Check Out Our Article: Do Vizio Disposable HDTV Sellers Have Your Back?
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.
What Do Other Companies Do
HD Guru asked other set makers about their “un-repairable” models, if any.
“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.
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.
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