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

September 22nd, 2012 · 120 Comments · 3D HDTV, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News


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.

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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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120 Comments so far ↓

  • Tim

    I repair tvs as a side hobby, I see more Vizio and LG (most vizio sets are made with LG or sharp components) with led failure than anything.. the led strips are swapable and the individual leds are only about 10 cents a piece but since they are wired like christmas lights but diodes so when one shorts open they all go out when it shorts closed the rest get too much voltage and more burn out. the sharp lcd panels also fail often and vizio uses a cheaper speced tcon which burns out if theres a bonding tab failure and part of the screen goes dark.
    Vizio and lg also used leds that werent rated for the usage and would burn out shortly after the warranty period on many models around 2013-2015 if you have an led tv TURN DOWN YOUR BACKLIGHTING SETTING it should dramatically increase the lifespan of these cheap tvs. Edgelite leds are more reliable.

  • dh

    I have a barely 2 year old Vizio 4k 43inch tv with a bar of distortion at the bottom. I paid $550 for it originally. Before this issue came up, I liked the tv so much that I recently bought a 70inch for our living room. I called their support line and they offered a $420 tv for $340, but at that rate, I could spend $600 on a high end tv (for this size) and come out cheaper within two years. Look around online. Vizio TVs are disposable 1-3 year tvs. Prime example of planned obsolescence. If you spend this kind of money on something, one would expect it to last more than two years. Vizio is trash to me now and I will steer everyone I know away from them. I suggest you do the same. The initial price may be inciting, but the long term cost is way more than buying a better brand.

  • Jay

    I bought a vizio 60 inch and it has black spots after 17 months. Of course it’s out of warranty and vizio does not do anything about it. They just tell you to call ITI, a tv repair company. Vizio is a truly disposable TV.

  • Gary Ham

    re: Carol Cavallaro comment. On 4th Vizio TV, no company will warranty a unit with physical damage. To expect Vizio to take care of you on this is not reasonable. Its like crashing your car and expecting GM etc to fix it under warranty. I’m not a Vizio fan by any stretch but fair is fair.

  • Phil Gray

    1 year old E60-C3, backlight failing. Under warray sent recertified replacement in Jan 2017. Same problem on new TV. Offered $100 off new model. Wow what a deal!! Last Vizio for me. No faith in quality nor do they stand behind their product!

  • Carole Cavallaro

    4Vizio : 1st had gradual sound fail. Just under 4 years old. Did everything possible to isolate the problem per Vizio instructions. Result: sound board out, not repairable.
    2nd Vizio: one month left on warranty; lines appearing on screen. Vizio said we dropped it or it fell. We didn’t and it wasn’t. Result: we could purchase a refurbished tv for $300. No thanks, we wanted a new one. They said no, too bad.
    3rd Vizio: just turned 4 years old; sound gradually going out. Waiting to write obituary.
    4th Vizio; gift to daughter and son-in-law; he shot it in upper left corner with pellet gun ( don’t ask!) Result: spiderweb fracture in upper left hand corner; waiting to see what will happen. Ready for class action suit!!!!!

  • Judi

    I bought a Smart TV 47″ Vizio $600 that has same problem,it just went blank, now won’t even turn on today after screen going black when I was watching it. I’ve had many problems with Screen, YouTube App going out and even seeing Spy Hacker on the screen in lower right corner when watching the TV. This is rediculous, I’m boycotting Vizio on YouTube & facebook starting today!Thanx for the input.

  • Dana Sundby

    I bought a 50 inch 4k vizio and about a month after the warranty expired the screen started getting jumpy. The problem seemed to correct itself for awhile but now it’s back. Anyone know what is causing this and is it worth repairing? Next buy is a samsung.

  • Alan

    Same here with their $500 sound bar. Numerous emails with specific questions. Caned answers. No parts available.

  • frntncntr

    VIZIO hates Americans. #BOYCOTTVIZIO

  • frntncntr

    VIZIO, an overseas company that has raked in millions of dollars from Americans, has basically told Americans to go Fu(k themselves.

    They have no respect for America or it’s people, and we are tired of our own corporations giving us the shaft. We will be damned if another countries crooked corporations will treat us like shit.


  • frntncntr

    Time to boycott VIZIO. Spread the word on facebook, youtube and twitter. Watch how fast these crooks straighten up and fix our t.v.’s

  • David

    I have a 2 year old 55″ Vizio. The Rep. told me they have never heard of this issue so it’s time to junk it and buy another model. IT’S TRUE, A COMPANY IS ACTUALLY TELLING PEOPLE TO JUNK THEIR PRODUCT BECAUSE THEY HAVE NO CLUE WHAT IS WRONG WITH IT OR HOW TO GET IT REPAIRED. DO NOT BUY VIZIO!

  • John K

    I’m in for a class action suit..

  • John K

    15 month old 70″ Vizio junk. Told non repairable or too much compared to buy another one.. Offered another at a discount..

    I’m in for a Class action suit!!!!!!!

  • Sarah lane

    Bought two of the same model Vizio tv’s a couple years ago. 8 months ago the screen went black on one and last night 5/11/17 the backlight went out we were going to replace inverter board but was told not to waste money after replaced the inverter would go bad again with same issue

  • Shams

    I bought Vizio UHD TV 43″ on 06/09/2015 and yesterday it stopped working. Called Vizio – they responded the same as in your cases – backlight issue – not repairable. They suggested to buy a new one. I’ll never buy again from them. Lost $ 600 in less than 2 years on a TV.

  • Carmen

    Class action suit, I’m in.

  • Brian P

    on the phone last night re: 55 inch vizio smart tv that is about 2 years old. Was told it was backlight. Was told unrepairable. Was offered to buy a new tv at a discount but the new tv was not new, recertified. Said I would not buy another vizio, they said too bad then.

  • Patti McTee

    We need to join together on a class action suit to get our money back. Who’s in?

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