Best Buy Refuses To Replace Your Defective TV Because You Followed Their Instructions

Umar bought a DLP in 2005 with a $400 Best Buy Performance Service Plan. The TV keeps blowing through expensive bulbs (Umar has replaced 7 $275 bulbs in 3 years,) and rather than wait 2 weeks for a technician every time this happens, Best Buy provided a telephone number and told him to order and replace the bulbs himself. Now, because he followed their directions, Best Buy is refusing to cover the TV under the “lemon” provision of the service agreement.

Umar writes:

I purchased a new DLP-HDTV w/ an extra paid-for 4-year extended service/warranty plan (additional $400) from Best Buy on May 28, 2005. The total amount spent: $3,285.61!

The TV keeps blowing up it’s expensive bulbs (DLP-lamps). At first, a service-call was placed and a week and a half later, a tech’ came to replace the bulb/lamp. He stated that in the future, I should just call the 800-number and order a bulb and install it myself (he showed me how to do it, a simple 5-10 minute procedure). This would avoid down-time.

Well, since then another 6 bulbs have been replaced in about 2 1/2 years. This is uncharacteristic for any TV.

The paid-for additional extended service/warranty has a policy to buy-back/exchange the TV if more than 3 services are performed. However, they are now stating that bulb-replacement isn’t grounds for return/’lemon-law’ because I didn’t report each bulb-replacement as a service-call. Uhh, their own service tech’ told me not to call in the future and instead order the bulbs directly. Also, it takes at least 1 to 2 weeks (quite often longer) for a service tech’ to come to your residence. So, go w/o TV for 1-2+ weeks? Yea, ok…

They realize that there is something wrong w/ the TV, causing it to blow the bulbs so rapidly (each bulb costing $275+).

The Best Buy store manager (Brian) repeatedly stated initially that the TV should be bought-back by Best Buy because I have purchased a service plan and that there is an inherent fault w/ the TV. Corporate has thus far refused to buy-back/exchange. And the Best Buy store manager is now refusing to do a store buy-back saying he doesn’t want the loss in profit/final-numbers. The local Best Buy is capable of doing a buy-back if the product is defective.

I purchased the expensive service-plan to be protected. Instead, I got a lemon for a TV.

Because it’s been a few years since you purchased this TV your options are slightly limited. We think you might want to consider filing a small claims lawsuit against Best Buy. You have the receipts for the bulbs that were replaced under the protection plan, so a court may rule in your favor. Better yet, Best Buy might not even show up to court and you’ll get a default judgment. You mentioned in your letter that you were in Texas, which has a $10,000 small claims limit, so you should be able to ask for a refund.

If you’re intimidated by the process, check out this story from a reader who took Best Buy to small claims court over a washing machine and won.

And, not to be jerks, but this is the part where we remind you not to purchase “extended warranties” or “protection plans” from retailers. Get a credit card with extended warranty protection instead!

Small Claims Court In Your State [NOLO]

Comments

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  1. desertdust says:

    With DLP type rear projection TVs the extended warranty is a wonderful purchase. I have more than made up my “protection plan” purchase price. On any other purchase I have flatly refused. At first they just sent me the bulb overnight and I replaced it. Now they have figured out how much they are paying out and have made it a mandatory service call. Then they order it. Normal tv viewing can expect about 1.5 years between bulbs. Falling asleep and leaving it on all night cuts into that time considerably.

  2. justbychance says:

    It’s too early in the morning to start blaming the customer (so I won’t) but I find it amazing that he was able to redeem $1,650 in replacement lamps. Pretty sure he’s made up the money spent on the warranty and then some.

    Now that I have that snark out of the way – people hate Toshiba….DLP TV’s. There was a class action lawsuit against them for this very thing and subsequently Toshiba exited the business for the same reason Sharp, Hitachi and Panasonic did – they can’t control lamp life because of all the factors.

    So they end up looking stupid because a ballast runs hot, or a fan doesn’t spin or a DMD board goes on the fritz.

    I hope Umar is able to get this resolved. I really do, and with this being on Consumerist, hopefully someone somewhere in Minneapolis is reading.

  3. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Hate to say this, but does he have the TV behind a power conditioner? The biggest thing to blow bulbs, including lights that light your house are voltage drops and spikes. A power conditioner softens these drops and spikes, and you really want to have this on any of your expensive electronics. BTW most UPS’s already have power conditioners built into them. And no I’m not talking about a surge protector, a surge protector won’t protect against voltage drops, just surges. Believe me brown outs are as bad as voltage spikes to electronics.

  4. Shrink_Ray_Bandit says:

    Not to be a jerk, but your credit card warrantee wouldn’t have covered ONE bulb, let alone 6. Credit Cards double the manufactuer’s warranty, and Bulbs are considered “consumable” by them. DLP TV’s is actually one place (and DLP Projo’s) where in-house extended plans are worth while. 6×275 > $400. No?

    Also, that being said, and I don’t know you situation, if you leave the TV on 24/7 (especially in TX where we have notoriously awful power spikes and fluxes), you really could have changed the bulb that many times and had nothing wrong with the TV.

    At any rate, good luck with best buy!

  5. Jon Mason says:

    This is one of those stories where I’m totally behind the consumer. It especially irks me when anyone can see the common sense answer (including at one point the store manager), but because of “policy” etc. what should have been a simple case of replacing a faulty product *that is covered under a service plan* has turned into a potential court case…

    My parents underwent a “service plan” fiasco back in the early days of Sky TV where they had bought a more expensive model of receiver with Surround sound etc. Under the service plan they paid for item was to be replaced with an item of “similar model” if it broke. It did break (after the model was discontinued), and for months Sky tried to get us to accept the cheapest receiver (which was free anyway) as a replacement rather than accept their side of the deal and give us the upgraded version of the receiver.

