Panasonic: If We Had Actually Helped When You Called For Support, Your TV Would Be Under Warranty

James has a sweet Panasonic 42″ plasma screen TV. He writes that the device has an exciting new feature: it now refuses to turn on. Back in January, he called Panasonic support, who were able to help him unplug and reset the TV a few times. That helped, but it broke for good back in May. Now Panasonic says that his warranty is up, but they totally could have helped him if the set had broken closer to the end of this one-year warranty. Say, two months after the warranty ended in November 2009. Also known as January–when he originally called Panasonic about the problem.

I have a Panasonic TH42PZ85U Plasma TV. I bought it in November of 2008 and loved it till January of 2010. That was the day it decided to blink the power light 10 times and not turn on anymore.

I called Panasonic’s Concierge service and talked to a person whose name I don’t remember and they had me disconnect all the stuff plugged into the TV and unplug the main power for a few minutes and plug it back in and turn it on. It worked and i was told to plug everything back in and it should be fine. He also went on to tell me that sometimes these TVs need to be reset like that. I was also told that if it happened again to just repeat the steps.

I had to do this probably 4 times since then. When I called about it after the 3rd time of doing it I was taken through the steps again and when it worked i was again told they occasionally need a reset.

That was great till last Friday. Now even the reset does not work. I called and spoke to a gentleman naked Chris. He walked me through the reset again and when it did not work i was put on hold for a while. When he came back he got all the info about date of purchase and serial number and my contact info. He then told me my TV was out of warranty and there was nothing they could do but refer me to a repair person. I had mentioned when I called about reading in various forums that this problem seemed to be common and i had even seen some statements about people getting repairs long after the warranty was over. He told me he did not know about any of that. He said I should pay for an evaluation and fax it in to see if a manager would have anything to say about it.

I cannot afford to pay for an evaluation and defiantly not pay for parts and labor. That’s when he really kicked me in the stomach. He told me if it was much closer to when the warranty expired I might have been able to get some leeway. So basically, if would have been properly addressed in January when I called the first time they could have helped me.

This happened in May. James just sent us this update:

They want me to pay for an repair person to inspect the TV. They will then consider if it is something they will cover after the warranty and to what cost extent. Basically it sounds like something is wrong but they want to see if the repair person finds the thing that they will fix or not. The down side is it is about 150 dollars to get a repair man to do the inspection.

Other readers have found success writing to the head of consumer affairs at Panasonic–you can find his office’s phone number and address on the Panasonic listing at the Better Business Bureau.