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Buying an OLED online. BUYER BEWARE!! (1 Viewer)

Timothy E

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I bought an OLED 4K TV from an online vendor, and it turned into a nightmare. I will relate the end of the story first, and then go back to the beginning. Some stories are told better that way. Has everyone seen Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard? 70+ years later spoiler alert, Sunset Boulevard begins with William Holden floating face down in a swimming pool as we see the ending of the story before Bill Holden's character starts telling his story from the beginning.

The end of this story is that I received a damaged OLED TV from a seller. For now, I will not disclose the name of the seller. I intend to reveal the seller's name in the final chapter of my story. It is even possible that some of our members have heard of this seller. For now, let us call him "VERN." It remains possible that VERN will become reasonable and make things right with me before I finish sharing my story. If so, I will let you readers know that the breach of contract has been resolved amicably, and VERN may remain anonymous.

VERN promised me that the TV would be insured for its full value. These are VERN's actual words: "Yes, we insure the delivery for the full value. "

VERN said that my payment included insurance for up to the full value of the TV set when I paid him. After the TV set arrived with a bent screen and a cracked frame with the inner components visible through the crack at the bottom, I contacted VERN to start an insurance claim. VERN was unresponsive to my request to make an insurance claim, so the burden fell on me to pursue the claim with the shipping company. After months of jumping through hoops with the freight carrier, I learned to my dismay that VERN had only insured the TV for a value of $57.30! (I paid a lot more than this!)

After I learned that the shipment had not been insured for the full value, I contacted VERN for an explanation. VERN did not respond to me again, for months, until I contacted him again and informed VERN that I intend to pursue all of my legal options. This prompted VERN to respond. VERN's exact words, in part, were: " I would cover the insurance I honestly do not remember that or see anything like that in our communications... I do not feel responsible to pay any more on this transaction."

After VERN claimed that he did not remember promising to insure for the full value, I sent him the message in VERN's own words: "Yes, we insure the delivery for the full value. "

VERN then responded: "Not sure what you are looking for but if a $100 works for you I'll mail you a check."

I let VERN know that $100 is inadequate for the damage to the TV, and I offered him a couple of options to make things right. This is part of what I wrote to VERN: "I propose that you take back your bashed up TV with the bent screen and give me a full refund..."

VERN responded: "Unquestionably you purchased [the TV] far less than its actual value." VERN then provided me with links to 2 different ebay auctions in which the seller is asking a price that is slightly more than what I paid VERN for the smaller version of my set.
VERN wrote: "The above two examples are not worth even 1/4 of the [TV} you have."
(By mathematical calculation, VERN is saying that the damaged TV I received is still worth 4 times more than I paid for it, even in its damaged condition. If true, I do not know why VERN is unwilling to take back his damaged TV, give me a refund of $4,200, and sell it himself for more than 4 times what I paid, for a handsome profit.)

VERN's final words, in pertinent part, were: "In an effort to settle this I'm now making my final offer of $200."

The TV is functional, with the exception that it cannot stream wirelessly without freezing up the screen every few minutes. The bent screen is not noticeable when viewing the screen head-on, but is noticeable from the side in photographs that I have taken. I do not believe it has much of any resale value to me due to the severe damage to the lower frame. The lower frame is actually on a hinge, so it may be flipped in one direction for mounting on a tabletop, and flipped in the other direction to be flush against the screen on a wall mount.

When I attempted to set the hinge for resting on my entertainment center, the screen would not remain upright, but settled to an approximate 20 degree angle leaning away from the viewer, when looking head-on at the screen. I was successful in flipping the hinge in the other direction for a wall mount, but the lower frame is so bent that it was a real struggle to align the frame with the screen in a way that allowed the screw holes to line up with the wall mount. Once mounted, the screen is not exactly parallel with the sound bar at the bottom, but hangs at a slight angle so that the bottom right corner of the screen hangs noticeably lower over the sound bar than the lower left corner of the screen. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that frame is bent now at an angle to the screen.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?

