5 On Your Side

Repairs for Big-Screen TVs Can Be a Big Headache

Posted February 1, 2007

— Many people who are having problems with their big screen HDTVs are finding out the fix isn't easy.

When it happened to a Wilson County couple, they called 5 On Your Side for help.

Most people's big screens work fine, but it can be a problem when they do break. The consumers who have called 5 On Your Side say they have a difficult time getting them fixed.

Amanda Price and her husband have a relatively new LCD TV, but the 40-inch Sony is stuck in a corner.

“It's broken. It doesn't work,” Price said.

The Prices paid Sears in Wilson more than $2,200 for the set. She says it worked for just six months. Now, when she presses the power button, all she gets is a flashing red standby light.

Price has been standing by for a repair ever since. Price called Sony, which told her to call Sears, which sent an "authorized service provider."

“He basically said he'd never worked on this type of TV before,” Price said.

From there, Price says, it only got worse!

“Unreturned phone calls, the runaround basically is what you would call it. Pointing fingers. Sony's not responsible, Sears is not responsible, the contracting service is not responsible,” she said.

Big screen TV repair runarounds are becoming a common complaint in 5 On Your Side. So what's going on?

We turned to Consumer Reports electronics expert Jim Wilcox.

He tells us that the bottom line is that new television technology is complicated and so are repairs. He says a TV repair person used to be able to just replace a simple part. Now, they probably have to replace an entire circuit board.

The good news is that the Prices can watch the big bowl. The day we called Sears, the part came in. Their TV was fixed the next day.

So what can you do to reduce the chance you'll get a runaround on a big screen TV repair?

Consumer Reports says to buy a major brand because parts are usually easier to get. If it breaks in the first year, keep in mind that even if you bought an extended warranty, the manufacturer's warranty takes priority.

And often, customer loyalty counts. If you're a good customer, many retailers are much more willing to help you out.

Wilcox says that because those replacement boards and other parts are expensive, service centers don't usually keep them in stock. So, when they're needed, they often have to be shipped from Asia.

In fact, when we called Sears about Prices TV, spokeswoman Shirley Bicknell blamed a part delay.

Price said she feels that considering how many consumers are buying big screens, manufacturers and retailers need to get the repair process worked out. Because when you buy it, you want to watch it—especially on Super Bowl weekend.

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  • snizzake Feb 7, 2007

    Yes, what you said whocaresaboutwral!!! You just took the words out of my mouth, or the keystrokes right off the tips of my fingers! paman99999 really showed his a$$ didn't he... i just bought an HDTV from Circuit City and they have the exact same policy as Sears. A 30-day return policy, and after that you rely on the MANUFACTURER's warranty for any repairs, unless you paid the premium price to get Circuit City's service warranty so you don't have to worry about dealing with the manufacturer over in Japan. You basically let Circuit City deal with them. Actually, what is nice about the Sears deal is that they give you a loaner TV while your TV is being repaired... it is supposed to be "comparable" but that does not mean it will be a brand new exact match. I think paman99999 and other dips*#ts think that this loaner TV is their replacement TV. If Sears cannot repair your TV at all, then yes you should get a replacement TV that is exactly the same or comparable at least in price.

  • i love idiots Feb 7, 2007

    i love idiots. this forum was really a great thing wral. people like pama99999 get to show just how stupid they are to the rest of us. i love it. kind of takes their credibility away doesn't it?

  • johngoodson Feb 7, 2007

    Hey, we all work for DOT!!! Who knew?

  • Mo Feb 7, 2007

    Paman99999: Name-at-nc-dot-rr-dot-com = Name@nc.rr.com. The man doesn't work for DOT. If he does, so does everyone else on this site.

  • mslisac363 Feb 7, 2007

    Why is there no one who understands that the parts are not at Sears and needs to be ordered? The problem is we have to depend on another country to provide us with parts, which is stupid. You can spend a 100,000 dollars at Sears but they don't sale you the spare parts. Maybe if we would start to support US brands the customer wouldn't have something they can't get fixed in a week. Anyone that is smart would check into these things before spending their money.

  • paman99999 Feb 6, 2007

    PMNbunn - I actually know the couple so your BS about being one sided is completely not true. Sears gave them nothing but headaches and this type of customer service should not be acceptable. They were offered a tv but it was in no way "comparable" as you put it, being offered a regular tv in its place. BTW, if you work for Sears, why would your email address be a Department of Transporation address then? I guess that you have nothing else better to do than to waste tax payer's money surfing the web all day. Since the state offers a free college class every semester, why don't you take a basic English class so you are able to type complete sentences? Just a thought.....

  • sideline Feb 6, 2007

    The only thing I buy at Sears are tires. That's it. I"ve had my fair share of run ins with Sears employees that sound and act just like pmnbunn.

  • pmnbunn Feb 5, 2007

    sagesburntjade.. i am not anti-consumer. but i don't believe you should blame the wrong party. at sears there is a 30 day return policy for electronics. every store has a return policy. if you don't protect your investment and are not satisfied with the attempts that were made to help (which they of course conviently left out) then you do get what you deserve. honestly 5 on your side isn't always going to have the whole story because they take the side of the consumer and the consumer isn't going to say how they were uncooperative with a store. you should take into consideration that some of these people are just out for attention. and sears is absolutely not a lousy place to shop. that is a personal opinion of course but we go out of our way to assist our customers if the customer is willing to work with us. amazing that out of all the things we sell you hear about this one unhappy customer. some people are IMPOSSIBLE to please.

  • bobbyj Feb 5, 2007

    Consumer reports advices never geting the extende warrenty instead getting a better product. Ever wonder how the service contacts prices are set.... So they can make money. Stay away from service contracts.

  • chucksim Feb 5, 2007

    pmnbunn...so you're saying if a loyal customer spends $2200 on one of your tvs, but does not spend another $200 to protect it, the customer DESERVES for it to break down in 6 months!