  6. CharlieInSeattle says:

    @desertdust: Wow if that’s normal, I’m damn glad I didn’t buy one of those, and a CRT based one instead. My 52 Inch RCA CRT rear projection TV is still going strong 3 years later.

  7. illtron says:

    When I worked at Best Buy for a little while in 2002-03, we started getting DLPs in, but we had Plasmas and even LCDs for a while before the DLPs. They always struck me as a dead-end technology for precisely this reason. Also, I wasn’t impressed with how thick they were when you could get a much thinner LCD or Plasma. I really hope nobody’s still buying them. Cases like Umar’s should hopefully scare buyers away.

  8. GMFish says:

    I’m glad my Samsung DLP uses LEDs with about a 20 year lifespan.

  9. ARPRINCE says:

    I stay away from Extended Warranties but when I got my SAMSUNG DLP HDTV Nov of 2004. So I did the unthinkable and bought one. I did so based from my experience with our office projector that uses replaceable bulbs and has burned out a couple of times. Following the same logic, it would have been more cost effective to get the EW in the long run than having to purchase the bulbs that cost a lot.

    By 2007, I was having problems with my DLP screen (getting smudges). Having the warranty, my INNER AND OUTER screen got replaced. It turned out a good call for once although my bulb has never burned out on me from the time I purchased it. :)

    [forums.klipsch.com]

  10. nicemarmot617 says:

    Okay, why do people still buy Best Buy warranties? I learned years ago that they are meaningless and BB will do whatever they can to avoid giving you a cent off them. In my case, they refused to even look at my computer under their warranty, claiming they only had to touch it if the manufacturer refused. Well, the manufacturer said Best Buy sold me a box of junk. I never got one penny from Best Buy. But seriously people – if you have to go there and buy something, I would strongly suggest laughing in the face of the salesperson who tries to sell you a warranty.

  11. jnrcorp says:

    I have heard of DLP bulbs not lasting very long. In fact, it seems to be a known issue:

    [tv.about.com]
    [www.willus.com]

    Still, it sounds like your TV is killing bulbs way faster than others. Like Meg said, if you purchased with a credit card, start there. Then you could consider a small claims suit, but, before that, I would try contacting the manufacturer directly. Explaining your situation to them, might result in them replacing the TV or contacting Best Buy Corporate to arrange an in store replacement.

  12. JeffMc says:

    I’ve got no help for Umar but I’m going to follow loogee and bitch about Toshiba and DLPs.

    I just replaced my second bulb in 2 years which is a little worse than what my local repair place thinks is reasonable but it gets worse when you find out that between late January and mid June the TV wasn’t turned on once because a colour wheel had died and the whole light engine (~$730) needed replacing. And it was down so long because the part wasn’t available from either of my repair place’s suppliers OR Toshiba itself.

    I’d have killed for an extended warranty on this piece of crap.

    (It’s an 62HM95 if anyone’s looking at one on ebay/craigslist avoid it like the plague.)

  13. @CharlieInSeattle:

    Agreed.

    I suspect the consumer has an electrical problem in his or her dwelling, although it is up to BestBuy to make this determination in regards to the warranty.

  14. DeepFriar says:

    No to Best Buy/Circuit City/Sears for tvs. Yes to local appliances stores that actually care about your business.

  15. CountryJustice says:

    It’s often been admitted–by the manufacturers, no less–that DLP was simply intended as stop-gap technology between old CRT-style TVs and new flat-screen TVs.

    That said, however, I know a few people with rear-projection DLP TVs who love them and haven’t had a single problem.

  16. viqas says:

    “Better yet, Best Buy might not even show up to court and you’ll get a default judgment.”

    I am not a lawyer, but you still have to present your case to the judge and convince the judge that best buy is at fault. Best buy not showing up just makes it easier to make a claim without getting shot down.

  17. mpotter says:

    My Samsung DLP tv, which I bought in 2004, has never needed to have the bulb replaced and I feel I watch a considerable amount of tv!

    While I believe Best Buy should have replaced the OP’s tv I wonder why they waited to invoke the lemon clause until the 7th bulb blew instead of the 3rd? I would have been calling Best Buy to replace the tv the instant that third bulb went!

  18. CountryJustice says:

    @viqas: This is correct. Small claims isn’t like traffic court. You still have to present a preponderance of evidence to win your case. (Thanks, Judge Judy!)

  19. PinkBox says:

    I’m confused… he didn’t want to wait 1-2 weeks for a service technician, so instead he kept paying $275 to have bulbs shipped to him, that probably took almost a week to arrive?

    Obviously Best Buy needs to step up and replace the faulty TV, but I can’t help but wonder why on earth the OP would pay $1650 for replacement bulbs out of his own pocket.

    If anyone, he should have at least called their service department to report the problem each time so they’d have a record.

    Would opening the back of the TV to install it himself somehow void the warranty?

  20. xxjudgmentxx says:

    hint: $275 * 7 = $1925 (aka, time for a new TV)

  21. PinkBox says:

    @PinkBox: Er, if anything. Not anyone…

  22. LochBox says:

    There are about 800 questions left unanswered in this story that don’t allow any one individual to make a decision on who is in the wrong here. I like to lean to the consumer, but there is too much info left out.

    I have had extended warranties on all of my large TVs. I’ve never had a problem getting my TV fixed and usually within a couple days. However, none of those are through Best Buy.

  23. maynard62 says:

    @viqas: @CountryJustice: Of course it depends upon the jurisdiction, but generally if you file a civil complaint and the other side fails to respond, you can get judgment without proving fault. Its called default judgment. The only necessary proof is that the other side was properly served with the complaint and that they failed to respond within the alloted time (generally 20 days from service).

  24. Ein2015 says:

    To the OP, why did you wait for MORE than 3 bulbs to start this process? I would have been very annoyed and would have immediately asked for an exchange!

  25. Elijah86 says:

    I love my Samsung DLP! Never a bulb replacement in 1 and half years. Samsung FTW!