END CHAPTER 1 - TO BE CONTINUED
 

Dick

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Contact the Better Business Bureau of the state or city from wence this dude operates. File a formal complaint, by snail mail if necessary. If you paid the with a customer-friendly credit card, that bank may well protect you from this, which sounds like fraud to me. I wouldn't spend too mjuch more time arguing with this con man jackass.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’m so sorry this happened, Tim. I was seriously considering a purchase from this retailer and after reading about your experience I will look to shop elsewhere. Based on you experience I’d rather pay more through a big box retailer with a reputation for easy returns even if that drives the price up a little bit.
 

John Dirk

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Respectfully, I don't know why you've decided to present this as a saga. I can't think of a good reason why the seller should remain anonymous. Although there appears to be an inside track where some here already know who it is, others [like me] do not and could be conceivably making a huge mistake at this very moment.

With that out of the way, here is what I did when I had a somewhat similar experience with Paypal and UPS. I won't bore you with the details but the bottom line is you'll have to shame this retailer and/or carrier into behaving honorably. In my case the item was a gorgeous pair of tower speakers that UPS destroyed. I'd originally sold them using Paypal and personally delivered them to the buyer. I offered to wait while he demo'd them but he declined. Two weeks later he filed a claim with Paypal saying the speakers were damaged. I knew they weren't damaged when I delivered them. When I pressed him he revealed the amp he was using to drive them and it was rated well below the speakers minimum power requirements.

I offered to work with him to get a new mid driver from the manufacturer, even agreeing to absorb the cost, but Paypal insisted I return his entire purchase price of $3500.00, so, being honorable myself, I reluctantly did. When I received the speakers back they had been poorly packed and thus suffered significant cabinet damage to the point of being virtually worthless. I relentlessly filed appeals with UPS and Paypal, having documented every step of the transaction. I even threatened to contact the CEO of UPS, sharing her name and contact information with the person I spoke to. It took a full year but I eventually settled with both Paypal and UPS, receiving a full refund and an apology from UPS.

This retailer needs to know you mean business and you're not going anywhere until they act in good faith.

Hang in there. You'll win if you're persistent enough.
 

DaveF

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I wish we could hear the retailer’s perspective on grossly under-insuring the shipment; why the $57.30 insurance value for when shipping something worth $4000+?

Even on B-Stock Items, I’d expect a retailer, especially one that’s been doing this for decades, to be prepared to deal with the shipping damage, and to always suitable insurance with the shippers they routinely use.

At a normal retailer, there’s no “all sales final” policy. Even with B-Stock and used items there’s typically a return policy perhaps with a re-stocking fee. Was it stated up front this was a “no guarantee, no return, caveat emptor, this sale is final” for the used TV?

I think @John Dirk is giving good advice: go grind on the shipping company as well. Why are they damaging expensive things in transit?

This whole thing is discouraging and confusing. I’m sorry Tim is having a tough time of it. No one wants to spend big and wind up with more frustration and hassle as a result.
 

dpippel

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An unfortunate turn of events to be sure. Sorry to hear it, Tim! Something to keep in mind is that shipping insurance protects the SHIPPER, not the recipient of the package. Any damage claim must be filed by the shipper, and if this business chose to only insure the item for $57.30 that is THEIR problem. They undervalued the insurance coverage on the display, perhaps to save some money. They rolled the dice, and it's their loss, not yours.

If it were me and I was getting this kind of response for such a high-dollar purchase, I'd get the credit card bank (provided that's how payment was made) involved right away and dispute the charge. Many times they're very, very effective in getting problems like this resolved.
 

John Dirk

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Something to keep in mind is that shipping insurance protects the SHIPPER, not the recipient of the package. Any damage claim must be filed by the shipper, and if this business chose to only insure the item for $57.30 that is THEIR problem.

That's absolutely true and it caused me huge headaches. In my case the package was [fortunately] fully insured but since it was an adversarial transaction, the shipper and I weren't in contact. Ultimately I was successful in convincing UPS to force the local UPS store that handled the shipment to work with me but it wasn't at all easy or straightforward. It's sad but in situations like this the guilty parties often just hope you'll become discouraged and give up.

Another observation here is $57.30 is such a strange and arbitrary amount. I believe most carriers have default insurance exceeding this amount.
 

Glenn C.

