Customers Get Raw Deal In Best Buy HDTV Recall

April 4th, 2009 · 17 Comments · LCD Flat Panel, News

insignia-is-lcdtv26-415.jpg
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recently announced voluntary recall of Best Buy’s Insignia “house brand” 26” IS-LCDTV26 HDTV is a bad deal for the more than 13,000 consumers who purchased the sets between August 2005 and June of 2006.

A fire and burn hazard caused by the set’s failure-prone power supply that has already injured one set owner necessitated the recall.  The terms of the recall will burn the rest of the set owners, based on research conducted by HD Guru®.

Though the sets actually sold for between $899.95 and $1000.00 (plus tax) according to owners’ on-line comments and information HD Guru obtained from PCmag.com, the terms of the agreement set the sale price at “about $800.”  Why is that price disparity significant?

The agreement states that upon receipt of the set (with Best Buy supplying shipping container and picking up the freight cost), Best Buy will send the customer a $500 “gift card.”

Flat Screen HDTVs “…should last 10 years or more…” in normal use according to Consumer Reports.  The recalled sets have 65%-71.7% remaining minimum life expectancy, but the CSPC allowed Best Buy to offer just 50%-55.5% of the original cost to affected consumers.

That’s a bad deal for consumers and a good one for Best Buy.
In addition, allowing Best Buy to offer a gift card instead of a store credit, means sales tax will have to be paid on the replacement set.  Customers who bought a defective television will end up paying sales tax twice.

Still, the agreement is better than nothing since the sets cannot be repaired.  Customer complaints on websites including Epinions and CNET describing power supply failures of these TVs and no repair parts available from Best Buy’s Insignia division, led HD Guru to label these sets “Disposable TVs.”

While the agreement is not a good deal for consumers, the HD Guru recommends accepting it.  Even if your set works fine, it represents a serious fire and burn hazard.  Stop using the set immediately and call Best Buy’s recall department at (800) 233-0462.

If you have one of these TVs and would like to complain about this raw deal, call the CPSC recall hotline at 800-638-2772.

When the gift card arrives, take the HD Guru’s advice and buy a name brand replacement set.  You’ll be glad did.

-HD Guru with Michael Fremer

The USCPSC Recall Announcement Link

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17 Comments so far ↓

  • Nic

    Good post

  • David

    Are these TV’s still available and what sort of warranty do you get

  • JimIndy

    One: why did you buy a no-name set? You always will get what you paid for.

    Two: I do not care if only .00000001% of them caught fire – that is too much of a risk for my two young daughters and my wife who live in this house with me!

    Three: Why on Earth do you still fall for the extended warranty?? Just pure profit for the vendor selling cheap items with no profit. Did they also sell you Gold/platinum/silver hook up cables and a super duper power conditioner so it would clean up your filthy AC power???

  • Justin

    Best Customer,
    Yes, as long are your 4 yr service plan has not been used you can return it for a prorated amount. Sean, I could not have said this better myself. Im glad not everyone thinks that this big box store, Best Buy, is just out to get your. Although their here to make money, they really are about taking care of customers best they can.

  • Elliott Tucker

    This particular deal seems unnecessarily raw to me. I will no longer buy any big ticket items from BestBuy such as major kitchen appliances with extended BestBuy warranties. Thankfully, I did not buy the defective television in question, but the reported customer experiences have convinced me to buy “big ticket” items elsewhere in the future.

  • Sean

    jhuf,

    That is the one thing that I’m not sure about. I don’t know if they will cover the replacement under their extended warranty coverage. I do know from experience however, that they never give out a full dollar coverage replacement. If a product qualifies for replacement from Best Buy, then they exchange it out for a model with comparable specs. They do not replace the tv based on what you purchased it for. This sounds bogus, but it’s really not. Like I said earlier, by law, if someone breaks or damages something that you own, you can only sue for what it is worth at the time it is broken, not what it was worth at the time of purchase. Due to the depreciation of electronics they have to do it based on specs instead of purchase price. A lot of people forget that the warranty is to protect the investment on the tv. If it breaks, you get another one,so the warranty works. The new TV may be less, but the warranty is a warranty on the product, not the purchase price. As for a prorated refund, that is common sense. At least they allow you to return it and get some of your money back. I purchased a tv from best buy recently and their new warranties actually give you extra reward zone points or something if you do not have to use a warranty during its life span, so at least your getting something out of it even if you don’t have to use it, but I’m not 100% on that one.