  26. They’ve only fixed it once. Kinda see their point.

    Not trying to “Blame the Customer” but he ordered products from a third party, and Best Buy wasn’t involved. How are they supposed to know the TV was repaired 4 times?

  27. Skiffer says:

    7 $275 bulbs in 3 years?!?!?

    Dude…get a new DLP with an LED bulb – it’s a bit pricier than typical DLPs…but about 10x the life.

  28. justbychance says:

    @FrankGrimesJr:

    The third part is contracted BY Best Buy for parts replacements.

    The store is empowered, but just doesn’t want to do anything.

    Umar, try calling their Customer Relations dept. It may not help but talking to the store doesn’t seem to be getting you very far.

  29. thrlsekr says:

    Wow! To get Best Buy to replace six bulbs is unbelievable! I would question the way the TV is powered. One of the reasons bulbs die before their time is because the bulb needs to be cooled properly after being used. If it is not cooled properly it will become brittle making it’s lifespan much shorter over time.

    I also agree that DLP sets should use a UPS to insure proper cooling even if the power goes out.

    If the set is plugged into a switched wall outlet or a cable box and the switch or box is turned off after viewing the set would not be able to cool the bulb properly and would drastically reduce the lifespan of the bulb.

    Making sure that the TV is plugged into a continuous power source is essential for the bulb to provide the viewing time expected.

  30. PunditGuy says:

    2005 RCA DLP + UPS + good surge protector = no bulb changes. (I know I just jinxed it.)

    I got the extended warranty from Best Buy, even though I usually don’t do that sort of thing. After about six months, I noticed the picture was warping slightly in one corner. After another month, it got progressively worse. I made a warranty call, a tech was out within a week, replaced the entire light engine, and everything has been perfect since.

  31. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @CharlieInSeattle: Yeah, I was going to say my boyfriend had an issue with his Toshiba after a bad storm. He got it fixed, I know they had to replace the bulb and something else, and the service tech recommended he put it on an UPS with a power conditioner so that next time, if the there is a surge or a power outage he can shut the TV down the way it is supposed to be shut down.

    But, yeah, Best Buy should replace this TV. Something is happening to make the bulbs burn out much faster than they should.

  32. dante1337 says:

    rear projection tvs are one of the few items that Consumer Reports suggests its prudent to get an extended warranty.

  33. failurate says:

    @GMFish: I am pretty happy with my Samsung LED DLP. Had mine for about a year and a half now, not even the slightest problem. Not having to ever replace a bulb was a huge selling point (not sure of the exact life span, but fairly certain it’s longer than most of the TV’s other components, 10+years?).
    I know the new ones are even better, with superior brightness/contrast ratio and even longer LED life.

  34. barco says:

    Moral of the story? Nobody should buy a DLP or LCD RP set, period.

    The only ones that are somewhat tolerable are the newer LED backlit sets, as they don’t have all the heat and longevity issues.. but I’d still be embarrassed to have one of those plastic boxes sitting in front of me–call me crazy, but I’m sold on build quality. That extra few inches for the money is not worth it.

  35. ryan89 says:

    The extended warranty is backed by an insurance company. If Best Buy buys back the TV, they just file a claim with the insurance company and get their money back. They wouldn’t be out anything (except labor processing the return) so I don’t see why they won’t just replace it.

  36. Erwos says:

    @barco: I’ve been extremely happy with my Sony 55A3000 SXRD. Bulbs blowing on an RP set at the pace that the submitter describes is simply not normal. The picture on DLPs/SXRDs is much, much better than you can get on a similarly-priced LCD, and you can generally get a much larger set, too. Build quality is also excellent (with the exception of Samsung’s DLPs, which often have geometry issues from bowing).

    When you do get an extended warranty on that RPTV, though, make damn sure that it covers consumables (eg, bulbs). I’ve been reading that many such warranties do not, and people get screwed when they try to actually make a claim.

  37. Hanke says:

    My brother went through a similar situation. First bulb blew after 10 months, the second six moths later. He had the extended warranty, and after the second bulb blew out, instead of just shipping him a bulb, they sent a technician who replaced what he called the ‘light engine’, which appeard to be an electronic controller attached to a bulb socket. He has not had the bulb blow in the 2+ years since.

  38. Sasha_Pie says:

    @mpotter: @Elijah86: I bought a second hand 61″ Samsung DLP over two years ago and have never had to replace a bulb. So, considering that my boyfriend falls asleep with the tv on at least once a week, by my calculations we’ve easily watched 2500 hrs of tv on a single bulb. Definitely Samsung DLPs FTW.

  39. kbarrett says:

    For the first time since I started posting here, I am going to blame the OP.

    Sorry.

    All projection TVs/monitors have a set of quirks that you need to know about before you buy.

    1) Bulbs are damned expensive.
    2) If you touch the bulb surface with your fingers, it will burn out.
    3) If you turn the thing on while the bulb is still warm, it has a very high chance of having the bulb burn out.
    4) if you don’t have the thing on a UPS, power spikes will eventually cause the bulb to burn out.

    I lost exactly one bulb on my first projector, did the research, and have owner two projectors, used them both for well over 1000 hours, and have yet to blow another bulb.

  40. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    @barco: Because everyone can afford a 56″-65″ LCD or Plasma? The DLP offers bigger size for lower cost. Yes, no one should buy a DLP that uses a LAMP. But the LED (I’ve had my Samsung DLP/LED 2 yrs now and NO problems) models don’t have noisey fans, colorwheels, nor the frequent lamp replacement, heat or power draw.
    What (DLP uneducated) folks don’t realize is that at DLP is NOT like a CRT that you can turn on/off instantly. Lamps need to warm up, oil/surface contamination will lead to failure, and they are at least $300 a pop (no pun).
    Best Buy should just replace the TV with an LED version. Betcha its cheaper.

