Samsung Provides Out-Of-Warranty TV Repair After I Express My Disappointment

When your TV conks out, there is that moment when you play the “When Did I Buy It?” game to try to figure out whether it is still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. And when you realize it’s several months past the warranty date, that when you begin playing a different game: “Should I pay to fix it or just go to town on it with my old golf clubs?” Luckily for one Consumerist reader, he found a Samsung rep who understood his pain and decided to do something about it.

David says his Samsung 32″ LCD TV recently died the true death, 6 months after the warranty expired.

“After discussing the problem with Samsung live chat in which they expressed sympathy but there was nothing they could do, they provided a link to find an authorized repair shop,” he writes to Consumerist.

But all that came up for his zip code in Florida was a location in New Jersey. He called that number and realized it was Samsung’s customer service line.

“After explaining the problem with the TV all over again, they again expressed sympathy and gave me the location of the local authorized repair shop,” says David. “I finished the call to the rep by saying to her calmly, ‘I know it’s not your fault, but I am so disappointed that a Samsung product would let me down, failing so close after the warranty expired.'”

David says this was followed by a moment of silence on the other end before the CSR came back on and told him, “Give me a few moments on hold and let me see what I can do.”

When she returned the line, the CSR offered David a one-time warranty repair for the TV, even though it was no longer covered.

Obviously, this is not Samsung policy; deadlines exist for a reason. But it does demonstrate that sometimes you win the CSR phone lottery and get a rep who isn’t merely reading from a script when they say “I understand your problem,” and that dealing calmly with customer service reps is always a good idea (however difficult it can sometimes be).

While we have your attention, let’s take this opportunity to remind everyone that their credit card (but NOT their debit card) may have automatic extended warranty protection for purchases. So before you go all smashy-smashy on that laptop that just stares back at you with its dead, blank screen, it’s worth checking with your card provider.

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  1. theconversationalist says:

    Bad capacitors on the power board. This problem is RAMPANT on Samsung TVs. It also costs about $5 to fix with better caps. Samsung needs to get their act together. If they used better caps, this wouldn’t happen for 15 years or more instead of in the 2-3 years many fail in now.

    • Fineous K. Douchenstein says:

      More profit now. Who cares if the company loses money years later on replacing these things, because all the corporate suits will have parachuted to another job and/or retirement.

      • theconversationalist says:

        And to be clear, the $5 is a consumer buying the caps at retail and doing the job themselves. To just use better caps when they MAKE them would cost less than $1.

      • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

        More profit now, AND more profit later… Would you expect a larger profit if customers had to replace something every two or three years; or every 10-15 years? The better caps would likely need better heat shielding adding to the weight, bulk, and the price of the product. Circuit boards would need further engineering to allow for the increased bulk, the chassis may need more reinforcement for the weight and you end up with a more expensive, yet less sleek and sexy product,

        Then coupled with the attitude of most consumers.. If given a choice between comparable televisions (same brand, screen size, resolution, etc).. One which was $400 and had a 1-year warranty and a $700 model with a 10-year warranty, I would wager that most consumers would choose the $400 model.

        But over a span of 20 years, if the cheaper model was replaced 6 times and the pricier model once; then the annual cost of the cheaper model would be about $140, whereas the pricier model would have cost $70/year–Half as much!

        • theconversationalist says:

          These are not large, high-voltage caps. The caps that fail are small caps for the logic on the power supply board there are anywhere from 2-3 of them depending on the TV. They’re about as big as the tip of your pinkie. No extra weight, no extra heat (the good ones are higher-heat tolerant anyway), no extra shielding. Just a quality product from the start, for less than a buck for the good ones. Probably actually less than 50 cents total in the kind of quantity Samsung does.

          Really poor decision-making by their TV division that really turns me off their flat panel products.

        • Bibliovore says:

          I’d expect worse profit, actually. Selling replacement caps for $5 (assuming the above figures are pretty accurate) each time they fail doesn’t make for much profit after the customer service time in the call itself, including walking the customer through any diagnostic procedures and logging everything; the costs to inventory and warehouse and distribute the replacement caps, which are themselves free (including shipping) to the customers if they happen to fail within warranty; and, of course, the lost future profits from customer dissatisfaction.

