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"Best Buy" Extended Warranty Horror Story


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#1 of 31 OFFLINE   mech_eng9t7

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Posted January 15 2007 - 11:38 AM

tHREAD UPDATED WITH VIDEO CLIPS


Chronological Sequence of Events. 61" samsung DLP.



November, 2005 , bought HLR6168 61" DLP and 5 yr PSP from Whitby, ON, Canada Best Buy store.

November, 2006 : Bulb Exploded with 1400 hrs usage , Samsung sends
Service rep and replaces lamp. Task is completed within 10 minutes. Excellent service under Samsung factory warranty.

December 6th, 2006 : Light Engine Failure, Samsung Factory Warranty Expired, PSP kicks in.

Left Shadow.jpg below

December 7th:
Best Buy Extended Warranty dispatches discount repair service. XXXXX Ltd sends Dodge Caravan to transport DLP unit to service facility. XXXXX places DLP face-down. Both XXXXX and BB Customer Service insist that TV must be taken in for diagnostics despite my protest that this type of service can be performed in home

December 8th: Contact Mr. Troy at Samsung Tech support and he confirms that service does not require diagnostics and can be performed in house. States that service people are totally incompetent for transporting DLP face down in minivan. It can result in damage to screen and projection optics. Told me to contact BB Corporate Office to ensure that such methods are not repeated.

Spoke to Mr. Steve, BB Customer Service supervisor and informed him of the mis-handling of my DLP. Tried to educate him on the detrimental effects of face down transport . Admits he lacks technical background on HDTV’s but assures me that XXXXX is fully qualified. Refuses to take further action despite my concerns and the potential damage that Samsung mentioned. As a result, I insisted that he enters my warnings in the log file of my claim and BB’s subsequent refusal to take corrective action.

December 11th: Spoke to the night sales manager Mr. Don Pameli and informed him of XXXXX's methods. Explained to him the consequences of transporting a DLP face down and the incompetence of XXXXX Ltd... Told me to wait and see what happens. Upon my insistence he did agree to call XXXXX on Dec. 13th ( he had the 12th off ) to convey my concerns and to ensure any negative effects of improper handling are rectified. He NEVER called XXXXX or myself.

December 21st 2006
: After all my efforts are in vain, TV returned via mini-van with damage.

see video:

http://s119.photobuc....ewed_video.flv


December 22nd 2006: Contact BB Customer Service and inform them that their failure to address my concerns has ruined my DLP unit. No apology, they just said XXXXX will come and take away my TV again for another 2 weeks. I insist they use someone else that doesn’t use a mini-van. Reply, IT MUST BE XXXXX !!!!!!!!!!

IMPORTANT NOTE: the previous lamp replacement and the current blemishes
don't count in Best Buys Lemon Warranty Policy. So all this BS counts as a single claim ( 4 claims needed for free product replacement )


Jan. 3rd, 2007: Visit the store where purchase was made and finally speak with the general manager Param Singh. Present him with the first 2 pages of this report. Informs me that everything I have experienced over the past several weeks with my DLP unit is totally unacceptable. Assures me that I will receive a replacement or at the very minimum,
competent service and will contact me within 24 to 48 hrs.

Jan.5th, 2007: After waiting 48 hrs without any word, I visit the store once again. Ask the clerk at the service desk to get the store manager. The clerk calls GM on his private line. Before emerging from the safety of his office, the clerk is directed by the GM on the phone to ask my name and reason for my visit. I provide my name and reply that my visit is regarding a 61 inch HDTV. As soon as the GM hears this, he immediately dispatches Don Pameli to speak with me, the very same person who promised to contact XXXXX on my behalf to ensure any negative effects of improper handling were corrected. But Don never called XXXXXX or myself.

Mr. Pameli comes down and immediately informs me that my problem is no longer the stores responsibility. Then he has the nerve to lie directly in my face. Claims he tried to contact me after our original conversation, but he said I had no voice mail service. However, he is unaware that both my home and office have voice mail and call display. There is no record of his call on either system!!! As for the GM, what a despicable and cowardly course of action. Hiding in his office and forcing his subordinate to break pledged he made with me.

Before leaving the store, I ask at least 6 BB employees for contact information of regional or district manager. Every reply is "call 1-866-best-buy"

I realize now I won't be able to resolve this through Best Buy Canada.


