Disposable TVs: Vizio Tells Owners Their Sets Are Un-repairable

September 22nd, 2012 · 84 Comments · 3D HDTV, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News

 

Check Out Our Article:  Do Vizio Disposable HDTV Sellers Have Your Back?

Updated

Vizio, America’s second best selling LCD TV brand, is now telling some broken set owners that their televisions cannot be repaired. If the set is past the 12 month factory warranty, Vizio advises owners to buy from them a replacement set !

HD Guru came across Jeff  Bartran’s letter to Vizio CEO and founder William Wang complaining that the company’s service department had deemed “un-repairable” his 13.5 month old, high end $1868 Vizio 55-inch LED LCD . Bertran adds that Mr. Wang never responded.

HD Guru investigated to determine if Bertran’s experience was unique. It didn’t take long to find eight additional cases of “un-repairable” out-of-warranty Vizios posted in the last thirteen months alone on the consumer complaint website consumeraffairs.com.

The un-repairable defects included black screens, dark spots and red and green lines. Vizio replaced defective in-warranty sets with refurbished units, which a number of owners complained also failed soon after the warranty period.

Vizio’s Florida customer service center confirmed in a phone call that defective set owners are indeed told that their TVs are un-repairable when the failure turns out to be the backlight unit (BLU), which is the light source within all LED and LCD flat panels.  Mr. Bertran told HD Guru that according to Vizio, his set’s problem was, indeed, backlight failure. He also stated Vizio offered him a replacement at a discount , however at a price  higher than he could get from Vizio’s etailers offering the same model.

Should an under one year old set be deemed un-repairable, Vizio’s warranty policy is to replace it (at their option) with a used, refurbished set they call “Recertified.” An out-of-warranty set becomes an expensive doorstop.

HD Guru contacted Vizio’s media relations company for a comment along with a request for a list of “un-repairable” models and the problems that would cause them to be so labeled but no response was forthcoming.

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What Do Other Companies Do

HD Guru asked other set makers about their “un-repairable” models, if any.

Panasonic responded:

“First of all, we do not currently have any OW (out of warranty) PDP (plasma) or LCD TV models where our standard response is to tell the customer that the unit is unrepairable and can’t be fixed.  Our policy and practice is to fix customer units to keep them in the home and in the brand.

Having said that, we do occasionally work with OW customers where their defective OW unit might require extensive parts replacements that cause the unit to be uneconomical to repair.  These cases are not common, but when we do run across them, we typically will offer the customer an option of buying a new set at a discounted price….in addition, we do occasionally run across a unit that just won’t stay fixed or stumps our technical people as to the cause of the defect….this is not a common occurrence, but when that happens, we will offer to replace the unit at a discounted price…..our goal here is always to keep the customer in the Panasonic brand.”

Samsung customer service said their TVs are repairable in or out of warranty including failure of the backlight.

A Best Buy spokesperson’s comments regarding out of warranty service for its Insignia house brand HDTVs:

“There is no minimum timeframe to how long Geek Squad will provide repair service. Customers who bring in their products outside the warranty period will be assessed a repair cost based on the severity of the issue and the product parts that are available. As with any consumer electronic product, as technology advances, parts are sometimes phased out and when unavailable, can affect our ability to make repairs on older models.”

What to Do

Check out our other “Disposable TV” article. Before purchasing a Vizio or a non-name brand TV, consider a set from company that actually builds them. Vizio and off-brands purchase their sets from assemblers, while name brand companies like Samsung, Panasonic, and LG have invested billions of dollars in panel and component manufacturing plants. They want to keep your business and so maintain extensive nationwide parts and service networks.

Also check out our extended warranty article to learn which credit cards offer free double the manufacturer’s warranty when you use the card to make the purchase.

Update-Vizio Responds

As mentioned above, we asked Vizio media relations (early Wed.) to explain why its HDTVs are un-repairable when a backlight fails and for an explanation as to what Vizio defines as a defect that is un-repairable. In addition, as an aid to our readers we asked for a list of Vizio models and the associated defects that make the sets un-repairable.

