Maybe manufacturers need to rethink how warranties work when it comes to firmware updates. Justin’s Samsung Blu-ray player recently alerted him that there was an update available, so he told it to proceed. What he ended up with was a dead player. Now Samsung says because it’s out of warranty for repairs he has to pay them $90 to get it working again.
I purchased this Samsung Blu-Ray player in late January of 2009. Recently when I turned it on, I got a pop message that there was a firmware update for my player from Samsung, naturally since I wanted to have the latest updates I clicked “yes”. The firmware downloaded and proceeded to install. After I turned it back on, I went through the language setup and now the unit is bricked. It will not respond to anything. I cant open the tray, the splash screen is borked and its basically a 200.00 boat anchor.
I contacted Samsung support and they said that since the unit is past its 90 day warranty on LABOR, I would have to pay around 90 dollars to have it repaired. The parts are warrantied for a year, but the labor is only warrantied for 90 days. What kind of nonsense is this? I could see if i specifically went looking for a firmware update, or ran it over with my car, but the stupid thing popped up on my screen (the player is connected to the internet to stream Netflix). I’ve tried calling multiple times and I get no where. I was transferred to the executive customer service line and they basically will not budge. They will not fix or replace it under warranty. They gave me some nonsense that the parts are covered under warranty but not the labor, which makes no sense to me since they wont send me the parts to replace myself. I don’t think I should have to cover the cost of their mistake. If they don’t want people upgrading the firmware, they shouldn’t have the messages come up on the screen.
Just last month, I posted a story about a guy whose Nokia phone was bricked after a firmware update, and how T-Mobile and Nokia both refuse to help him repair it, again because it’s out of warranty.
So, does this mean you shouldn’t update your electronic equipment once it’s out of warranty? Sometimes a firmware update goes bad due to just random bad luck, but sometimes it’s due to some error on the manufacturer’s side. At the very least, maybe high-tech manufacturers should start warning owners, “If your product is out of warranty, you will be responsible for any repairs that may be necessary” after a firmware update. I know, that’s scary language for a manufacturer to use because it reveals that the world isn’t shiny and perfect. But it would help remind consumers that if their devices are out of warranty, maybe they should avoid any “improvements” that aren’t necessary.
Or, you know, companies could do the right thing and pledge to fix devices they break with firmware updates, no matter what the warranty status is. Sort of an, “If we break it, we’ll fix it,” customer service pledge.