Samsung: Do Not Return Your Defective TV


Reader Shawn has had a hell of a time. When his Samsung TV arrived DOA, he tried to return it to the retailer but was told he’d be stuck with a 15% restocking fee, as well as shipping both ways for an exchange. Ouch. Shawn noticed that the TV came with a note that said, “Do not call retailer for returns, call Samsung!”

This note was probably due to the fact that consumers often do not know how to properly hook up HDTVs, and return them thinking they are defective. In Shawn’s case, the TV really was defective. So did Samsung help him? Of course not.

Read Shawn’s story inside.

Shawn writes:

    On November 26th I bought a brand new HDTV Plasma 50 inch HPS-5073 (MSRP 3299$) from an authorized retailer (DataVision in NYC) that Samsung’s sales department referred me to. (It was out of stock at two local shops, thus my call to sales.) The television arrived on Saturday December 2nd. I unboxed it on Sunday the 3rd, switched it on and I was greeted with a flickering screen and a high pitched squeal. Great, dead on arrival.

    I contacted DataVision’s customer support the next day (Monday December 4th 2006) around 8am CST and asked about such situations. The customer service representative informed me that the base restocking fee is 15% but could be higher, and that I was responsible for shipping in both directions. This would total over 600$ plus another 400$ or more for the exchange fee for a television that arrived broken. I asked if Samsung would be more helpful, and the person at DataVision suggested I call them about options. To drive the point home, Samsung also put in bold lettering on the manual and box (paraphrased) “Do not call retailer for returns, call Samsung!”.

    I immediately called Samsung at 8:45am and spoke with Steve in customer support. Steve told me he’d send a technician on-site and had heard of this squealing “buzz” problem before. Samsung would verify the problem, see if they could fix it, and if not would send me another one. I was pretty happy about this, since I wouldn’t be out over a thousand dollars.

    A week later on December 11th, two service technicians came onsite and said they’d order some parts and return. They assured me, as Steve at Samsung had, that this would be resolved before the end of DataVision’s return window. The technicians didn’t return and after multiple calls they picked up the television to “replace parts” on December 18th. At this point, my return window to the company I bought it from had expired and I felt pretty stupid for listening to Samsung and DataVision.

    On the 20th, 22nd, and finally the 27th the repair center claimed they still couldn’t figure out the problem and Samsung didn’t have any ideas. I contacted the corporate line and was referred to Executive Customer Relations (ECR), specifically “Todd”. Todd told me they could likely refund my money as I was obviously unhappy, or could even switch out the television for a completely different model. I had to wait five more business days because of a policy that required allowing the repair center one last chance. He said he’d call me back and let me know my options, but never did.

    Five business days passed, and I contacted support again on January 4th. I spoke with Robert who told me that Executive Customer Service did things differently and that no refund or replacement would ever be offered. Additionally I had to wait until January 17th before they would even work with me, and that there was absolutely nothing he could do. I asked for a supervisor and Erin answered. She told me the exact same thing, and refused to transfer me to Executive Customer Service. So I asked for her manager, and was given Alicia. Alicia called the service center and was told that the service center had never contacted support. She told me there was nothing that could be done and tersely walked me in circles until I was exhausted.

    This same cycle has happened several more times, including on January 17th (the day they promised to start helping me) when I spoke to both Ken and Natasha in ECR at Samsung. Natasha claimed she would call me back, and never did. Ken refused to transfer me to Natasha, or provide any further assistance. No one ever called me back.

    Update: [Jan 19th] Samsung is shipping me a new LCD (not plasma) by Feb 18th.

Shawn has more info about the problem, the resources he used to try to solve it… and more at his site, (which he has put on hold while he waits for the tracking number on his “new” TV.) Samsung has agreed to ship Shawn a different (better) model if he pays the difference ($500) and Shawn has agreed. Will he get a new tv? We shall see. —MEGHANN MARCO

Samsung Saga