a firmware update for his LCD TV he did what any reasonable person might and applied the update. Bad move, Eric! Samsung is claiming that the update, which he got off their website, voided the warranty on his TV. Now they won’t fix it. Read his story, inside.

I have been a long time reader of consumerist and I sadly enough need help with a product that I own. I have a Samsung LN-T4061F LCD TV, I have been trying to hook up my laptop to the TV through the HDMI port. I was able to get a picture but unable to get a sound from the TV.

Seeing this problem I went to my Olivia TV and tried hooking my laptop through the HDMI port. The laptop worked on the HDMI port on the Olivia TV so I figured something was wrong with the Samsung TV. I went to Samsung’s website and I noticed that they had a updated firmware available, so I downloaded the update and the instructions. I have flashed the firmware on my Olivia TV and other electronic devices so I figured it wouldn’t be a bad thing to do. I followed the instructions, let the TV do its thing, and when it came back up the picture was messed up.

At this point I called Samsung’s tech support and told them what happened and why I was flashing the firmware. After placing me hold a couple of times, they came back and told me that because I flashed the TV for a reason that is not approved by Samsung, they considered this physical damage thus voiding the warranty. I asked to speak to a manager and they told me the same story and that because I did this, there was nothing that they could do to help me other than to arrange a service call at my expense.

Like I said earlier, I have flashed many devices, and I have done done a bad firmware update before and know to follow the instructions step by step. The firmware update did complete successfully and I did not see anything that specifically said what the firmware fixed.

I will try calling the executive support number I found on the site when they are open. But does anyone have any advice on what I can do to get my TV fixed? I don’t think a company should offer firmware updates on their website if they don’t intend to have customers running these updates.

Please Help!

A quick perusal of Samsung’s website didn’t seem to have much in the way of giant warning signs informing you that installing the update will void your warranty. In fact, the little disclaimer at the top of the page informing you that Samsung isn’t liable if you install the wrong software or install it incorrectly seems to indicate that if you do it right, your warranty remains intact. Try calling Samsung Customer Care at 1-800-747-5618, and if that doesn’t work it’s time for the dreaded Executive Email Carpet Bomb.

Comments

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  1. Shappie says:

    You would think they would like the fact that he tried to fix it himself. That way, they don’t have to send someone when it IS under warranty.

  2. mad_hatter_md01 says:

    I flashed my tv a few times, but then the cops were called out and I was taken away.

  3. MAN! Makes me love my old 25 inch GE TV even more (circa 1990)

  4. dakotad555 says:

    What a joke. Installing firmware voids your waranty? That is really laughable.

  5. Manok says:

    should have just told them the shit was broke and you don’t know why. lol at telling them the truth.

  6. Fawkes says:

    Just a thought, did you go into the options for that port and make sure the correct sound source is being used? Or try another one like optical/RCA?

  7. humphrmi says:

    Just from a business IT perspective, we are sick and tired of vendor support people telling us to update firmware to the latest version for every problem, whether the firmware patch addresses the issue we’re having or not.

    So on one hand, it’s almost refreshing to see a company say “If you don’t need this firmware, don’t apply it.” I wish more enterprise server companies would adopt this approach.

    That said, there is no excuse for not supporting a company-provided firmware update – whether or not it was a valid reason to patch, every device they sell should run every firmware update for that device without bricking, and if it doesn’t, they should fix it, no excuses.

    @Manok: I wonder if it’s not too late for him to call back and try to do that – claim ignorance, don’t fess up to the firmware patch, just say “It’s broke, come fix it” and let them deal with it. Maybe they don’t keep good records of their calls.

  8. parad0x360 says:

    Alot of companies are iffy on firmware. They will provide it but they want a tech to install it or they want you to install it while on the phone with a tech.

    I would read the directions that came with the TV and see if there is any mention of firmware in there and what their policy is on the subject.

    Installing firmware for little problems is never a good idea because you can cause bigger ones. Its quite possible a driver issue on the laptop was the culprit and the other tv you had was less strict about what it passed through.

    Also if your TV had a DVI port why not just use that? The quality would have been identical.

    That said, I hope you get this fixed. These TV’s are way too expensive to be brushed off like that.

  9. Imakeholesinu says:

    Well, now I’m scared because I own that particular TV and was thinking about purchasing a video card with an HDMI port and hooking it up via HDMI.

  10. roche says:

    @ humphrmi

    They only do that to get you off of the phone. They have their call times to worry about.

    This pisses me off more than any post I have seen on here in months. How the f*** can they say their own updates void the warranty?

  11. HAL1300 says:

    I have several Samsung monitors and a new TV, which replaced a 15+ year old TV that worked perfectly. I always try to buy Samsung as I haven’t had a bad experience with them, though I’ve never had to contact them either. I hope that Samsung comes through and fixes this, else no more money from me — and I still have other monitors and TVs to buy.

