If you purchased a malfunctioning Mitsubishi LaserVue laser-light-engine-based DLP rear-projection set between 2008-2012, you might be entitled to a free product repair or reimbursement for any work performed to fix it.

That’s because the parent of the marketing company, Mitsubishi Electronics Visual Solutions America, which exited the U.S. consumer rear projection TV business in December 2012, has agreed to a preliminary settlement in a consumer class-action lawsuit over problems that have caused a range of picture defects, including splotchy images and darkened sections of the screen after about 8,000 to 10,000 hours of use.

The firm handling the settlement for the consumers, Gilardi & Co. LLC of San Rafael, CA, last week posted a web site notifying qualifying parties that they might have a stake to the settlement relief benefits, and is gathering names and case numbers now. The firm leaves a telephone number for those with further questions: 888-289-0223.

More on Mitsubishi’s LaserVue TV Class Action Settlement after the jump:

According the preliminary settlement announcement posted online, “if you purchased a Mitsubishi LaserVue TV that is currently malfunctioning, or if you previously spent your own money to repair certain problems with your LaserVue TV, you may be entitled to a repair, payment, or reimbursement from a class action settlement.”

A spokesperson for Mitsubishi declined an opportunity to comment on the case.

Mitsubishi introduced its first LaserVue TV (a 75-inch Full HD model) to much fanfare in 2008, although shipments were delayed a number of months as the company struggled with bringing the technology and production up to speed.

The laser-based light engine in the DLP-driven rear-projection TVs produced a picture with higher contrast levels, better black levels, and better color saturation than traditional UHP-lamp based models, particularly in shades of red. Mitsubishi sold LaserVue TVs right up until it pulled the plug on U.S. consumer TV sales and marketing in 2012. The last 75-inch LaserVue set carried a $6,000 retail price.

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According to the case web site, “you are a settlement class member if you purchased a Mitsubishi LaserVue TV, models L65-A90, L75-A91, L75-A94, or L75-A96 from Jan. 1, 2008, to July 13, 2015.”

Those who own the qualifying models but are disqualified from any claim include people who: released their claims; got their TV for commercial use or resale; are a current or former Mitsubishi employee; or are a judicial officer to whom the action is assigned (or immediate family of such an officer).”

The settlement also exempts dealers who sold LaserVue TVs as agents for the company.

The web site reads: “Mitsubishi agreed to distribute to class members a reimbursement of repair expenses and extended warranty benefits, in the form of either free repairs or a payment of at least $500. You can receive reimbursement for any money that you spent out-of-pocket prior to July 13, 2015 to repair malfunctions on your TV. Malfunction includes any video anomaly or other issue that interferes with your TV’s normal or intended functioning as described in its original warranty, but does not include damage to cosmetic parts of the television, including the screen and cabinet assembly.”

The lawsuit was initiated by a former Mitsubishi dealer, John Prawat, of Atlanta, Ga./Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Home Theater Designs, who contacted lead attorney, Robert Lax, of Lax LLP, New York, N.Y. in support of an number of clients whose LaserVue TVs were beginning to fail. Robert Verdie, formerly a California resident, was the lead complainant in the case.

Prawat said he was one of Mitsubishi’s top-selling specialty A/V accounts for the LaserVue line, and frequently promoted the benefits of the technology in online enthusiast forums, until the problems began to arise. Prawat said he could not in good conscience continue selling the defective products, and to this day has a stock room filled with LaserVue models, for which he said Mitsubishi has refused to compensate him. As a Mitsubishi retailer, however, he has no claim to the preliminary settlement benefits in the consumer case.

Prawat said he is considering filing a separate complaint on behalf of former Mitsubishi dealers, who were stuck with LaserVue sets and/or had to cover repairs for their customers’ defective products out of pocket.

Prawat said clients “were reporting picture defects leading to laser outages, even though Mitsubishi had heavily marketed both the quality and reliability of the solid-state laser lighting source used in these DLP sets. Most troubling, Mitsubishi stopped providing parts and honoring their product warranties. Instead, as the complaint alleges, Mitsubishi basically was telling owners `tough luck,’ even though required by law – if not by good business ethics – to honor their factory warranties and fix their defective televisions.”

He continued: “A comment that I heard from owners of these sets, time and time again, was that ‘I didn’t pay this much money for a television that would last only a few years,’ ” Prawat told HD Guru. “Most LaserVue failures seem to occur after about 8,000 to 10,000 hours of use. In a household where the set is turned on in the morning and basically runs all day as background viewing, that could amount to even less than two years of usage… No reasonable person would agree that just a few years of usage for so expensive a purchase is `a long period of time.’ ”

By Greg Tarr


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