Jan 11th 2007: I write a detailed letter to BB CEO Brad Anderson and c.c 20 of his big wigs in the USA. ( See Below for copy of Letter )


Jan 12th, 2007: I guess someone in the U.S. actually read my mail because I got this reply:

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Re: Insignificant Canadian BestBuy Customer Pleading For Intervention

Dear

Thank you for taking the time to document your concerns with the recent
repair of your television.

Please be advised that I am currently investigating this issue for you
and will have an update for you on Tuesday as I am out of the office on
Monday. Your case is priority for me, thank you for your patients.

Sincerely,

Sheryl Ross
Senior Customer Support Consultant
Best Buy Canada CHQ
604-XXX-XXXX

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jan 14th, 2007: TV IS TOTALLY SCREWED !!!! Every 2 to 3 hrs TV flashes, freezes and eventually only small parts of the screen is visible


Jan 15th, 2007: Another problem with TV. Entire screen freezes, turns Black and White, and then powers off by itself. Front lights flash indicating bulb needs replacement. Wait 5 minutes, turn on TV and all is fine until 2 to 3 hrs and same problems occur. I'm so freaking sick of this TV.

http://s119.photobuc....nt=WTF_DLP.flv

My greatest fear now is that the pricks at Best Buy will think I'm deliberately causing damage to the TV.




#2 of 31 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 15 2007 - 11:58 AM

No, man. Worst thing you can do is give up. Keep making some noise. They owe you a TV that works.
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#3 of 31 OFFLINE   mech_eng9t7

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Posted January 15 2007 - 12:13 PM

Sorry, forgot the letter:



Subject:Insignificant Canadian BestBuy Customer Pleading For Intervention


Dear Mr. Anderson and Honorable Associates:

As a loyal customer of Best Buy since your expansion into Canada, I am writing this letter to you with two primary goals in mind. First and foremost, it is to convey to you the immense magnitude of frustration I am feeling and secondly, my greatest hope that you can help me resolve my problem so I can continue to enjoy the wonderful atmosphere and the great products that your retail stores offer. Please keep in mind that all my efforts to resolve this through Canadian contacts have been exhausted.

In November of 2005, I purchased a 61 inch Samsung DLP HDTV along with a 5 year Performance Service Plan (PSP) from the store located in Whitby, ON, Canada. During the final month of the factory warranty, the lamp module on this unit exploded and Samsung dispatched a local technician within 48 hours of my call. It took the serviceman less than 10 minutes to replace the bulb and I was very impressed with the turn around time.

However, four weeks later, after the factory warranty expired, the light engine began to fail and the PSP came into effect. This marks the point where my customer experience declines exponentially which would lead to 3 service calls in a six week period.

This all begins when Best Buy PSP hired a highly questionable service company named XXXXX Ltd that came to transport my 61 inch HDTV to their service facility using a DODGE CARAVAN. My initial reaction was one of suspicion for obvious reasons and I requested to see their credentials. As it turns out, these were the people that Best Buy entrusted my television to. I was informed by the 2 men in this vehicle that my TV had to be transported to their service facility mainly because diagnostics had to be performed. I immediately protested this course of action because XXXXX and Best Buy never asked me any specific details of the malfunction so why were they so certain that diagnostics were required. Secondly, I knew for a fact that light engine/colour wheel failure can easily be repaired in home. But as I expected, my request for a technician to perform an in-home repair fell upon deaf ears. So the 2 men proceed to wrap my 61 inch widescreen with a filthy looking cloth and duct tape. Yes, DUCT TAPE. When this improvised covering was complete, it was then transferred into this passenger mini-van in the only position that would fit, “Face Down”.

The following morning, I contacted a very helpful gentleman, MR. Troy at Samsung Tech Support. He confirmed that this malfunction did not require diagnostics and should have been performed in house. He even went on to specify that this type of task is allocated 30 to 45 minutes of labor for Samsung authorized technicians. However he also informed me that XXXXX was totally incompetent for transporting the DLP face down. He elaborated that this would lead to high potential of screen damage and serious problems to the projection optics. So I quickly placed a call to 1-866-Best-Buy and insisted on speaking to the duty supervisor. A Mr. Steve takes my call and I request to have my TV transferred to another service company, or at the very minimum, convey my concerns to XXXXX to ensure that the same mini-van is not utilized during the return of my TV and that an inspection be performed to rectify any damage that may have been generated from the face-down transport. Mr. Steve admits he that lacks any technical background on HDTV’s and assures me that the DLP was in the hands of a qualified technician. Ultimately, he takes no further action. So I insisted that he record my objections in the claim file and his subsequent refusal to take corrective action. I encourage you to access this file log to verify that I made multiple calls to this department and my requests were all denied.