  12. HalOfBorg says:

    I guess I voided my warranty. Our 42″ had an option to update it’s software – so we did. At least all went well.

  13. irfan says:

    samsung warranty service angers me as well. my 50″ DLP image is visibly bowed down on the upper right side.. very noticible during football games and 2.35:1 movies.. can see it from 10 feet away… service tech measures it and says its technically within specs and cant fix it.

  14. MyPetFly says:

    Man, after reading all these stories here, I’m running out of companies I’m willing to do business with. I see myself joining a Luddite community in my near future…

  15. christoj879 says:

    Interesting. I can see it coming from the point of them wanting you to be on the phone with a tech to reduce user-created problems, but it doesn’t sound like this is the case. Seems like they don’t want to fix a TV. I’d check the terms of the warranty and see if it mentions anything about firmware. Bet it doesn’t.

    When I have to deal with UPS WorldShip T/S, EVERYTHING has to be done over the phone. It’s not a big deal because the techs are super-knowledgeable and always fix the problem, but for issues such as updates (to fix other problems), they don’t publish links, they just tell you where to FTP to to get them. I guess this saves them energy because you (theoretically) can’t do it wrong when they’re guiding you through it, saving them a future and possibly worse call.

  16. JulesWinnfield says:

    Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where they wouldn’t let Jerry return the jacket for spite.

    How can a company penalize you for downloading and applying their own firmware update?

  17. Uriel says:

    Small Claims’m.

  18. mantari says:

    Firmware updates are a tricky thing. One school of thought is that you want to be at the latest version, so that you’re being proactive and protecting yourself against potential problems. The other is that you don’t want to install a firmware update if you don’t half to, even more so the most recent one, because it can cause new problems.

    And, indeed, I had that problem with a Compaq desktop. After flash upgrading the BIOS, my wireless network card stopped working. I needed to downgrade the BIOS back to what it was. However, Compaq would not supply older BIOS versions. So what did they end up doing? RMA’ing the computer.

    At least Compaq took responsibility for their own firmware causing a problem.

    There are some devices where firmware upgrades are common as an advanced user procedure. (PCs, or wireless routers are two good examples.)

    There are other devices that take firmware upgrades, but they are not really considered a user procedure (and a TV is a good example of this, perhaps even the ECU in an automobile). A user, performing that kind of maintenance, is NOT something the manufacturer wants.

    I think it comes down to what kind of warnings came with the firmware. But whatever they are, they should be big and bold, with a huge disclaimer on warranty that cannot be missed.

  19. mobilehavoc says:

    Perhaps the guy downloaded the wrong firmware…I flashed a 4671f and it was a breeze.

  20. Chaosium says:

    Sadly, the best way to deal with tech support is in 99% of the cases to play as dumb as possible.

    The more information you give, the worse off you are.

  21. TheUncleBob says:

    Is it at all possible that the firmware update was not correctly applied? I mean, to install the firmware and the TV to go completely crazy seems to me that it’s either an issue with the firmware or an issue with the installation.

    Are there any other complaints about installing the new firmware?

    If it was an installation issue, then Samsung isn’t at fault and it shouldn’t be covered by the warranty.

    If my dog chews my power cable, and I purchase a replacement OEM cable, but install it incorrectly (say, jamming it into the screen of the television), I don’t think that should be covered.

  22. humphrmi says:

    @humphrmi: I should also mention, in case anyone from Samsung is reading this: I just purchased a Samsung Plasma. Heard good things about them. Been a loyal Sony (TV) customer for all of my life, this is my first non-Sony purchase. I expect to see this resolved, or it will be my last.

  23. mgy says:

    @Chaosium: Only when dealing with warranty work. Otherwise, it just makes it difficult on someone who’s trying their damndest to understand what’s going on (me).

  24. humphrmi says:

    @mgy: Maybe if more techs would try their damndest to understand what’s going on, and apply equal effort to resolving issues without resorting to blaming the customer, then we wouldn’t have to play dumb.

  25. laserjobs says:

    Did you buy it with a credit card that gives you an extra warranty or where you purchased it? Maybe you can get them to deal with the service call.

  26. SpenceMan01 says:

    We bought a Samsung plasma back in January. From all of the research I did on the Samsung TVs, I noticed that Samsung only released the firmware to individuals who had contacted support, so I was surprised to see it now freely available for download. Must be a new thing they’re doing. Doesn’t look like it’s working out too well.

  27. SpenceMan01 says:

    I found a link regarding Samsungs previous behavior regarding the distribution of firmware updates: [samsungplasmatvfaq.com]

  28. UESC says:

    [www.avsforum.com]

    (you may have to register to see the page)

    The above link goes to a XX71f FAQ page, and there’s a section on what to do if you flash the wrong firmware. specific instructions to fix your tv if it’s Bricked.

    my 4671f flashed without any issues (thank god)

  29. aront says:

    This is why you’re best bet is a warranty *not* offered by the Manufacturer. That being said, I’ve always had good luck getting help from Pioneer – I’ve never owned a Samsung.