  41. Bush2008 says:

    I used to always be against warranties, until I started working on a tech bench and seeing how many laptops need to be sent off to service.

    How do the credit card warranties work? Are they as evil as some retailers? How do they make any money off of it?

  42. dveight says:

    @mpotter: Best Buy’s lemon policy does not apply to bulbs on DLP, since they are considered a consumable item, therefore after the 3rd one blew, they would not have replaced it (it’s also on the 4th time that something breaks that the lemon policy kicks in). Also, if you had read their policy, they only are suppose to replace ONE bulb (originally they were not even going to cover ANY extra bulbs).

    From their website:

    No Lemon Policy
    If your product requires 4 qualifying repairs, we will provide a replacement of comparable performance.

    Bulb Replacement
    We provide a one time bulb replacement on qualifying products:

    * DLP Projection TVs

    Now the problem is that Best Buy determines what a qualifying repair, and I can guarantee you that bulb replacement is not considered as one. Also, do not equate service with a repair. In general, not all services are repairs.

    Now that their policy is aside, what the OP really should have done was to have Best Buy check the rest of the DLP set. What was done here was not the case, the OP just kept on plugging in new bulbs, instead of insisting that they check to make sure that it was not something else that was causing the problem. Yeah, waiting 1-2+ weeks with out a TV can be a pain (I know, my color wheel went out and had to wait 3 weeks, but you know, you do other things, take more walks, have longer dinner with actual conversation, etc…) but its the only way to ensure that they cannot blame you for anything.

    As it stands, I would insist that they come out again and to check other things that may be causing the bulbs to be going out (and if the OP does not have a surge protector, invest in one).

  43. dragonvpm says:

    DLPs give you the most screen size for the buck (esp in bigger sizes). I bought mine last year and I’ve been completely happy with it, nothing’s gone wrong with it etc…

    I can totally sympathize with the OP, previously I had a Toshiba projection TV that I bought from Best Buy (complete with extended warranty) and that experience completely soured me to them. The TV had issues almost from day 1 and BB did everything it could to not live up to it’s extended warranty. In the end I actually ended up escalating it through Toshiba who replaced the TV w/o going through BB. It’s been several years now since I dealt with that, but I’ve avoided buying any more TVs from them (oddly, I’ve had much better luck buying from Circuit City).

    It’s really hard to know what to do with some of the big box retailers nowadays. A couple of years back, I bought a stereo for my truck only to discover that the BB sales monkey sold me one that wouldn’t fit (and I explicitly asked him to make sure it would). When I went to return it the customer service clerk tried to insist that I needed to pay the 15% restocking fee on the radio because I’d tried to install it. it took some arguing and escalating it to the store manager, but I finally got ALL my money back.

    At this rate, you pretty much need to research your purchases extensively (my DLP TV was rated very highly across the board and fared better than comparable sized LCDs and Plasmas) and then go buy exactly what you know you need because places like BB seem determined to do everything they can to make any problems (e.g. incorrect recommendations), your fault/problem. It’s actually kind of sad that nowadays you can often get better customer service from online retailers than you can from brick and mortar stores.

  44. WoodsWrecker says:

    Where to start!!!!!! Disclaimer first. I am a TV repairman. I do not play one on TV.

    1) The lamp is isolated from line voltage through the power supply and a ballast. I have not seen any lamps damaged by spikes/brownouts.
    2) A UPS is a waste of money unless you are protecting the whole house.
    3) Lamp life for early generation DLP’s was around 2000 hours. That is roughly 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for a year. Current gen lamps should last approx 5000 to 10000 hours.
    4) I do factory and extended warrantys. I much prefer to use the factory warranty. The extended warrantys are basically insurance plans. The extended warranty companies are seperate from the stores and have service centers (people like me) to do the repair work.

    Flame on people……flame on

  45. Miguel Valdespino says:

    That’s a great idea. Instruct your customers to void their warranties.

  46. Cyfun says:

    If these TVs are so sensitive to surges and power loss, why don’t they design them with built-in power conditioners or even small battery backups?

  47. sean77 says:

    I stayed away from DLPs because of the rainbow effect that affects all DLP TVs save the LED DLPs. Sounds like that was a good move.

  48. sp00nix says:

    Has he read the service terms and conditions?

  49. Aisley says:

    @WoodsWrecker:
    Thank you, WoodsW, is very good to know this.
    Now, Umar Do you have any way to proof that their technician told you to change the bulbs yourself? This will be really helpful, because it will go to prove that the store “refussed to do any more service calls for you.”

    One other thing I would do, call Toshiba legal department and let them know the horrible experience you have had with their TV and Best Buys. And also let them know that because of their refusal to honor their contract on a TOSHIBA item, you’ll be taking them to court and you don’t have any other option that take them to court too because the item is a TOSHIBA.

    As ready, able and prepared as corporate lawyers are, they want not to “waste” their time in this type of issues. So you’ll probably end up with a new TV.

    Oh, one more thing Umar. When and if you call Toshiba, let them know that when you told them you’ll make this public, they told you they didn’t care! Toshiba won’t accept their “reputation been soiled” just because of Best Buy’s policies.

    Believe me, I had a Toshiba laptop that gave me a world of migranes! and the week after the warranty expired, so did that piece of crap. I did exactly what I have told you, and A couple of days later I got a brand new laptop, expensier than the one I had. Of course I got me a new Compaq Pressario laptop, and gave the Toshiba one to someone. I don’t want any more deals with Toshiba.!!!

  50. HykCraft_Returns says:

    When will people learn that you do NOT buy anything from Best Buy — especially with a BB warranty.

    His fault — he voided his own warranty. Any idiot knows that if you do something yourself regardless of what the company tells you, ONLY the business can repair it to NOT void your warranty.

    He got what he deserved.

  51. Marshfield says:

    I’m glad to have read this discussion. Have a friend who’s likely going to unload his DLP TV. Even at a bargain price, I think I’m not interested.