The following Monday, I visit the store of purchase hoping for their help. I speak to a Don Pameli, the night manager and inform him of how my television is being mis-handled. His exact words were “Wait and See What Happens”. When I explained to him the consequences of face-down transport, he finally agrees to contact XXXXX to ensure any damage is corrected and that the mini-van is not used for the return trip. He then promised to contact me when he resolved this issue on my behalf. Needless to say, he never called XXXXX or myself.

On December, 21st, after all my efforts were in vain, XXXXX returns my television in the same Dodge Caravan in damaged condition. When I power the unit up, there were large blemishes covering the screen that are inherent to the improper handling I witnessed.

I immediately contact 1-866-Best-Buy and inform them that their refusal to assist me during this ordeal has ruined my widescreen . There are no apologies and the first statement I hear is that XXXXX will return the following week to remove my TV for another 2 weeks. When I demand that they use a service company that does not use a minivan, the reply was it must be XXXXX.

In desperation, I visit the store to meet with Param Singh, the store manager in a final attempt to avoid the services of XXXXX Ltd. I explain to him my very unpleasant experience and he immediately apologizes on behalf of Best Buy and tells me what I have endured is totally unacceptable. He then assures me that I will receive a replacement DLP unit or at the very minimum, a professional service call from a competent technician. He then promises to contact me with additional details within 1 to 2 days. At the end of the week when Mr. Singh has failed to contact me, I return to the store one final time. I ask the clerk at the service desk to get the store manager. The clerk proceeds to call the GM on his private line. Before emerging from the safety of his office, the clerk is directed by Mr. Singh on the phone to ask my name and reason for my visit. I provide my name and reply that my visit is regarding a 61 inch HDTV. As soon as Mr. Singh hears this, he immediately dispatches Mr. Don Pameli, my favorite night manager. Mr. Pameli comes down and informs me that my problem is no longer the stores responsibility as instructed by Param Singh. Then Don has the audacity to falsely claim that he tried to contact me after our original conversation, but because I had no voice mail service he was unable to leave me a message. Unfortunately for him, he is unaware that both my home and office numbers that I provided have voice-mail so it is obvious he didn’t call. To support my accusations, both my home and office numbers also have call display, and there is no record of this alleged call. I then requested Don to show me the numbers I left with him and sure enough, the numbers were correct. I will let you draw your on conclusion.

As for the Param Singh, I can not conceive of anything more despicable and cowardly than hiding in his office and ordering his subordinate to break a pledge that he made with me. But the 2 of them do make a very good team.

I hope you can understand why all the details expressed here were necessary and I apologize for the length of this letter. I also hope you can bear in mind that I hold the position of a professional engineer in the automotive industry so I have taken great care in using the integrity and high ethical standards that I use in my profession to be truthful and accurate in all my statements. I strongly believe that this entire unpleasant episode could have been easily avoided if either 1-866-Best-Buy or store management placed a single phone call on my behalf. Unfortunately, 20/20 vision is hindsight.

I am very grateful that you have taken a few moments from your busy schedule to read my correspondence. Despite 3 major failures within a 6 week period, please do not interpret this letter as a demand for a replacement product. My greatest wish here is for the authorization to have a competent service person visit my home if my DLP HDTV is salvageable. If my geographic location poses as a problem, I ‘d be more than happy to incur the costs of the additional fuel and mileage expenses.


Kindest Regards,

#4 of 31 OFFLINE   MACPUN

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Posted January 15 2007 - 01:14 PM

Danmmm!!!
That makes me nervous and sick becuz I just purchase a Samsung 61" DLP TV however, I bought mine at Conn's & wishing for great customer service repairs if require.


Good Luck and don't give up!!

#5 of 31 OFFLINE   Rick89114

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Posted January 15 2007 - 02:52 PM

Wow another Best Buy horror story. I've heard alot and had some bad experiences myself at Best Buy. Its ashame, They have no concern about their customers anymore. I guess they just care about selling music cd's and video games to the kiddies nowdays. Anyone shopping there beware, read all the fine prints in their policies, they are SET IN STONE! return policy restocking fees, ect. The customer service people will promise you one thing then say "sorry we didn't meet your expectations, thank you for helping us improve our system". I even asked them to close my rewards points account and they can't seem to even do that.

