5 On Your Side

Woman gets runaround with LCD TV company

Posted July 10, 2008 6:59 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2008 3:21 p.m. EDT

— Flat screen televisions are all the rage. They have great picture quality and fit in a much smaller space. However, that only matters if the TV works.

When a Raleigh woman couldn't get her flat screen TV fixed, she called WRAL's 5 on Your Side for help.

“Great for now. I'm not sure how long it will last, but I have something for my money,” Vickey Baer said.

Baer is skeptical because this is her second LCD TV from the same company, in less than two years. She bought the first TV, a $600 iLo model from Wal-Mart in late 2006.

“We loved it. We thought it was great,” Baer said.

Then in January, the TV began having problems.

“We started smelling this electrical smell like the house was on fire. Like there was some kind of electrical problem in the house. We were all running round trying to find what was going on. What the problem was. ...And we finally figured out the TV was sizzling,” Baer said.

She called Akai, the manufacturer, who agreed to take care of it even though it was out of warranty.

“At first it sounded like they were just gonna replace the TV and send it back. It was gonna be simple. Well, it turned into not being simple,” Baer said.

Baer returned the television and was told it would take six to eight weeks. She said later, she was told, they would fix her TV and return it. However, weeks turned into months with no TV.

Baer said she called Akai repeatedly, but couldn't get an answer about what was taking so long.

“I said, 'I need some more help. This is not working. This has been so many months and I need somebody else to help me because I'm not, I wasn't getting anywhere,'” she said.

So Baer called 5 on Your Side and we called Akai. Eight days later, Baer had a new LCD TV.

“I couldn't believe it. When they showed up with Federal Express, I said, 'my long, lost TV.' I was just so happy to get anything,” Baer added.

The most frustrating part, Baer said, was just trying to reach the company. She said the paperwork that came with the TV didn't even include a customer service phone number. She had to call Wal-Mart to get it.

Once Baer sent back the TV, she had to talk to a different person every time she called. Five on Your Side had a similar experience getting this complaint resolved.