  52. Ausoleil says:

    Putting on my Electrical Engineering hat…

    Light bulbs have a given lifespan, and it is certainly longer than roughly 100 days. That does assume that the television is not running 24×7 and is in a normal home environment.

    Knowing that, one can logically conclude that there is an underlying problem that is causing the light bulbs to fail before their time. That could be an external source (power anomaly) or manufacturing defect.

    The advice to use a UPS is a sound one. It will give you to opportunity for a normal shutdown in the case of a power-outage, it will bridge the inevitable power blinks of a second or two duration, and it conditions the power. In other words, it eliminates the power anomaly aspect of the equation.

    If bulbs are STILL burning out, you more than likely have a manufacturing defect that underlies the bulbs. And that most certainly would be warrantied.

  53. Geekybiker says:

    I have a 3 year old Toshiba DLP set. It’s still on its original bulb. Beautiful picture, no problems. Flat panels have come down in price alot since then. But DLP’s still have better images than LCD sets, especially the cheap ones priced near dlp. Plasma was several times the cost of DLP back then, its still significantly more expensive and you have to worry about burn in.

    These days if you walk into a store it seems that you dont really have a choice but to get a flat panel display though. I guess the “cool” factor won out over price and picture quality. But what do you expect from the general public that is apparently okay with the appalling signal quality that cable and satellite operators feed us.

  54. dveight says:

    @HykCraft_Returns: Buying a TV from Best Buy as oppose to buying the same model TV elsewhere results in you getting the same TV. The only difference usually is price and level of after sale service. If nothing goes wrong with the TV, then you might be happy with buying the TV from Best Buy, it most likely is cheaper then buying it from a local shop. If something does go wrong, then you take a gamble that Best Buy won’t have horrible service. Just like the BB warranty, you are taking a gamble wherever you buy the TV from.

    As for saying that he voided his warranty, that might be true if what he did was an actual repair. But what he did was a service on his TV. Just like me changing a burnt headlight on my car is a service, and does not void my warranty.

    @Marshfield: Thousands of people have DLP TVs and are happy. I’m sure that there are also plenty who hate them. Weigh the cost of the bargain that your friend is planning on giving you and the cost of a new TV. I can say that I’m perfectly happy with mine, never had the bulb go out (purchased in May of 2005).

    @Viva La Volvo: I’m going to have to say that he probably did not.

  55. Raziya says:

    I work for Best Buy and I will honestly say that in the time I have been there, we work our best when people have the service plan/replacement plan to make sure that everything is going to be okay…I dunno? It seems like since it was a problem that had to be fixed 4 times, it should get a replacement.

  56. CharlieInSeattle says:

    @WoodsWrecker:
    Sorry you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Power or line conditioners regulate, filter, and suppress noise in AC power for sensitive computer and other solid state equipment. Power conditioners typically consist of voltage regulators in combination with output isolation transformers and transient voltage suppression circuitry. They provide electrical isolation and noise and spike attenuation to ensure the quality and consistency of power to sensitive medical, laboratory, computer, and other high technology equipment.

    Important specifications to consider when searching for power conditioners include power rating, input voltage, output voltage, voltage regulation accuracy, phase, and frequency. The power rating is usually expressed in volt-amps, which is the product of the maximum RMS voltage and the RMS current that the conditioner can handle. Input voltage is the nominal line voltage to which the conditioner is connected. The output voltage is regulated or conditioned voltage. The voltage regulation accuracy is the accuracy with which the output voltage is controlled. Choices for phase are single phase or three phases. General public or standard commercial voltages are typically single phase. Examples of these power conditioners include computers, office equipment, and many types of laboratory instruments. Three phase power is typically reserved for industrial use for machines that benefit from its efficiency. Industrial motors and machines with motors often use three phase power. Frequency choices include 50 Hz, 60Hz, and 400 Hz.

  57. Gorphlog says:

    Normally they would exchange it after the 3rd repair but I believe that light bulbs are considered consumable items which arent considered a “repair” for most retail service plans much like brakes and tires arent covered under a new car warranty, however the fact that it has needed 7 bulbs may be a reason to go above and beyond and just replace it.

  58. WoodsWrecker says:

    @CharlieIn Seattle
    Unfortunately I think I do. I have 20 years in the electronics industry covering military and civilian communications. I have worked on VHF/UHF mobile and portable communcations, SATCOM, GPS and TV. I have also installed and maintained UPS systems. I have owned my own TV repair shop for two years now.

    I say that a ups specifically for a TV of other piece of electronics is a waste because of my experience. The typical consumer wants to plug something into a wall and forget about it. They want to press a button and look at pretty pictures, or listen to pretty sounds. A maintenance schedule is beyond most typical consumers. The batteries on a UPS or SPS need to be changed typically about every 2 years or so. Mileage will vary.

    A true UPS is NOT a power “conditioner” (A $5 weasel word if I ever heard one). It will convert the incoming AC line voltage (single or three phase) to a DC voltage to charge the battery backup system, and back to AC (technically it is a pulsating DC) to power whatever is connected. When power is lost to a system connected to a UPS there will be no indication of power loss. The system goes on working as normal. There will be an alarm at the UPS control panel.

    Most battery backups or power “conditioners” are Standby Power Supples. An SPS does not convert the voltage from AC to DC back to AC. It does filter, and it does convert a portion of the line voltage to DC (to charge the batteries), but it does not provide a steady voltage. When power is lost to a system connected to an SPS you will see a “brownout” or sag of the line voltage as the control panel requires several milliseconds to switch to battery power.

    Like I said, a UPS is a waste of money unless you want to protect your whole house.

  59. CharlieInSeattle says:

    I was talking about line conditioners not UPS’s. My experience, electronic failing left and right, put conditioner on electronic, nothing fails again.

    <– Broadcast engineer.