Sorry after reading about all your troubles I just had to vent. Good Luck and keep at em.

#6 of 31 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 16 2007 - 12:29 AM

Great letter.

I've had a Samsung CRT monitor for years. That sucker is unbeatable! It replaced a problematic Viewsonic monitor that petered out just shy of 3 years (3 year warranty). I didn't bother trying to trade it in. Too much trouble.
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#7 of 31 OFFLINE   CoolCatbro

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Posted January 16 2007 - 01:00 AM

BestBuy screwed you on the warranty.
just like extended car warrantys, 90% of them are a rip-off.

Its strange some people seem to have the red-carpet laid out and some just get the shaft?

I have heard the bulbs exploding can ruin many things in a TV.....this goes for any high pressure bulb in any system.
Usually they exploded at power up as they get the "strike voltage"....the seals on either end, glass to metal, is usually the weakests point where the bulbs explode. This can easily take out a colorwheel, scratch optics and prisms etc...I'll never buy a Bulb TV.....and after your thread probably not a extended warranty.

There's many ways to get revenge on a dealer like yours though. Try taking outseveral Hi-$$$End TV from his store then bring it back damaged. Repeat this once a week...

Tell him your just shopping for a replacement on that "extended warranty TV they sold you" and that this TV shopping could go on for sometime.

He'd be sorry he didn't resolve my issues quickly. .....bring it back scratched up, maybe drive around with the screen facing down in the back of the pickup, or lose the box and drive it up there in the rain....hell, yeah... try a new TV every 15 days for this year.

His Return shelf will be full of scratch and scratched-worse HDTV's.

You can sell the "missing" remotes on Ebay to get your money back for the Extended Warranty.

Or you could just threaten him physically and personally. The skys the liimit.

One things for sure, if your a nice, polite man...they'll fhk you over everytime.

#8 of 31 OFFLINE   Brett_H

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Posted January 16 2007 - 01:15 AM

Any chance you bought it using a credit card? Perhaps the CC company would be willing to help out?

-Brett.

#9 of 31 OFFLINE   C&K

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Posted January 16 2007 - 02:19 AM

I think dealing with best buy corporate is your only option. You might want to copy your letter over to any consumer protection agencies that your country has, and inform best buy that you have done so. The general manager can only replace your product at his store's expense, and I doubt he is going to do it with the way he has treated you, and he probably won't be the store manager much longer anyway.

But you have a name and number of someone in a corporate office, which is more than most customers can manage to get to voice their complaints. Good luck, they owe you nothing less than a new TV and a refund on your extended warranty, IMO.

PS: Since his TV was purchased so long ago, I don't think the CC can do anything for him at this point.

#10 of 31 OFFLINE   Radioman970

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Posted January 16 2007 - 04:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolCatbro
One things for sure, if your a nice, polite man...they'll fhk you over everytime.
We returned a 19" Samsung CRT once and BB was giving us a problem. They didn't like the fact that we had sent in the UPC for a rebate. It was taking a looong time. So mom goes into her act and tells them she's feeling faint because of her diabetes. She doesn't have diabetes but she's a great actress. She'd also worked in retail since the early 70s and knew they didn't want a woman fainting all over the floor of the store. Posted Image It helped that she had a legit cast on her arm. I say if you're going to do a return or exchange at the store or something similar, do a dress rehearsal and make sure you know all your lines!! I finally got a refund believe it or not. And bought a Viewsonic. It sucked and gave out and I bought another 19" Samsung CRT. But that one is excellent by chance.
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#11 of 31 OFFLINE   mech_eng9t7

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Posted January 16 2007 - 05:00 PM

UPDATE:

Just a copy and paste of my reply to her update message. Needed to give her another example of XXXXXX Ltd great workmanship. Most of you have already seen the video from my original message.

They expect me to take 2 more freaking afternoons off from work. One for the pick up, wait 2 weeks, and another one for the drop off.



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Here's another sample of their great work:

http://s119.photobuc....nt=WTF_DLP.flv


The above video was taken Sunday!




ORIGINAL MESSAGE

"Sheryl Ross"
01/16/2007 06:33 PM
To

cc

Subject
RE: Insignificant Canadian BestBuy Customer Pleading For Intervention





Dear ,

I received some further details regarding your case this morning. I
have been advised that the repair center has made numerous attempts to
contact you to schedule a convenient time to come to your home to look
at your television. You should have also received a call from xxxx


today asking you to call her to set up service.