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Respectfully, I don't know why you've decided to present this as a saga. I can't think of a good reason why the seller should remain anonymous. Although there appears to be an inside track where some here already know who it is, others [like me] do not and could be conceivably making a huge mistake at this very moment.
There are only so many on-line dealers selling OLED displays. I don't think it's a major retailer like Amazon, Crutchfield or BB because they would make it right so it has to be a smaller outfit. I hope it's not the retailer I'm thinking of because they have a reputation on forums like this one as being great to deal with. This particular issue has caused me to rethink my high opinion of them, if it is, who I think it is.
 

Lord Dalek

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Those smaller retailers can be a real pain. I wouldn't trust them with expensive electronics one bit.
 

compson

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If you paid with a credit card, I would have thought that you would have immediately disputed the charge. If it’s too late for that, you might consider filing a lawsuit in your home county. The amount in dispute may well be under the cap for small claims court, so you could file it yourself, and the seller would have to decide whether to incur the expense of appearing to defend the claim. If you obtained a judgment, you’d then have the challenge of enforcing it in another state (assuming the seller is in another state). There may be legal issues that aren’t apparent and support the seller’s low-ball offer. I suggest contacting a local attorney.
 

DaveF

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Those smaller retailers can be a real pain. I wouldn't trust them with expensive electronics one bit.
I’ve purchased major electronics from such smaller vendors without issue. These seems likely an unusual situation.

I think there is major disconnect between buyer and seller on expectations on the terms of sale and insurance on the used TV.
 

Timothy E

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I would like to thank everyone here for their support and helpful comments and suggestions.

I'm so sorry this has happened Tim and I regret I was no help in getting it resolved.

I’m so sorry this happened, Tim. I was seriously considering a purchase from this retailer and after reading about your experience I will look to shop elsewhere. Based on you experience I’d rather pay more through a big box retailer with a reputation for easy returns even if that drives the price up a little bit.

Sam and Josh, I really appreciate that. It is great to have friends like you! We have such a great camaraderie in HTF, and the friendships that we have developed online, and in person with a few of you, are relationships to last a lifetime.
 

Timothy E

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Contact the Better Business Bureau of the state or city from wence this dude operates. File a formal complaint, by snail mail if necessary. If you paid the with a customer-friendly credit card, that bank may well protect you from this, which sounds like fraud to me. I wouldn't spend too mjuch more time arguing with this con man jackass.

This is an excellent suggestion, and one that I will most likely pursue.
 

Timothy E

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An unfortunate turn of events to be sure. Sorry to hear it, Tim! Something to keep in mind is that shipping insurance protects the SHIPPER, not the recipient of the package. Any damage claim must be filed by the shipper, and if this business chose to only insure the item for $57.30 that is THEIR problem. They undervalued the insurance coverage on the display, perhaps to save some money. They rolled the dice, and it's their loss, not yours.

If it were me and I was getting this kind of response for such a high-dollar purchase, I'd get the credit card bank (provided that's how payment was made) involved right away and dispute the charge. Many times they're very, very effective in getting problems like this resolved.

Thank you for the great advice. I agree with everything you say, and you will see this come into play in the next chapter to be posted.
 

Timothy E

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If you paid with a credit card, I would have thought that you would have immediately disputed the charge. If it’s too late for that, you might consider filing a lawsuit in your home county. The amount in dispute may well be under the cap for small claims court, so you could file it yourself, and the seller would have to decide whether to incur the expense of appearing to defend the claim. If you obtained a judgment, you’d then have the challenge of enforcing it in another state (assuming the seller is in another state). There may be legal issues that aren’t apparent and support the seller’s low-ball offer. I suggest contacting a local attorney.
This is also a great idea that is well worth it! Thank you!
 

JohnRice

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I think there is major disconnect between buyer and seller on expectations on the terms of sale and insurance on the used TV.
The thing is, used or new, when someone pays $xxxx.xx for an item that is shipped, then it needs to be insured for that amount. I see no room for argument on that issue.

I deal with shipping every day, and while I'm not shipping $4K TVs, the shipments can still be in the range of $1K. Often it's something like $150 and with UPS there is automatic $100 insurance. With a $150 order, I don't pay for additional insurance, knowing that in the unlikely situation the order is lost or damaged, I'll get $100 from UPS and replace the entire $150 order. That simply makes business sense. I sometimes send a $1K order that's only going 15 miles. I still insure it, because it's flat-out stupid not to.
 

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