  60. CharlieInSeattle says:

    I have a similar electronics background, and I was talking about line conditioners. UPS’s do protect computer electronics, line conditioners do protect TV’s. I’ve seen it many times first hand, person goes through many electronic components, puts a conditioner on the equipment, and electronics stop failing.

  61. WoodsWrecker says:

    I don’t use line conditioners, never have. I would just as soon use a UPS as a line conditioner. They seem a waste of money to me. I’ve had customers ask about them and I’ve recommended they go buy a surge protector instead. Unless you live in a rural area where power is somewhat unreliable, surge protectors are a better choice.

  62. kable2 says:

    I was going to buy a big LCD or plasma tv but I wanted a bigger one then I could get at walmart :)

    So after looking at all the options I bought an Epson 77c projector that I have mounted on the ceiling. I made the screen from a 4×7 sheet of white board (and some woodworking). I love that thing and now I have a 100″ HDTV.

    The resolution in wide screen mode is somewhere between 780p and 1080p. It looks awesome esp when watching HD shows. Now when I watch even a 50″ plasma it looks small.

    It has 300 hours on it now and going strong :) The bulbs are less then $200 and are rated for at least 4000 hours.

    The way I look at it is that I was going to spend about $1500 on a TV. I got the projector for $650 on sale so after I go through about 5 bulbs it will have cost me the same as the small 50″ tv. By my calculations I will get at least 1 year from the bulb. So I have a 100″ tv that will last 5 years for the price of the tv I was going to buy.

    I love having a 100″ tv and will never go back to a regular tv again. When I build my new house next year I am going to make a new screen that is about 130″.

    This projector offers 2200 lumens and can be watched during the day and at night we have a lamp on in the room unless we are watching a movie, then we go into theater mode :)

    my advice is to get a projector and a HD satellite reciever

  63. sielo_X says:

    First off, I work for Best Buy and these are some experiences that I have had at my store when customers had issues like this.

    A manager can do pretty much whatever he or she wants when it comes to returning and item even past the 30 days. At my store we “usually” go above and beyond to help a customer out. Yes we do give you an option of getting a similar TV to the one that is covered by the PSP(Performance Service Plan). But if you insist, we can give you a full store credit for the $3,285.61. We have done this for customers in the past and they usually blow past the store credit and spend even more money on a newer, bigger, or better TV. Remember it is up to the manager’s discretion so if you are fortunate to live near many different Best Buy stores try another and another. Yes you might spend money and gas but its worth getting 3k back for a new TV.

    “Now, because he followed their directions, Best Buy is refusing to cover the TV under the “lemon” provision of the service agreement.” -Umar followed the instructions from the technician and not Best Buy. Like Frank stated, Umar didn’t let BBY fix the TV under the PSP. Sorry man you got some bad advice but that manager should take into account that he is losing a future customer and any other customer that you share your story with.

    “The extended warranty is backed by an insurance company. If Best Buy buys back the TV, they just file a claim with the insurance company and get their money back. They wouldn’t be out anything (except labor processing the return) so I don’t see why they won’t just replace it.” -All the money that customers pay for PSP’s goes into a big pot and that money is used to pay for repairs, shipping, and any other costs. The rest is profit. If the stores don’t follow the right procedures, then they lose the money. This would be one of those cases.

    If all else fails, post the full name of the people you spoke with at Best Buy and the store location. Go into Best Buy and show them the link to your discussion. Good luck Umar.

  64. Shrink_Ray_Bandit says:

    @CharlieInSeattle: Way to cite your source, don’t take people’s words and use them as your own. YOUR SOURCE

    @WoodsWrecker: I don’t know what magic happy land you live in, but when I turn on the vacuum in every house I have ever lived in, the lights dim. When the air conditioner compressor kicks on, the lights dim, and when the freezer compressor kicks on, the lights dim. This is happening inside every piece of electronic equipment you own. These products are calibrated (especially DLP, with spinning mirrors) by control voltages, and when the input voltage varies, so does the control. This causes premature wear. Line conditioners prevent this. Do you customers a favor and recommend one for expensive stuff. Also, the fact that you don’t seem to have heard of UPS w/ AVR (automatic voltage regulation) tells me you haven’t looked at a UPS in about 6 years. Go shopping sometime.

  65. wellfleet says:

    Full disclosure: I work at Best Buy as a manager, and I think I can clarify some things that might help Umar now and in the future, as well as debunk some PSP myths

    1. As another commenter already posted, DLPs carry a *1 time only* bulb replacement coverage. For most DLPs, that’s worth the price of the PSP alone.

    2. After 3 qualified repairs, the 4th repair can be sent up with a no-lemon request. What is a qualified repair? A qualified repair is an actual repair to a physical component of your TV/appliance/computer. For example, a qualified repair would be to replace a bad motherboard on a laptop. A, unqualified repair is replacing a cracked screen under the Accidental Damage PSP.

    3. The PSP never covers consumables unless stated. For example, a laptop qualifies for a one-time battery replacement. A refrigerator water filter is not covered.

    4. The receipt the OP has is from PartSearch. This is a 3rd-party company that we source parts from for PSPs. It’s also where customers can go to purchase parts not covered under warranty.

    5. Most techs are 3rd-party employees and do not work directly for BBY. While what Umar’s tech told him saved Umar some time, it’s also the backdoor way to get things done and isn’t linked in to BBY’s repair tracking system, since Umar isn’t having his TV *repaired*.

    6. Because Umar did not want to place a service call and have a tech come out and look at the TV and chose to perform the repairs himself, he does not qualify for no lemon even though the TV is clearly a lemon.

    As a manager, I would probably let Umar exchange his television for comparable technology (i.e. a DLP) or give him about a $1000 credit toward a new TV. Why? Because a TV purchased today is a lot better than a TV from three years ago. Your 2004 Civic isn’t worth today what you paid for it originally, why should your TV? There is no refund/buyback, there is a feature-for-feature exchange and it’s written in the PSP.