I completely understand that you may be reluctant to have a technician
from xxxxxxx have another look at you television, however as they are the
company that initially serviced your unit their work is warranted and
they must take another look at the unit to complete the repair properly.
One of the benefits of your Performance Service Plan is that the work
that is performed is warranted, should their be any issues that arose
from an improper repair, we would either repair or replace the unit.

xxxxxx, I'm confident that we will be able to work with you to resolve
this issue and have your television fixed. I ask that you call either
xxxxxx or xxxx to set up and appointment, and should you have further
concerns please feel free to contact me as I would be happy to work with
everyone to correct this.

Sincerely,


Sheryl Ross
Senior Customer Support Consultant
Best Buy Canada CHQ
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx







#12 of 31 OFFLINE   powerlord

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Posted January 16 2007 - 05:40 PM

I had this same problem after coming home from overseas,my wife had bought a 36 in sony and the 24 month warranty that came with it.The tube went out 3 weeks after and my wife had been fighting with them after she tried to exchange it and they said it would be serviced,3 months had gone by with no TV returned.When i came home the TV had been back a month and the tube went out again.So I haul the TV and the reciept and the warranty packet up to BB and talk with the manager,he says he won't exchange the TV but will gladly have it serviced again,I have a very bad temper and he doesn't know this.I wheel the TV into the walkway holding the reciept and warranty packet above my head and proceed to tell everyone how they are treating a valued customer that just came back from overseas in a very loud voice,I have a new TV and a free 36 month parts or replacement warranty free of charge in no less than 20 minutes after I start my campaign.If you try to follow the rules these idiots have made for exchange and warranty they will rake you over the coals,put them on the spot publicly and they have no other recourse to take than shutting you up,by conceding.I've done this more than once,you bought boldy,so fight boldy for your right and make your demand.
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#13 of 31 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted January 16 2007 - 07:39 PM

Year before last my parents bought a 51" DLP HDTV from Best Buy and it was broken out of the box. The HDMI port did not work, the remote would not work from more than 2 or 3 feet away and the cooling fan was rubbing and making an awful noise. My mom called Best Buy and they told her they could not take the set back, it had to be serviced by a local shop first. She played along and the shop picked up the tv the next day and kept it almost 2 weeks without working on it. I finally convinced my mom to call BB corporate and complain, which she did and was told to return the tv to the store for a full refund. The next day, my parents picked the untouched tv up from the repair shop and returned it to the store where they were told they would be refunded the price of the tv minus a 15% restocking fee because the tv was out of it's box. WTF!?! It's broken! They (my parents) called bullshit and raised enough cain they were able to speak with the manager who let them swap the tv for another one, which is what should have happened in the first place.

#14 of 31 OFFLINE   kuliddar

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Posted January 16 2007 - 10:26 PM

I would go to the media about this. I'm not sure where in Canada you are but there are a lot of consumer protection shows in Quebec that tend to shakes things up and get results.

#15 of 31 OFFLINE   mech_eng9t7

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Posted January 17 2007 - 02:47 AM

I love the way she makes it sound like XXXXXX is going perform an in home diagnostic

quote: " . . . schedule a convenient time to come to your home to look
at your television."

When I called Gilda XXXXXXXXXX at 1-866-best-buy, she said

"I MUST ALLOW XXXXXX LTD TO TAKE MY TV AWAY". There is absolutely no way around that !!!!!!!


To tell you the truth, I really don't give a crap about the TV any more. I'm just glad I documented everything and got every best buy prick's name I've dealt with. I'm going to write a similar letter to the one I posted and just fire it out to any news station and newpaper in Canada that has an Email address and cc to every BB executive and big wig ( about 20 of them ). I'll also include links to every forum I posted this problem. Half a dozen so far.



#16 of 31 OFFLINE   Bill Cowmeadow

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Posted January 17 2007 - 03:34 AM

Go to your local tv station and ask them to do a consumer affairs bit. They'll make one call and you'll get a new TV. But first they'll put the story on the news. It's compelling stuff.

#17 of 31 OFFLINE   MACPUN

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Posted January 17 2007 - 04:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clinton McClure
Year before last my parents bought a 51" DLP HDTV from Best Buy and it was broken out of the box. The HDMI port did not work, the remote would not work from more than 2 or 3 feet away and the cooling fan was rubbing and making an awful noise. My mom called Best Buy and they told her they could not take the set back, it had to be serviced by a local shop first. She played along and the shop picked up the tv the next day and kept it almost 2 weeks without working on it. I finally convinced my mom to call BB corporate and complain, which she did and was told to return the tv to the store for a full refund. The next day, my parents picked the untouched tv up from the repair shop and returned it to the store where they were told they would be refunded the price of the tv minus a 15% restocking fee because the tv was out of it's box. WTF!?! It's broken! They (my parents) called bullshit and raised enough cain they were able to speak with the manager who let them swap the tv for another one, which is what should have happened in the first place.