Late Thursday night, after this article was published, Vizio responded . The spokesperson did not honor our request for an explanation as to why Vizio calls a bad backlight(s) un-repairable (other companies repair sets with the same defect) nor did they provide us with the list of un-repairable Vizio TV models and their associated defects we requested. Instead they made a response regarding defective panels, although we never inquired about panel defects.  Below is Vizio’s response verbatim.

Corrected and updated  9/23


“Panel defects are extremely rare with VIZIO televisions.  In cases where a panel defect does arise, VIZIO’s policy is to replace the unit as opposed to sourcing, shipping and installing a replacement panel because it is considered  “beyond economical repair” (BER). Panels can be replaced, but it is economically impractical because the cost of a new unit is comparable and comes with a full manufactures warranty. VIZIO is addressing it’s customer service response to ensure there are no further misunderstandings.”

Vizio’s Recently Received Secondary Response -Updated 10/2

 

“At VIZIO, customer satisfaction is paramount.  Our customer service personnel are instructed to provide consumers with all of their options. VIZIO honors all in-warranty repairs either by replacing parts, or by replacing the unit. Consumers with out-of-warranty units always have the option to replace parts and repair – their decision comes down to cost.  When the cost to repair a unit nearly meets, or exceeds the cost of a new unit, Vizio counsels the consumer that it is deemed Beyond Economical Repair. The final decision to repair or replace is at the consumer’s discretion.  This extends to panels, backlights or any other component of any VIZIO unit.

The above article has been updated.

 

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84 Comments so far ↓

  • aarowsmith

    I was told by a TV tech that most LCD HD TV’s don’t last more than 2 to 4 years. His shop was filled with flat screen thin LCD TV’s of every size both Led and fluorescent backlights all in for repair within 2 years of buying. Customers all said their old picture tube TV’s lasted minimum 10 years and most will not buy another LCD TV again. What money lost. I still have the last Sony widscreen high def picture tube TV from 2005 and it still works, I use it everyday for hours. The picture quality and colors are better than most LCD TV’s sold today and it last at least 6 times longer.
    Now the new 4k resolution LCD TV’s are super expensive and who knows how long before they become expensive door stops ???

  • Another Tim

    tim bennett The model you are probably talking about is made specifically for Best Buy and is not part of Sharp’s higher end Aquos line. Search for our model number and the word China. It’s made in China using outsourced parts much like many TV’s made today. It’s really no different than a Vizio.

  • TM

    Gave a 37″ vizio. Loud high pitch scream heard one evening, then no sound and the picture is flooded with pink/red. I can still watch tv, but it’s now pink hued across the whole thing. Magically, the sound came back after cycling the power on/off. Pink/Red is still there though. Any ideas on this? Capacitors or? Thanks in advance all -

  • Ben Dover

    The NSA is watching…
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    The NSA is watching…
    The NSA is watching…
    The NSA is watching…

  • tim bennett

    yesterday i bought a sharp 42 inch led hd tv at best buy it has a 92% customer rating which is good i will never buy another vizio product again not even a philips magnavox or rca brand the tv i bought is 1080 progressive scan 120 hertz refresh rate the picture quality is much better

  • tim bennett

    after reading the complaints from vizio owners i seen them on e bay refurbished word of advice don’t buy another vizio in a week or two i’m going to replace it with a sharp 42″ inch led tv i read the reviews about this model 92% of buyers recommend this model vizio tvs have problrems sarah you are right about this brand $100.00 to$200.00 to repair a vizio

  • TV parts guy

    One more thing on Vizio, one of the reasons there prices are so low and they have so many problems is they use reject or lower grade panels in their TV’s from companies like LG, Sharp and Panasonic that these better manufacturers wouldn’t put into their own TV’s because they don’t meet there quality standard and the standards that people have come to expect from them.