  30. tech1935 says:

    The HDMI is not passing audio to the tv because the computer most likely doesnt not output audio via HDMI.

    You would have to use the analog audio output from your computer (likely a headphone jack) and hook that to the HDMI input analog rca’s. Most flat panels that have HDMI have at least one HDMI input that offers an analog audio input with it.

    The cable you would need is available at most electronic retailers and is an Headphone 3.5mm Jack to Audio Stereo RCA cable.

  31. crunchtime2k says:

    Eric, if you cant get anywhere with them contact ME. i can have your set fixed in 15 minutes, i just have to walk you thru some steps in the service menu. i am familiar with this problem.

  32. Lambasted says:

    On the Avsforum.com people talk about updating the firmware all the time. I even looked into it but found I had the most current version. Many contact Samsung for the firmware and Samsung readily mails them a copy upon request. No one has ever mentioned that Samsung told them applying the firmware will void the warranty. It’s a disgrace that Samsung participates and assists in an activity that results in a voided warranty.

    I purchased a 32 inch Samsung in December. After about a month it started making a loud hissing noise an hour or two into viewing. Under warranty, it was relatively painless to get it fixed. Samsung put me into contact with the TV service agent in my area. When the repair guy picked up my TV he told me that the hissing sound is a fairly common problem on several Samsung models. So you better be careful about voiding your warranty because you really might need it.

  33. HippyHollow says:

    Yes, it doesn’t appear that your TV is hosed. I have a 4661 and I updated the firmware from Samsung’s site as well – and the picture was totally pixellated and the colors were reversed, almost – like a negative in a photolab. There is a secret code to access a menu that will allow you to select the correct video setting. I thought I killed my TV and after an hour at avsforum.com I found the solution, right here:

    [www.avsforum.com]

    (hope it’s okay to post the link here!)

    Me personally, I’m never updating my firmware again.

  34. steve says:

    The firmware for computer hardware that I typically see discourages updating unless you need to fix a specific problem addressed in the update. I’ve had to update my DVD drives a couple times to support recordable media at the labeled speeds, and sometimes with unofficial firmware, but other than that, if it ain’t broke…

  35. dugn says:

    If the download is available to anyone (not just service techs through a password-protected login), this is just stupid.

    Don’t give us the gun to shoot ourselves with then claim ‘no warranty’.

  36. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @tech1935: He said he plugged the HDMI into a different TV, and the audio worked fine. RTFA!

  37. Lambasted says:

    @steve: The problem is Samsung uses firmware updates to repair problems like: ghosting, audio dropouts, tearing, etc. Here are some quotes from forum members:

    “I don’t know if this is old news or not but Samsung just called me and sent me an email with links to new 1024 firmware that they said would fix my audio problem. I’ve got it loaded but have not run the TV long enough to know if the problem I’ve been having is actually fixed.”
    ——-
    “I had contacted Samsung tech support about 4 times before I finally reached a level 2 tech who told me that Samsung was working on a fix to the sound problem. This was over a 4 week (or longer) period. Finally, about 6 weeks into the process, I got a phone call out of the blue from a tech who said he noticed my calls about sound cut-out problems on the HP-T5054. He sent me the email with two different links to get the 1024 firmware and the installation instructions. I tell you all this to emphasize the point that it appears Samsung is not exactly breaking any speed records to produce corrective firmware. It probably depends on the severity of the problem (maybe). Sorry I can’t be more helpful.”
    ——–
    “For those with the (1015 / 1011 /1007) firmware, I just spoke to a samsung employee. She is shipping me a solid state memory stick with the rev. 1016 firmware on it.

    It fixes 3 things:

    - Audio Dropouts (which effect HDMI and maybe Component)
    – Tripple Ball Effect (HDMI and maybe Component)
    – Screen Tearing (HDMI only I think)

    So maybe this will help some fix their problems.”
    ——–
    “I have a 9/07 build and also experienced a bit of the audio dropout issues, especially the first few hours. I’ve had the TV for less than three weeks, purchased from CC. Besides that, the HDMI HD image is STELLAR and surpasses my expectations.

    I will add that Samsung has agreed to MAIL a free FIRMWARE update via a flash drive at their expense if you’re having the sound dropout issue. Although I noticed dropout issues on first hookup, they have been reduced to almost nil, though not sure what corrected them (still the once in a blue moon drop). Regardless, phone support at Samsung agreed to mail out this firmware update at no charge so will report in this thread.”
    ———-
    “I got my firmware upgrade from Samsung yesterday. It arrived fast as I just got this tv recently. It fixed the audio drop out and tearing issue. Its 100% fixed. Very happy.”