They should never sign the deliver contract until they check out the TV in their house (out of the box). As soon they sign that they are saying that the TV is alright out of the box.

#18 of 31 OFFLINE   Clinton McClure

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Posted January 17 2007 - 07:02 PM

There was no deliver contract Mike. The set was not delivered. My parents brought the tv home (still boxed and unopen) with them in the back of their truck and I set it up for them that afternoon. I was with them when they loaded it at the store and helped my dad unload it at their house.

#19 of 31 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 18 2007 - 12:05 AM

Firstly, I feel for yah about your DLP TV.

Second, it's very good that you've documented everything, is rightly complaining loudly about the poor service and is sharing all this w/ us for everyone's benefit.

Just wish you got the good service you paid for. I too had an older HD RPTV serviced under BB's PSP over a year ago, but it was just a lower cost CRT RPTV probably w/ a lower cost PSP. In my case, it was a relatively simple in-home repair/replacement of 2 convergence controller chips that the 3rd party servicer billed BB for >$200 for ~1 hour of work plus parts -- and the net cost of the PSP minus that service repair was maybe ~$50 or so for me. The TV has been working perfectly fine in over a year since that repair -- though I did need to redo all the convergence/geometry myself -- and the PSP has just expired last month. So I guess I did ok w/ the BB PSP. When I bought it 4 years ago, I figured something would likely go wrong w/ these HD RPTVs as there were still plenty of reports of problems. I almost never buy extended warranties, but thought this purchase could use it provided that the upfront cost of the EW was <=15% of the purchase price, which it barely was. Usually, I just use a credit card that offers warranty extension if I want a little extra protection though I've never actually tried making such a claim w/ a credit card company.

Hopefully, your bad experience will help force BB and others to wise up w/ their EW servicing as I do believe EWs can still be worth it in many cases w/ these kinds of consumer electronics. It all depends on the risks involved and the specific cost ratio of the EW, IMHO, especially since most of these EWs are priced rather broadly w/out taking specific account for reliability of certain technologies, manufacturers, etc.

Finally, I suspect we should not let Samsung completely off the hook on this. From what I'm hearing, it sounds like Samsung should've extended their own warranty under the cirumstance since the exploded bulb likely led to the additional malfunctions. And if the exploding bulb problem is a relatively common occurance due to some flaw in the technology itself, Samsung should probably also provide out-of-warranty service for it, if it intends to be a good manufacturer who stands by its (expensive) products -- I do not have any idea if it's common enough, but that's something to consider nonetheless when evaluating Samsung's own support for its customers.

FWIW, what I describe above is something that a good camera maker like Nikon does in fact provide to its customers -- well, at least its prosumer (and of course, pro) customers -- though it might not always be the most willing to admit a design or manufacturing flaw, which is somewhat understandable in itself. Nikon's general policy seems to be to automatically extend warranty by 6 months as of the completed repair date (for their SLR gear) if a valid Nikon authorized repair was needed regardless of whether the repair was made while the original warranty was still in effect, ie. could be a normal warranty service or out-of-warranty paid service or free repair of a design/manufacturing flaw after original warranty expired.

For instance, I had my Nikon D70 DSLR repaired free of charge ~1/2 year after warranty expired for a well known, relatively common defect nicknamed GBLOD ("green blinking light of death") and received an extra 6 months of Nikon warranty coverage starting from the repair completion date. The extension was automatic w/out my asking -- and it's a well known practice of theirs. They also did routine checkups and cleanings as part of the repair even though it was out-of-warranty. Yeah, it did take Nikon a while -- maybe 2 months or so -- to admit that it had become a fairly common defect and then put out a notice on their web site for free repairs, including retroactive refunds of the small number of already paid repairs, but better a bit late than never. And their repair turnaround times are generally very good too though the initial flood of free GBLOD repairs did catch them off guard leading to longer turnaround times -- mine took 3-4 weeks while most others only took 1-2 weeks turnaround.

