Look Out For Hidden Costs of a Cheap HDTV
New TV brands seem to pop up like mushrooms. In most cases, that analogy could go even further.
The latest newcomer attracted our attention for its top model’s features, size and price.
Last week, Fry’s advertised a 55-inch, 3D-capable, 120 Hz, LED LCD TV for just $799 (Retail $1500). The brand is called BigMac Sigmac, and they sell a line of HDTVs in the 15, 32, 42, and 55-inch screen sizes. Dealers include Tiger Direct, Amazon and Fry’s (though to date we only found the big one at Fry’s) . We don’t know how good the picture looks on the Sigmac, however after looking at the company’s warranty policies there are hidden costs that potential buyers should be aware of when considering a no-name brand.
The 55-inch even includes 2 pairs of passive 3D glasses. The closest name-brand TV with similar specs is the 55LW5600 , which currently sells for $1367.15 on Amazon.
On Sigmac’s website (link) they require TV registration within 60 days of purchase to be covered by its one year parts and labor limited warranty. Failure to do so voids the warranty. This is the first time we have seen a TV maker require product registration to obtain parts and labor under the warranty.
There is no in-home service on any Sigmac TVs. If service is required for repair, the customer must pay the return freight to the Sigmac office located in City of Industry, California. The lowest cost for UPS ground from NY to Ca. was $149.53. You must use the original box or pay for a new carton, as according to a company customer service representative Sigma will not supply a box and packing material. If you did not keep the original shipping carton, you may have a big problem. We tried our local UPS store and were told they do not have a box large enough to fit the TV.
Sigmac does not state any turnaround time on its website.
SquareTrade offers a four year (total) extended warranty. During the factory warranty period they will pay for the cost of the return freight, which in the case of the 55-inch Sigmac, this is more than the price of the Square Trade warranty. However, the cost of obtaining a suitable shipping carton is not covered. After the factory warranty expires Square Trade provides in home service for TVs 37 inches and above. To learn more about extended warranties go to our article here.
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