Best Buy Refuses To Replace Your Defective TV Because You Followed Their Instructions

Umar bought a DLP in 2005 with a $400 Best Buy Performance Service Plan. The TV keeps blowing through expensive bulbs (Umar has replaced 7 $275 bulbs in 3 years,) and rather than wait 2 weeks for a technician every time this happens, Best Buy provided a telephone number and told him to order and replace the bulbs himself. Now, because he followed their directions, Best Buy is refusing to cover the TV under the “lemon” provision of the service agreement.

Umar writes:

I purchased a new DLP-HDTV w/ an extra paid-for 4-year extended service/warranty plan (additional $400) from Best Buy on May 28, 2005. The total amount spent: $3,285.61!

The TV keeps blowing up it’s expensive bulbs (DLP-lamps). At first, a service-call was placed and a week and a half later, a tech’ came to replace the bulb/lamp. He stated that in the future, I should just call the 800-number and order a bulb and install it myself (he showed me how to do it, a simple 5-10 minute procedure). This would avoid down-time.

Well, since then another 6 bulbs have been replaced in about 2 1/2 years. This is uncharacteristic for any TV.

The paid-for additional extended service/warranty has a policy to buy-back/exchange the TV if more than 3 services are performed. However, they are now stating that bulb-replacement isn’t grounds for return/’lemon-law’ because I didn’t report each bulb-replacement as a service-call. Uhh, their own service tech’ told me not to call in the future and instead order the bulbs directly. Also, it takes at least 1 to 2 weeks (quite often longer) for a service tech’ to come to your residence. So, go w/o TV for 1-2+ weeks? Yea, ok…

They realize that there is something wrong w/ the TV, causing it to blow the bulbs so rapidly (each bulb costing $275+).

The Best Buy store manager (Brian) repeatedly stated initially that the TV should be bought-back by Best Buy because I have purchased a service plan and that there is an inherent fault w/ the TV. Corporate has thus far refused to buy-back/exchange. And the Best Buy store manager is now refusing to do a store buy-back saying he doesn’t want the loss in profit/final-numbers. The local Best Buy is capable of doing a buy-back if the product is defective.

I purchased the expensive service-plan to be protected. Instead, I got a lemon for a TV.

Because it’s been a few years since you purchased this TV your options are slightly limited. We think you might want to consider filing a small claims lawsuit against Best Buy. You have the receipts for the bulbs that were replaced under the protection plan, so a court may rule in your favor. Better yet, Best Buy might not even show up to court and you’ll get a default judgment. You mentioned in your letter that you were in Texas, which has a $10,000 small claims limit, so you should be able to ask for a refund.

If you’re intimidated by the process, check out this story from a reader who took Best Buy to small claims court over a washing machine and won.

And, not to be jerks, but this is the part where we remind you not to purchase “extended warranties” or “protection plans” from retailers. Get a credit card with extended warranty protection instead!

Small Claims Court In Your State [NOLO]