_Man_
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#20 of 31 OFFLINE   mech_eng9t7

mech_eng9t7

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Posted January 19 2007 - 05:55 AM

Apologize for the new thread. I just wanted the relevant people that this letter is addressed for to see it on the very first post.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Dear XXXXXXXXX,

By writing this letter I hope to inform the readers of your esteemed publication my ongoing dispute with retail giant Best Buy and what their “Performance Service Plan” did to my 61 inch HDTV. The events that transpired so far is nothing short of negligence on the part of Best Buy and I intend to share every detail of this with the readers here. For those of you currently holding one of these plans, I would suggest that you record every conversation that you have because you will be dealing with the most arrogant, deceitful and callous customer service department in the western hemisphere. To those of you who intend to include an extended warranty in their next purchase, I urge you to consider what I have written here. And No, the names shown here have not been changed to protect anyone.

This nightmare all began in November, 2005 when I chose to do business with a Best Buy store located in Whitby, ON, Canada. This transaction involved a 61 inch Samsung DLP high definition television and a 5 year Performance Service Plan. In total the invoice tallied just under $5500 with taxes included. During the final month of Samsung’s one year factory warranty, the lamp module on this unit exploded. I called Samsung Canada and they quickly dispatched a local technician within 48 hours of my call. It is worthy to note that it took the serviceman less than 10 minutes to replace the bulb and I was ecstatic with the quick service.

In contrast, a mere four weeks later, a phenomenon commonly referred to as left shadow creep appeared on the screen. This was an indication that the “Light Engine”, the heart of a DLP unit, was beginning to falter. This marks the point where Best Buy’s Performance Service Plan came into effect and it is no small coincidence that my customer experience plummets from there on.
Best Buy PSP contracted a highly questionable discount service company named XXXXX Ltd that came to transport my TV to their service facility using an unmarked passenger DODGE CARAVAN. Two words instantly came into my mind, “CON ARTISTS”. Who in their right mind would hire someone that uses such a vehicle and how did they intend to make my 61 inch HDTV fit. But as it turns out, these were the people that Best Buy entrusted my television to. I was informed by the 2 men in this vehicle that they needed to transport my Samsung back to their shop to conduct diagnostics. I immediately questioned this course of action because XXXXXX and Best Buy never inquired for specific details of the malfunction so why were they so certain diagnostics were needed. Secondly, I knew for a fact that light engine/colour wheel failure can easily be repaired in home. But as I expected, my request for a technician to perform an in-home repair was denied. So the 2 men proceed to wrap my 61 inch widescreen with a disgusting looking cloth and duct tape. Yes, I kid you not, DUCT TAPE. When this improvised covering was complete, it was then transferred into this passenger mini-van in a face down position.

The next morning, I contacted a very helpful gentleman, MR. Troy at Samsung Tech Support. He confirmed that my problem did not require diagnostics and should have been repaired in my home. He even went on to specify that this very common repair is allocated 30 to 45 minutes of labor charges for Samsung technicians. However, he also pointed out that XXXXXX was totally incompetent for transporting my TV in the face down position. He elaborated that this could lead to screen damage and serious problems to the delicate projection optics. So I quickly placed a call to 1-866-Best-Buy and insisted on speaking to the duty supervisor. A Mr. Steve takes my call and I request to have my TV transferred to another service company, or at the very minimum, convey my concerns to XXXXX to ensure that the same mini-van is not utilized during the return trip. Furthermore, I felt that an inspection was in order to rectify any damage that may have been generated from the face-down transport. Mr. Steve admits that he lacks any technical background on my type of television but he is certain that the repairs were being performed by a qualified technician. Ultimately, he takes no further action. So I insisted that he record my objections in the claim file and his subsequent refusal to take corrective action.

The following Monday I visit the store of purchase seeking their assistance. I speak to a Don Pameli, the night manager and inform him of how my television was being handled. His exact words were “Wait and See What Happens” in an attempt to trivialize my concerns. When I explained to him the repercussions of face-down transport, he finally agrees to contact XXXXXX to ensure any damage is corrected and that the mini-van is not used for the return trip. He then promised to contact me when he resolved this issue on my behalf. Needless to say, he failed to call XXXXX or myself.