  38. Anonymous says:

    I have to wonder what would Samsung’s response have been if Eric had flashed his TV the first part of next month. Could be some internal procedure like Verizon where the “budget” for “indulgences” like customer service might just be exhausted. Oh – it’s mid-May and they’ve spent their “limit” supporting their products – ok, no soup for anyone until June 1st.

    For most big companies, all they care about is booking the original sale and service afterwards is an under-funded afterthought.

  39. Sam2k says:

    Re: OP

    The problem with sound not working through HDMI is a common one. It happened to me as well. I believe I ended up uninstalling the sound driver on my computer and reinstalling it and it started working. You should google it because most likely it is a something you need to fix on your computer rather than TV.

  40. maztec says:

    @parad0x360: Could be because he wanted sound to come from the Television – not the computer. Which DVI does not support . . . unless he plugs his audio in otherwise.

  41. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Did you call back in to talk to another tech?

  42. InThrees says:

    So don’t buy Samsung.

    Noted.

  43. stacye says:

    @InThrees: I would agree with this. Call back and get another tech. Generally, supervisors are going to back just about anything the tech says. Especially ones who are lazy, and don’t care much to do your job.

  44. IrisMR says:

    This is idiotic. Seriously. What is Samsung thinking?

  45. kjherron says:

    Our TV died several days ago, and I’ve been waiting for the Memorial Day sales to buy a new one. If this is their policy, guess it won’t be a Samsung.

  46. JustThatGuy3 says:

    @MyPetFly:

    I wouldn’t – those guys at Jedediah’s Spinning Wheel Emporium and Buggy Superstore will screw you every chance they get.

  47. AlexTNOA says:

    @Lambasted:

    Had the exact same issue with the Samsung LN-3253H. They came out and fixed it free of charge, and earlier than the appointment was originally set. The only issue I had was the repair company would only come out between 8 and 5 Monday through Friday, and I am at work during those hours. My father was kind enough to be around when the repair guy came, but I could see how this would be a pretty big issue for many people.

    As far as the quality of the Samsung TV is concerned, I am extremely happy with it now that the high pitched whine is gone. The picture is great and the sound is much better than most other comparable LCDs at this size and price.

  48. Brunette Bookworm says:

    Um, I don’t say too much here but everyone who says it was a problem with the computer that he couldn’t get sound, if you read the article again he tried his laptop on another TV and said it worked. In that case, anyone would assume something with the TV was preventing the sound, not the laptop.

  49. mariospants says:

    you know, you might be able to find the original firmware on the interwebs and slap it in there. then you could tell them to fix your monitor without hesitation.

  50. induscreed says:

    I am a little amazed at the “dont buy Samsung” comments, so a random guy has a patch of bad luck with a firmware update and you just write the brand off. I am not saying that we should take it up the a when stuff like this happens but comeon you cant base a purchase decision on persons bad experience.
    So the next guy that complains about Sharp, we stop buying an Aquos, then the Bravias, so on . Whatre we left with Westinghose, RCA, Emerson, ilo,Sceptre?

  51. InThrees says:

    And I’m amazed that people will take it up the a, as you said.

    I won’t do business with a company that refuses to stand behind their products or support. Why is that so amazing?

  52. induscreed says:

    Nothing amazing about it, just that pick the lesser evil and move on. Name me one brand that hasnt had a horror story about tech support or a recall or a complaint being handled in a less than stellar way? So we stop doing business with a company that doesnt stand behind its products, I get the sentiment I get the princple and I couldnt agree with you more, but lets be a little more practical. Its all relative, nothing is absolute.

  53. Lambasted says:

    @AlexTNOA: Samsung LN-3253H is what I have too. Others on Amazon.com have reported the same problem with their 3253H model, and other models as well.

    Same here. Now that the hissing has been fixed I am completely happy with it. The remote sucks caca but not a big deal.

  54. Imakeholesinu says:

    I e-mailed support about this issue since I have the same model TV (purchased Jan 2008) and here was the response.

    My question:

    Firmware Update….
    Is it true that updating the firmware on my TV will void my warranty? Why does this void my warranty if this is provided for download via your website? Thank you for your time.

    CSR:
    “Just to be sure I give you the correct information I did ask my supervisor here at the texas center (Lloyd) if our firmware voided our warranty, and was given a firm No. So feel free to download the firmware from our site, http://www.samsung.com .”

  55. rikkus256 says:

    Nice move Samsung. I was about to spend $2k on a Samsung TV, but now I won’t.

  56. Chaosium says:

    “This is why you’re best bet is a warranty *not* offered by the Manufacturer. That being said, I’ve always had good luck getting help from Pioneer – I’ve never owned a Samsung.”

    It depends entirely on the third party warranty provider you’re going with here.