          Some customers are just looking for the lowest-initial-cost product, but if that’s their line, there are cheaper TVs than Samsung’s.

    • sparc says:

      there was a recent settlement for some of the capacitor issues:

      http://www.samsung.com/us/capacitorsettlement/

    • davywastaken says:

      It’s fun to blame Samsung, but that’s not how pricing works for these types of components. Pricing between the various manufacturers tends to be consistent and a race to the bottom, with profits made in innovating new designs that have smaller footprints and mostly from bulk purchases. The real reason for these failures is far more interesting:

      http://www.pctools.com/security-news/faulty-capacitors/

    • Floobtronics says:

      Right on the money here. I did the “free” repair with Samsung once. Then a year later, I learned how to take the TV apart from a youtube video and soldered on replacement capacitors of my very own. I used the tv for another year before selling it on Craigslist for $400 less than I’d initially paid for it. ($1000 vs $1400).

  2. SirWired says:

    I would like to point out that this was accomplished WITHOUT screaming, snarling, nastygrams, snarky letters, or threats to go to the media.

    Perhaps this should be a lesson to those that write into The Consumerist AFTER they’ve written a snarky and rude letter, wondering why they haven’t gotten the hoped-for response.

  3. Lucky225 says:

    I don’t know why consumerist ALWAYS reminds you ‘but not your debit card’, when in fact, your debit card, if it has a mastercard/visa logo, AND, you paid with your signature/pressed CREDIT and NOT your PIN number as a debit, it MAY be covered too. My Perkstreet debit MasterCard offers this protection..

    http://dailyperk.perkstreet.com/perkstreets-platinum-debit-mastercard-benefits-a-quick-rundown/

    1) Extended Warranty

    Extended Warranty will double an original warranty’s timeframe up to a maximum of twelve (12) months for most purchases up to $10,000. It will also increase the warranty on certain service contracts up to twelve (12) months.

  4. Jenraft1971 says:

    This ticks me off like you can’t BELIEVE!!!

    I have spent the last 8 years on a Samdung (yes, that is what I call them) boycott and hating spree!!
    We spent almost $1000 8 years ago, for a new TV and a new VCR/DVD player.
    The DVD side never worked well. But we were new to DVD’s, so we just thought they sucked.
    The TV started acting strange at about 6 months. But we were stupid and thought it was nothing and that it would probably “go away” soon, because after all, it was brand new, right?
    Well, having two young kids left me no time to bother with calling Samsung, until the DVD player no longer played at all at the year mark, and the TV now totally had a mind of it’s own.
    I finally called, about a month after the warranties were up.
    They told me to call the store we bought them at.
    The store we bought them at told us to call Samdung.
    I called Samdung over and over and over. I wrote them actual letters.
    They basically told me on the phone, “too bad”.
    And they never responded to my letters.

    What sort of company has products that barely make it a year, let alone 6 months??

    So ever since, I’ve boycotted them and told every friend and family and even customers in stores next to me, all about how HORRIBLE SamSung products are, and how unwilling they are to cut a customer just a little break.

    We’ve held our ground, and so has my entire family.
    And I continue to spread the word. And I’ll never stop. (unless they send me a check for $1000)

    I don’t know how this customer got so lucky, so long after the warranty ran out, but good for them!
    Ashame they couldn’t have treated US better. Who knows how many people I’ve stopped from buying their products…and will stop in the future.

    Yes. We are a family scorned.

  5. scoosdad says:

    And good luck getting that free repair actually done. Samsung is notorious for not building enough spare boards and parts for their TVs when the production run is going, and then when they all start breaking down, they run out of parts and don’t have any more and won’t build any more. Nobody repairs individual components anymore, just entire boards, especially when they’re under warranty, so the manufacturers crank out spare board while the production run of the TVs are still going, and they usually badly underestimate (well, Samsung does) the quantity needed.

    I have a friend who while he owned a large Samsung DLP TV, had his original TV fail (under warrranty). No parts. They gave him a second, new TV. Also failed under its warranty, also no parts. They gave him a third. It failed just after its warranty was expired and he got rid of it and went with another manufacturer and hasn’t looked back.

  6. spartan says:

    Better advice is to check with your credit card providers BEFORE you make that purchase.