  • TV parts guy

    YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!
    Vizio , which started out as an American company that found they could not compete effectively in the market making better products. Sold out to a Chinese company who wanted to capitalize on the Vizio name already in place here in the US. Vizio is a cheap product with lots of feature, which is why most people buy their products. You get what you pay for…and the consumer has allowed price to make their choice in this day and age to settle for cheap crappy products that fail sooner rather than later. The better quality Japanese manufacturers have always made a better product at a higher price. Most have left the consumer market because they are loosing money on every tv sold trying to compete with the Chinese market. Their is no comparison to the Japanese quality that comes at a higher price. The next closest in quality are the Korean made products, LG and Samsung, they are very good about taking care of their customers, most times. Where as the Chinese are horrible, and I mean horrible in their customer service skills and loyalty to customers. You’re lucky to be able to find parts for most of them if they haven’t gone out of business within the year of the warranty. It is sad we keep letting out wallets decide our choices. I’ve dealt with Vizio numerous times, who prides themselves on customer service and their US based support, but that’s all the have here is support and everything else is Chinese, there is no communication or connection between the two. American and Japanese products have always been the best quality and lasted. No longer can these companies afford to make quality products, because almost no one will buy them. TV’s use to last 15 to 20 years, now you’re lucky to get 3-5, some of the Chinese made products may only last a year to year and half. If you ask the manufacturers they will blame it on changing technology, which like everything else makes most products obsolete as soon as they come out. Companies like Vizio will never change as long as you keep buying their products. they’ve been rated tops in sales for the last 2 to 3 years and they keep growing, because we’ve let price dictate our choices. Think smart before your next purchase and give your hard earned dollars to a company that has earned it.
    You spoke about BER or backlight repair, there are a few things that can cause this and some of them are repairable, some are not economical. If the product is under warranty most manufactures, will either replace the panel with a refurbished panel or exchange the tv for a new or refurbished unit, if the panel is no longer available. This not a problem usually with most manufactures, however, it is a huge problem with companies like Vizio, whose products are so cheap already, most of their refurbished products are bad out of the box. The reason Vizio does not replace panels is due to cost and they have basically no US technicians who could handle a job like this. Their repairs are farmed out to 3rd parties who get paid minimum to swap boards and that’s the extent of their knowledge and capabilities, anything else has to be sent back to vizio to be repaired. Vizios success has come from the American market and they show no appreciation for it. Until we stop giving our money to the lowest price manufacture this will be the result of these choices.

  • Vizio user

    the only TVs that are Beyond Economical Repair are some legacy TVs with a CCFL back light or a display issue such as line defects or a damaged display. it will cost approx 80% of the retail price of the TV the have the LCD panels replaced. if someone were to have a car worth $5,000, would it be worth having the transmission replaced at $3,500?

  • Glenn

    I have never bought a vizio tv and never will buy a vizio tv. You could not give me a vizio product. If every consumer would stick together we can send them to bankruptcy where they deserve to be. I have absolutely no respect or sympathy for a company who puts their name on sticky wet brown stuff. If the shoe fits ,wear it. It fits vizio perfectly. Oh, you come out with a product that is top quality and is proven to be SORRY NOT INTERESTED. IT’S FREE ? Thanks but no thanks.

  • chris

    I have a 70 inch vizio led 3d with a crack all the way across the screen any ideas on how to fix this ? Vizio won’t touch it bc I’m not the original owner and I can’t find parts anywhere.

    We checked online with several Vizio parts distributors and could not find any with 70-inch replacement LCD panels.

    However, if it was available, generally panel prices and shipping makes it uneconomical to replace a large LCD panel.

    HD Guru

  • jaqdadi

    Also Jason, when you go to remove the board from the T.V. Use a large cotton towel or blanket and lay the T.V., screen side down, on a flat surface, that’s out of the way and don’t use the T.V. to balance yourself, like putting your hand in the middle and leaning on it or the side even, you can easily break the screen or backlight that way. Make sure it’s a cotton towel or blanket and not wool. Make sure you discharge any static electricity, by touching or grabbing something metal that’s grounded, before touching anything inside and, of course, make sure it’s unplugged before doing anything.