    I would suggest calling customer relations at 888bestbuy and being super, extra nice. You may be very surprised.

  66. zithero says:

    Hmm….

    I’ll be honest, when you got the Service plan, it came with a small pamphlet… that pamphlet has the details of the plan placed inside.

    The tech should NOT have told you to replace the bulbs yourself… and each bulb should at least be covered under the warranty… however silence does not a good argument make.

    If you were having this much trouble, you should have complained at the third, or even second replacement. What the tech said, is unfortunately, and most likely, not Best Buy’s Policy.

    Yes – it bites to have downtime… but it’s a TV… just a TV. It’s not a phone, it’s not something that is impossible to live without. Downtime on consumer products is common. Bringing the item back to the store insures two important things for the CONSUMER – not BBY.

    1. The unit is being worked on buy authorized professionals. even if there is a claim that they aren’t fully trained, Best Buy is putting their name behind their service, which leads to reason 2.

    2. If they break-it… they replace it. By opening up the TV yourself, you open a can of worms. “What did you touch?” “Do you know what else is inside?” “Do you know the proper safety procedures?” “Do you know what not to touch?” these are questions they will ask you. They will want to look at the TV and honestly if there’s a single thing out of place they can claim you did it.

    The motto is… NEVER listen to the tech… he doesn’t know contracts, he doesn’t know SOP, he does NOT speak for the company’s policy, nor the the policy of the company. they know the technical stuff… not the red tape.

    it’s possible that, because he said this, you may indeed get a settlement… if he still works for Best Buy, and if it doesn’t change into a “His word vs. Yours” you have money to gain… he does not (granted, his job is probably going to be on the line, because God knows who else he misinformed…)

  67. davemora says:

    I had issues with my DLP but I got it through Circuit City. My DLP lamp light would just blink for 30 mins then it would eventually turn on.

    Circuit City came out replaced the light bulb. – No Go
    Replaced the in[something] the thing that fires up the bulb – No Go
    They ended up replacing a whole board to fix the issue.

    So, they replaced everything in the tv and got me back up and working. For what is worth I enjoyed the fact the came to my house and did not leave 10 hours later until the TV was fixed. This is one of the few things I will miss about circuit city when they go out of business. They still need to improve their car installation or get rid of it.

  68. assassinave says:

    After the second bulb replacement you should have had the tech out there. I worked for Best Buy Service not even as a tech and I could have deduced a problem with your set. Sure you “may” have gotten a bad bulb, but not 6.

    The tips the others are providing are valid, but not always accurate. The employees of Best Buy are mostly right. You need to have qualifying repairs done to the unit for it to qualify. I usually called in a few of these for techs and sometimes we went out more than 3 times.

    Instead of wasting all this energy and buying six bulbs ringing up the cost, you could have the tech come out, tell him your issue and if he’s any sort of qualified individual he should be able to find a problem and address it accordingly.

    Also if you’re in major metropolitan areas, most techs are not 3rd Parties, they are company men.

  69. kd1s says:

    He should also check into his state lemon laws. Many states have them on the books for cars and housing but some are so broadly worded they could apply to major purchases too.

  70. mpotter says:

    @dveight:
    I stand corrected! Per Best Buy’s policy I would see how they would say it is not covered, however I would still stand by my statement that I would not have waited until the bulb blew 7 times before trying to find another fix! On that third bulb I would have had Best Buy back to do a more in depth check of the tv to make sure there wasn’t a different underlying problem.

  71. braintre1 says:

    Check with your state attorney general’s office as well. I know the state I live in, has laws protecting the consumer, that many people do not even know about, such as a 4 year IMPLIED warranty on ALL products. Which is why, I have, in the store I manage, had to give a full refund of $200 to a customer bringing back an electronic item they purchased 3 1/2 years ago, which we now sell for $40. It sucks for us to do it and my boss got upset with me, but I looked at him and said “well, would you rather have the bad PR?” If your state does, make sure you have a copy of the law handy so that you can give it directly to the store manager.

  72. c_gaun says:

    Reading all of the negative stories about extended service plans, my parents got lucky. I guess I’ll tell my extended warranty story, sorry if it’s long =)

    About 4 years ago we bought a Sony 51″ rear projection at the Bay for about $3500 and we bought the $500 5 year protection plan. About 2 years after we bought the TV the blue picture tube started to fail. The Bay sent out a Sony (still under manufacturers warranty) authorized repairman to replace the tube. The blue tube ended up failing 3 more times over the course of 3 years, and after the crappy repair job (lets just say this guy had barely seen a rear projection before) from a repair shop authorized by The Bay my parents said screw it and phoned The Bay warranty ‘company’ to see if there was another repair shop that knows what they’re doing.

    About a month after calling we get a call from The Bay saying they are going to refund $2000 for the TV. In the end the refund paid for a 46″ 1080p Sharp Aquos, which was also on sale.
    I think we only paid about $800 for taxes, 2 year extended warranty and a TV stand that was on sale.

    I guess a positive extended warranty story is a rare thing.

  73. kbarrett says:

    Woodswrecker: An inbuilt conditioner will not prevent a 1 second power outage from blowing a bulb. Only a UPS will do that.

    Fail.

  74. blkhrt1 says:

    I’m not sure I saw this in here because I didn’t have the patience to read everything. The “no lemon” policy states that after four SEPARATE, UNRELATED repairs, it is deemed a lemon. If you’re paying for the DLP engines yourself, then you’re getting screwed, but they don’t have to replace the TV because of a single problem (That happens to be repeating)

  75. mrearly2 says:

    Wow! Too bad he didn’t wait for a better unit, with better technology, such as LC.

