Why I Won't Buy Any More Electronics From Woot …Or Philips

Consumers love Woot.com because they’re able to get neat and occasionally even useful items at good prices. The great deals are great for a reason, though. Items from Woot can be surplus, older models, or refurbished. (Sometimes all three.) This is disclosed at the time of purchase and part of the deal. But Erica was under the impression that when you pay $550 for a television set, it should obey its own power button and not stop working entirely after a little more than a year of service. She’s learned her lesson, and won’t be buying any more electronics from Philips. Or from Woot, for that matter.

In October 2010 Woot had (what seemed to be) a great deal: $550 for a 47 inch Philips LCD TV. I needed a new TV so on October 3rd, I purchased it. It seemed like I was getting a good price and the model was highly rated. When the TV arrived a couple weeks later, I quickly realized the screen was broken (see attached picture). The TV had been delivered in a beaten up cardboard box with no packaging or bubble wrap so what had happened wasn’t really surprising. I was instructed to call Philips and after a few phone calls and emails I was sent shipping labels to return my unit.

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A few weeks later, I received the replacement unit. It arrived around November 2nd, and Woot gives a 3 month warranty. I’d basically just lost a month of the warranty because the first set was broken. The second set seemed to work fine at first. After a few weeks I noticed it would turn on on its own in the middle of the night. Sometime when I would shut it off it would turn right back on.

I called Philips to complain about this. After several more phone calls and emails, I was told I would be contacted about a repair person coming by. I told them I was going out of town soon and asked if they could send someone that week. They told me they didn’t know when they’d be able to send someone, but that since I’d logged the complaint before the warranty was up (this was mid december, and it expired at the end of the month) I didn’t need to worry about it and they would send someone when possible.

Of course, they never sent someone, and after I got back from vacation the TV seemed to be working ok for the most part. I figured part of saving so much money on a TV is that it might have a weird glitch, and since the warranty was up by then I didn’t have much leverage with Philips. The TV continued to work, with this erratic behavior, for about a year. In January of 2012 (approximately 14 months after I got the TV) it started doing something else: not wanting to turn on when I pressed the power button. I started having to unplug it and replug it several times to get it to turn on, and eventually (a few weeks later) it stopped wanting to turn on at all.

After three weeks of seeing the TV act completely unresponsive, I contacted Philips again. They seemed to have no record of the number of calls I’d made or emails I’d sent. They told me they only had one conversation on file, and that it had ended with them telling me where to take the TV to be repaired. This is a lie. I was never given a store, address or any information that could allow me to get the TV repaired. When I spoke to a supervisor, the only thing he did was refer me to a shop I could go to to get the TV repaired at my own cost.

In early March I brought the TV in to [redacted] TV repair. They told me it was a refurbished television and they didn’t have the schematics on it, but they would call me when they heard from Philips. I didn’t hear from them so I called and was informed that the main part of the TV, the “computer” inside it, was dead and they would need to order a new one. With parts and labor it would cost about 300$ (more than half the cost of the original television). I asked them why the part had died so quickly – I hadn’t even had the TV for a year and a half yet. They told me the TV was actually a 2009 model (something I’d never known) and it had probably been around for at least a year and a half before I got it.

I asked if there would be a warranty on it once it was fixed. He told me the part had a 90 day warranty. Therefore, it was quite possible the same thing would happen again and I would pay $300 for something that might last less than a year.

I contacted Woot and told them all this to see if there was anything I could do. They said they were very sorry but as the warranty had expired there was not much that could be done.

I am now planning on spending the $300 on a new TV that is not a Philips, and I don’t ever plan on purchasing electronics on Woot again.