  • jaqdadi

    Radio Shack is a place of last resort for me. you will pay 3-4 times as much for the same caps you can buy off ebay. Radio Shack doesn’t stock caps and other components, in a way that you can look up your model and know what to buy. If you know which caps are bad, you can match them by writing down the info from the bad caps, or removing them and matching them that way. Radio Shack isn’t what it was in the early days, today it’s more of a standard, consumer based electronics store, as opposed to a technicians supply store. Go to Ebay and type in the search field “Vizio VX42L HDTV10A LCD TV Repair Kit”. I just checked and they have one reseller, U.S. based, (I always reccomend using U.S. based resellers on Ebay whenever possible), selling a cap kit for that tv @ $19.75, if you order it today 11\26, you’ll get it by Monday 12\2, free shipping. Along with 19 caps, this kit also includes solder, solder wick, alcohol cleaning pads and very good instructions, video and paper, on how to do the job. You only need a soldering tool and basic soldering-desolder knowledge. You can buy a soldering tool kit at Lowes or Home Depot, Lowes has one, a “WEN 100-watt soldering Kit” which should be sufficient, it comes with an extra tip, flux and a roll of solder for $20. If you’ve never done any soldering before, I suggest finding a junk board and practicing first, before you do the actual job. It’s actually very easy to do if you follow certain procedues and such. Just make sure you take a pic of your board, several if necessary, to see where each one goes. Nothing worse when doing something like this, than desoldering all those caps and not knowing which ones go where, when you go to put the new ones in. This reseller has some very good instructions and tutorial videos on how to do the job. Caps are very easy to desolder\solder compared to some other components. They only have 2 wires, one negative and one positive, just make sure you put the right cap in the right spot and you have the polarity correct, also when you insert the new cap, don’t snip the wires till you’ve got it soldered in, insert the wires, bend them a little bit to hold the cap in place before soldering. After soldering, snip the wires at the closest point to the board. Most of the time the negative side is clearly marked on the board and the caps are clearly marked with a + for positive and a – for negative. Like I said though, if your not that familiar or haven’t done it for long time, do some practicing first, it’ll save a lot of aggravation.

  • Jason

    I have a Vizio VX42L HDTV10A (2007) …Does any one know what kind of capacitors? I heard they are cheap at Radio Shack…Help!

  • jkdood

    what model is this please? did you acquire a service manual?

  • Barry

    I bought a 42 inch vizio off craigslist that wouldnt turn on. a year and a half old. Vizio told the guy it was unrepairable and sold him a new ‘discounted’ model for 300$ more than an online retailer had it listed for. Anyway, I paid 50$ for the TV, put $1.12 worth of capacitors in it and it works just fine.

  • Scott

    I bought a Vizio 55″ TV that lasted 30 minutes before the backlight failed. Never again.

  • Sarah

    Whoops, ment March 2013.

  • Sarah

    I bought a 32″ Vizio Smart TV last March (2012) working gereat so far, but after reading this, I won’t by another Vizio again.

  • jaqdadi

    That was one post from someone mistaking the word “compositor” for capacitor. They understood what it was and how to tell it was bad and how to read them to buy the right ones, even how to solder and desolder. So, I didn’t press it when they kept using the word. The tv got fixed, that’s all that matters, which BTW, shows you how easy some of this stuff is. Someone that didn’t even know the proper terminology was able to identify the bad parts and fix them.

  • Gary Innes

    Well, folks . . . exactly what is this “compositor” gizmo you keep on about? Never heard this term used with electronics.

    It WAS a name for an obsolete machine used in newspaper printing plants to set metal type.

    Gary in Arizona

  • jaqdadi

    Remember, you are consumer, you only see the problems of your own equipment and those around you. The amount of usage also matters. Any electronic device that get’s minimal usage is going to last much longer, than one that gets used everyday, all day. As well as temperature changes. In a steady, warmer, less humid climate, electronic devices last longer than in temperate climates, where the temperature changes frequently and dramatically. If you live right next to saltwater as I do and your windows and doors are open in the summer, as mine are, your stuff isn’t going to last as long, as someone who lives in a high rise apartment building, with very little temp or weather change going on, if any. I’m a tech\engineer. The vast majority of cheap cap issues and such that I see are in TV’s like Vizio. The absolute hardest TV to find parts for is Vizio. I can find new, decent quality parts, for any other brand, very easily. I have replaced or fixed more Vizio TV’s since they came out, than any other. I have an Associates Degree in Electronics, with many certifications and have been in the business 25+ yrs.