  76. IamSandman says:

    If Best Buy covered all 6 bulbs you already won. The Performance Service Plan on a DLP TV covers ONE bulb. If each bulb costs $275 the first was usally more than the cost of the Service plan itself. Also if you READ the information that you should have been provided. The no lemon policy doesn’t cover items such as bulbs.

  77. Osiris_x11 says:

    [Thursday, August 7, 2008 3:32 PM]

    Consumerist,

    This is Umar again. Thanks for posting my story:

    [consumerist.com]

    I got a following reply this morning from Michael Arrighi (Senior Executive Resolution Specialist) @ Best Buy, after I sent an email cc’ing the top brass yesterday evening (Wednesday, August 06, 2008 6:31 PM). He issued me a confirmation number for replacement. I will goto Best Buy this evening to see what the process entails.

    I sincerely appreciate the contact info’ you guys had for the Best Buy movers-&-shakers. It worked. Fast.

    Also, I’d like to clarify some of the confusion from my original post, that readers/posters have addressed:

    - The replacement bulbs/lamps were ordered from Best Buy parts, under the performance service protection plan (no direct cost to me). This was the recommendation of the 1st service-tech’, back in August 2005.

    - I purchased a spare bulb/lamp from Toshiba back in early 2006 from my own pocket to use while a new bulb/lamp was being sent (avg. delivery time: 2-3 business days).

    - Starting November 2005, the limitation of (1) bulb/lamp per plan was added to the policy for new purchasers of the performance service plan; apparently unscrupulous individuals were ordering dozens and dozens of bulbs and then reselling them.

    - I didn’t stock-pile the bulbs/lamps (you need to send back the defective/blown one in their own FedEx pre-paid box, each w/ their own unique number for: shipper-receipt, shipping-number, item-receipt, all as part of the requirement to receive a subsequent replacement).

    - Avg. wait for service technician is at least 2+ weeks. Each time I needed a bulb/lamp, I’d call them so they’d have on record that a bulb/lamp was being replaced.

    - I didn’t know about the No-Lemon/3-service fine-print until a few months ago. I replaced my 4th bulb in early May 2008 (actually 5th bulb in all, 1st one was replaced by service tech’), which made me eligible. That’s when I started efforts for replacement. Since then, I’ve changed the bulb once more (late July).

    - A Best Buy tech’ did come in June 2008 (after 3 weeks wait) to see the TV. He spent less than 5 minutes and left, saying the unit was fine and he wasn’t going to endorse a buy-back.

    - I told a Sr’ Best Buy Customer Care Rep’ (after “escalation”) on the phone back in May 2008, that no matter the outcome, they were gonna get the TV back at the store. He replied, “that would be littering.” I also told him their Performance Service plan would lose them more money than what the TV sold for through bulb/lamp replacements. He stated, “it’s no loss to us, the insurance company pays for it.”

    - There is no voltage instability to speak of at the residence. All precautions have been taken. Numerous other voltage-sensitive electronic devices have never had any issues over the years, including another non-HD projector TV (as well as an LCD HDTV & a home computer-network). My father is an Electrical Engineer, by trade.

    - The TV is used for avg. hrs in the daytime and then at night. Not sparingly, not excessively. No surround sound, no gaming, no nothing. Just Dish-Network & DVD’s.

    - I was out of the country for nearly a year, hence why I didn’t take the initiative earlier.

    - I’ve been 101% honest & forthright from the start. And fortunately, it may have paid off. I got a message this morning that I was issued a buyback-code for replacement (whatever that may entail). I believe it was my meticulous record-keeping (invoices, shipping-receipts, service-documentation, etc’) that prevailed in the end.

    Attached below is the letter from Best Buy Corporate…
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Best Buy Corporate Offices
    7601 Penn Avenue South
    Richfield , MN 55423

    August 7, 2008

    Dear U’:

    I am writing in regards to your email from August 6, 2008, that was directed to various individuals at Best Buy’s Corporate Offices. Your correspondence was ultimately referred to my attention to investigate and respond.

    I’d like to apologize on behalf of Best Buy for the difficulties you encountered regarding this matter, but I appreciate the time you took to voice your concerns to allow the company an opportunity to properly address them. Indeed, Best Buy values this sort of contact as it provides the corporation with important feedback to make decisions regarding its future direction.

    I am sorry for any disappointment that generated over this situation, for the events that you describe are both rare and unfortunate and not reflective of the optimal experience Best Buy strives to provide its customers. Please note that any Performance Service Plan (PSP) sold prior to November 1, 2005 (including yours) affords unlimited bulb replacement benefits, and each lamp replaced constitutes a qualifying repair under the No Lemon coverage. Since the No Lemon clause specifies that there must be three qualifying repairs and diagnosis of a fourth problem for a product to merit replacement, I am happy to report that your television meets this criterion and consequently has been approved for replacement under confirmation number XXXXX. This means that you can take the confirmation number to the Cedar Park location for store personnel to facilitate the transaction; in addition, Best Buy will need to take possession of your current television. Also, please be aware that if you elect to purchase another PSP for your new television, the current plan allows only one bulb replacement to count as a “qualifying No Lemon repair” throughout the lifetime of the policy.

    I am very happy that you will be acquiring a new television, and I hope the above explication clarifies the benefits of your PSP. Thank you again for allowing me to respond to you on behalf of Best Buy. Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns. You can reach me through email at Michael.Arrighi@BestBuy.com or via phone at 612-XXX-XXXX.

    Sincerely,

    Michael Arrighi

    Senior Executive Resolution Specialist

    Best Buy Corporate

  78. Anonymous says:

    go ahead with the lawsuit if you buy the lamps the service plan wont cover them it may if you submit the bills
    you should have called best buy 800 to have them send you a lamp best buy is so out of control now though that the techs that come out dont know who paid for what and they cant give people their money back many of these products have class action lawsuits on them and the mfgr is offering a replacement
    product best buy refuses to tell anyone and the mfgr doesnt care if you dont find out
    friends dont let friends shop or work at best buy