  • jhuf

    Well Best Buy never called me back before the box arrived to send it in so I called about the warranty. I was told since it is being taken care of by Insignia it is not a warranty claim. I said well could I get full dollar coverage by turning it in under the extended warranty. She said they set it up for repair under the warranty and then determine if it can be repaired. But they are not setting it up for warranty repair for this problem, so the best I can get is a prorated refund of the warranty. I think I purchased my last warranty.

  • sean

    Best Customer,

    Ok you need to get your facts straight before saying i’m not a bright person, because at the very least you are completely ignorant on this subject. Over 13,300 of these units were sold, and Best Buy issued the recall when TWO went bad. They are not trying to hide anything, they didn’t wait until more went bad, they issued the recall after 0.015% that’s one one thousandth of one percent of TV’s sold went bad. I am completely happy with the way Best Buy handled this. As for getting a TV for free, um…you are getting one. By your own admission you just said you can get an Insignia for $449 even at an astronomical sales tax such like say 10% you only pay $494.99. So you do get the TV free. Not only that but you forgot to mention that you can get the LG 26LH20 for 449.99, the sony bravia KDL-26M4000 for 499.99, and the Toshiba 26AV502U for 449.99. See like I said brand name products that you can get for free with your $500 Gift Card. As far as not trusting Insignia again, that’s completey your perogative and is understandable. But if your not going to trust a brand over one recall then I guess you will no longer trust Whirlpool, LG, GE, Frigidaire, Maytag, Samsung, Sony, Ford, Chryler, GM, Toyota, and Nissan, who all have issued recalls lately that endanger safety.

  • BOB

    the tv should be replaced with a new one at NO COST to the buyer. no tax NOTHING to the buyer but a NEW TV.

  • Best Customer

    Sean… you are really not a very bright person. How much does a 26″ insignia Model currently cost?

    I’ll answer that for you… the Insignia NS-L26Q-10A $449.99 — that is before tax. I might just have a few dollars left over after tax… but what about if I purchased a 4 year agreement? Can I return it?

    Also, there’s no way in the world I would trust “insignia” again. I will not put my families life in danger. The TV should be replaced with a brand of my choosing for free and if I bought the warantee, it should be added to my new TV for FREE. I was sold somthing that had known issues – How could I possibly trust this company.

    “oh, we’re sorry we got caught and you spent $900 + dollars for a TV, here’s $500 — let’s call it even.”

    I am begining to smell a class action lawsuit… anyone else?

    With Best Buy’s mentality, stores like Hhgregg should have NO problem taking their business.

    What do you think?

  • sean

    Your logic is completely flawed on this article, either that or you are just using this website as an “I hate Best Buy and I will do anything to take it down” tool. This is actually a good deal for consumers. Due to the depreciation of electronics, you have to go by what a comparable TV would be worth in todays market. You could easily buy a brand new brand name 26 or possibly even 32 inch TV at Best Buy for $500. And here’s the best part. The technology is three years newer! The contrast ratios will probably be better, might get an extra hdmi port, etc.. Think of this as when you buy a new car. As soon as you drive it off the lot, it depreciates rapidly. By your logic if I buy a car with an average lifespan of ten years then it shouldn’t depreciate the second I drive it off the lot, but it does. Appraisal value has absolutely nothing to do with the expected life value. In fact even in a court of law, you cannot sue someone for the cost of something when it was purchased, you can only sue for the market value at the time a product was destroyed or damaged. I have never heard of anyone using the expected life of any product to determine the value of that product. Did you just make that up as that is the only way you could figure out how to make Best Buy look like a bad guy on this, or is that an actual method that is used regularly? If it is, in what industry and please provide a list of current appraisers who use that method.

  • chris

    Another reason why ‘Best Buy’ is an oxymoron.

  • jhuf

    799 plus 129 why?

  • Gigantor

    @jhuf:

    How much did you pay for the TV and how much was
    the 4-year warranty ?

  • jhuf

    I have this TV and have the box on the way. I have the orginal receipt and I purchased it Nov 8, 2005. I also purchased the 4 year warranty. Does this change what I am allowed or do I get a refund on the warranty cost? Best Buy has to call me back, as the tech did not know.

  • Ray

    The model Number is IS-LCDTV26 not IS-LCTV26

    The D got dropped in the edit. Thanks for the catch.

    HD Guru

  • JD

    That is not a bad deal. It’s not about what was paid almost three years ago, it’s about what will it cost to replace today. With a $500 Best Buy gift card you can buy a brand name replacement of the same size and have enough left over for a soda. If you replace it with a no-name brand (like Insignia or Dynex) you could have over $100 left over on a larger size (Dynex 32″ going for $349 right now). I enjoy a lot of the articles on this site, but you can’t say this is a “raw” deal based on prices three years ago. Technology prices fall to quick for that.

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