  • isaac

    Remember, the only comments that you see after these type of articles are the ones from the tiny percentage of disgruntled consumers..
    I have had a vizio tv for 5 years and it works perfectly. That has also been the experience of quite a few people and relatives I know.
    It works just as good as the more expensive brand, looks just as good, and cost about 70 percent as much

  • jaqdadi

    Capacitors

  • Cary

    Tech support costs money. Stocking spare parts costs money. Using parts better than the minimum required to function costs money. Visio doesn’t make panels; they buy them from LG and other companies and sell their products for less. How do you think they can afford to do that? I’ll tell you how: using the minimum quality parts for the product to last through the warranty, no spare parts and no tech support.

    It’s not unusual for a couple to last far longer but not the norm.

    As for Consumer Reports their survey methodology is frequently flawed. They will ask only about products purchased within say 1-3 years which excludes, for example, 75% dying at 37 months. Several years ago they tested a cheap CD player vs an expensive one to see if there was a difference and concluded there wasn’t. Of course not. They compared them using a Panasonic receiver and Bose speakers. Duh

  • ret

    I have a Vizio 32″LCD HDTV. When I turn the set on I ger a crackling sound and there are line running across the screen, then after a short period of time the screen goes black, but then comes back on with the lines and crackling sound. Can anyone recommend what I can look for to repair it. Needless to say it is out of warranty. Thanks
    Ret

  • John hendry

    “At least 75% of the TV’s I’ve fixed without a broken screen are cheap caps used at the manufacturers plant. I think it’s on purpose.”

    And lawsuits were filed supporting that statement. With todays technology we can build sets that would last a lifetime… the Mits 40-809 I gave to the Bingen School is almost 20 years old now and still works and looks as good new. Humans have the amazing ability to lie and believe their own lies. That can be a painful mistake and without correction that’s exactly what it will become. Designing things to break is part of many companies policies to stay in business as we make a mess polluting the Planet supporting us throwing away what will horrify future generations if there are any.

  • Joe

    I would love to know how it is that Vizio was able to receive such a high Customer Satisfaction score? (1st in customer serivce in Consumer Reports) This is why I didn’t think twice about buying a Vizio TV (that now has a non-available TCon panel which should be a $45 part). Seems fishy to me. I used to have confidence in Consumer Reports. I also have a useless 3D Vizio BlueRay Player that Vizio refuses to update so that it can play newer BlueRay Discs. Yay!

  • nelson

    how I cam fix a broken tv front panel?
    where I can find a tv front panel it” self for vizio?
    model: vf552xvt or lc550wul

  • Jess

    Thanks for all your help. Pic was good idea!
    Got those 4 compositors off they were indeed bulged at top and two had leaked. Total repair time an hour and a half including going to electronic repair store to purchase them.
    Total cost about $17 ( bought a new soldering kit on sale at Home Depot for $10)
    Compositors (470uf 25V105•) $1.61 each
    BTW radio shack does not carry that exact one in their store usually, can be ordered from their website ships in two business days. Or y’all can check with local electronic shoppes/TV repair shops. They tend to have common items like that in stock.
    Now I’m happy happy happy !
    Thanks for all the info and hope my solution can help the next person out! $17 fix sure beats several hundred for a new one !!!

  • jaqdadi

    Make sure you take a pic before removing any. I once did a cap replacement for a friend of mine who couldn’t keep his mouth shut the entire time and distracted me. I misplaced a couple of caps and powered the tv on and nothing happened. I immediately knew what the problem was, but, I didn’t take a pic first to remember where they go and had to hunt down one on the internet. Or replace them one at a time, that’s a pain though. The best thing to do is draw a small diagram and label each one. At least 75% of the TV’s I’ve fixed without a broken screen are cheap caps used at the manufacturers plant. I think it’s on purpose. Anyway, 99.99% sure you’ll be all set if you know how to solder\desolder. Did you buy them in a kit or are you just replacing the ones that are obviously blown? For the cheap price it’s better to buy a cap kit for that tv and replace them all.

  • Jess

    Thanks. I took of the back of TV checked and the 4 compositors were bad. Leaked and puffed out. Picking up a new set today fingers crossed this does the trick. Will post either way.

  • jaqdadi

    Capacitors

  • jaqdadi

    Capacitors

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