You did your research, checked the reviews, the viewing distance chart, and our article on how to avoid what the biggest mistakes people make when choosing a HDTV (link).

Now that you’ve decided on the right set, it’s time to find the right dealer. Brick and mortar or on-line, we’ll look at both.  We’ll also discuss the store’s policies (which may be hidden).  To avoid problems you must know all the store polices before you pluck your money down.

1) Return Policy

You would be surprised how many brick-and-mortar and on-line retailers have a “no return” policy when it comes to HDTVs. The store does not care if the set has shipping damage or is dead or what the problem is, they simply refuse a return. Your only alternative is to get the manufacturer to repair the set. If said manufacturer doesn’t have local parts or service you may have ship it to the company’s US offices… possibly at your expense! Furthermore, if the set has physical damage, they may not repair it under warranty.

2) Exchange Policy

So you thought you bought the ideal HDTV. Then you get it home and discover it is a fraction of an inch too wide for your custom made home entertainment unit. Then you check the store’s exchange policy and learn they don’t accept any TV exchanges or it’s past the short exchange time period. In other words, don’t take too long to check that the TV is the perfect one for you, or buy from a store with a decent exchange policy.

3) Restocking Charges

More and more on-line and B&M stores are instituting restocking charges for returns or exchanges, regardless of the problem or issue. These can be as high as 15 to 25% of the purchase price. An example, hidden deep on its website, Radio Shack charges a 10% restocking fee for Cinego DLP TV projectors.


4) Return Freight

If the store or on-line dealer charges for delivery to your home, odds are they’ll charge you return freight… if they accept returns at all. Pre-check the cost before making your purchase, not after. Amazon Direct is one of the few companies that always pay the return freight on HDTVs.


5) Must Use a Servicer For Repairs

Many retailers (on-line and otherwise) require the customer to call the manufacturer for repairs on any HDTV, even if it’s brand new. If this is the store policy, be prepared to wait days or weeks for a serviceman and possibly an additional wait for parts. We do not recommend stores that employ this anti-consumer policy.


6) The Set Was Delivered Yesterday, It’s Too Old For Refund!

A number of dealers require reporting a defective TV with 24 hours upon delivery to be eligible for a return and refund. For example, here is the policy of on-line HDTV seller Beach Audio as appears on

Damaged Items – In the rare event that an item arrives damaged, please refuse shipment if the damage is external or notify us within 24 hours if the damage is concealed. WE CAN NOT ACCEPT DAMAGE CLAIMS AFTER 24 HOURS from sign date. Beach Audio, at it’s sole discretion, will either ship a replacement or issue a full refund when and if the claim is settled with the carrier.”

7) No Replacement TV In Stock

If the store makes exchanges, what happens if you bought the last one in stock, or if the store is no longer stocking that model? Will they give you a refund, full store credit for another model or a free upgrade if you can’t get a replacement?  You don’t want the dealer to tell you to wait weeks or months for them to get in the another unit of the same make and model. Check inventory and the store exchange policy before making your purchase


8) What Happens If The Store You Just Bought The Set From Goes Out of Business

In this economy, consumer electronics stores are closing all over the country. Recently, 35 year old 6th Avenue Electronics closed all operations in New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania. Its website is still up, however it only list hours of 9-6 Monday through Friday. 6th Avenue  continues to operate three brick and mortar retail stores in New Jersey.

A quick Google news search of 6th Avenue Electronics back in March would have revealed its serious financial problems. That’s when GE, its floor plan company, filed a lawsuit against them for nonpayment. Check out a retailer on line for news stories and complaints. is an excellent source of reports on retailers and etailers.

9) Bad Installs

If you need your new HDTV connected and set-up, research the company’s installation department before buying. Many retailers outsource their installs to subcontractors, others simply do shoddy work. Check out from previous clients how good the store is beforehand, again is a good place to begin to find complaints. The Better Business Bureau keeps records of complaints against businesses nationwide., a custom installation trade organization, lists certified installer members by area.

10) Make Sure the Store Takes The Right Credit Card

If you want to double the manufacturer’s warranty for free, you need to use the right credit card. Our article (link) provides the information to the credit card companies rules. For example paying with an American Express can double the manufacturer’s warranty up to one year. Some online retailers do not accept it, locking you out of the free extension. Make sure the retailer or etailer you pick takes the right card before placing your order.



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