On December, 21st, after all my efforts were in vain, the TV was returned to me in the same Dodge Caravan with damage and/or defects. When I powered the unit up, there were large blemishes covering the screen that are inherent to the improper handling I witnessed. In addition to this visual damage, I also noticed a minute whining noise and assumed it was just the cooling fan.
(Please feel free to visit: http://s119.photobuc...122/mech_eng9t7 for images and video of this damage. )
I immediately called 1-866-Best-Buy to inform them that their refusal to assist me during this ordeal has ruined my DLP. There are no apologies and I was totally astonished when they said that XXXXX will return the following week to remove my TV for another 2 weeks. When I demand that they use a service company that does not use a minivan, the reply was it must be XXXXX.

In a final bid to have my TV properly serviced, I visit the store to meet with Param Singh, the store manager. I inform Mr. Singh of my problem and he immediately apologizes on behalf of Best Buy and tells me what I have endured during the past few weeks is totally unacceptable. He then assures me that I will receive a replacement DLP unit or at the very minimum, a professional service call from a competent technician. He then promises to call me within 1 to 2 days when he finalized the details. At the end of the week when Mr. Singh has failed to contact me, I return to the store one final time. I ask the clerk at the service desk to page the GM for me. The clerk proceeds to call the Mr. Singh on his private line. Before crawling out from the safety of his office, I can immediately sense that Param is concern with this visit, so he orders the clerk to ask my name and reason for my visit. I provide both details and soon as Mr. Singh hears this, he immediately sends out Mr. Don Pameli, that weasel of a night manager. Mr. Pameli comes down and informs me that my problem is no longer the stores responsibility as instructed by Param Singh. Then Don has the audacity to lie directly in my face by saying he attempted to contact me after our initial meeting but couldn’t leave me any voice-mail because I did have that option on my phone. Unfortunately for him, he is unaware that both my home and office numbers that I provided have voice-mail so it is fair to reason that he didn’t call. To support my accusations further, both my home and office numbers also have call display, and there is no record of this alleged call.

As for Param Singh, I can not even imagine of anything more despicable and cowardly than hiding within the confines of his office while he forces a subordinate to break a pledge that he made with me. What a spineless little man.

Failing to resolve my problem at the store level, I decided to follow the corporate route that lead to the headquarters located in the US. I wrote a polite and detailed letter with the subjected title, “Insignificant Canadian Best Buy Customer Pleading For Intervention”. I then spammed the hierarchy of the Best Buy elite with this message. This included the CEO Brad Anderson and 20 to 30 additional executives, some of which had position titles that sounded made-up. To my surprise, that very evening I received a reply from Sheryl Ross a Senior Customer Support Consultant for Best Buy Canada in British Columbia. It appeared to me that someone within the Best Buy elite forwarded my message to her. The reply read that my case was one her priority list and she would investigate on my behalf. With that message, I finally felt I was beginning to make progress towards a resolution. However, when Ms. Ross completed her investigation, she concluded that XXXXXX Ltd MUST be permitted to take my television away for another 2 weeks. There is absolutely no other recourse for me.

To touch up on that “barely audible whining noise” that I made reference to earlier when XXXXXX Ltd returned my DLP on December 21st, it has become much louder and I can safely rule out the fan as the culprit. The video link should explain what I mean:

http://s119.photobuc....nt=WTF_DLP.flv.

The dark screen that appears half way through the video indicates switching video sources from the PC input to HDMI. It would normally take 1 to 2 seconds for this but as you can see this delay has increased to 10 seconds. The flashing and freezing that you see coincides with the whining noise. Also note that the video feed is no longer visible and the television is now useless. So it is very likely that the problems of improper transport that Mr. Troy from Samsung eluded to has occurred. As it stands, my television has been set aside in my living room and I have been forced to use a much older rear projection unit with “Burn In” damage. Ironically, I still owe $500 on my line of credit for the Samsung that now sits idle.

I hope everyone can sympathize with my refusal to relinquish my DLP unit. I would also like everyone to know that I hold the position of a professional engineer in the automotive industry. Unlike everyone I’ve spoken to at Best Buy, I have taken great care to use the moral conduct and ethical guidelines that govern the engineering profession with everything I have written. So on that note, I would like to impart one final message. During a candid interview, CEO of Best Buy Brad Anderson was quoted the following, “20 percent of all Best Buy customers are devils”. His context for the term devil is anyone that shops at Best Buy solely for the lowest price. So if the head of this retail Goliath expresses such ill will to its customers, it is fair to reason that this ideology is observed at the customer service level as well.

Thank you to all that have taken the time to read my ranting. Please feel free to forward my message to friends and family and it also wouldn’t hurt to convey my writing to your local media consumer watchdog. The publication office should have details of my contact information.





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