Buying HDTV online - BEWARE! My Panasonic Fiasco

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Marc Alexander, Jul 6, 2001.

  1. Marc Alexander

    Marc Alexander Stunt Coordinator

    Mar 3, 1999
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    With all the excitement over the new 47" Panny, I thought this would be a good time inform you all of my experience (It pains me to think about it, let alone type about it).
    I would like all of you to be wary of Panasonic sets. Be sure you purchase from a local retailer who will accept a return of the set if needed. DO NOT BUY ONLINE! Panasonic's warranty support is the worst I've ever experienced (I am have been a customer support engineer for a few years now and work with many other support departments. Ironically, Panasonic is one of my customers). Saving a few hundred bucks is not worth the security of good customer service (let alone the cost of a $3000 door stop).
    Because I purchased the set online (PT-56WXF95a from One-Call), my hands were tied when the set died after 3 days. Panasonic support was completely unresponisive to my complaints of incompetent techs and scheduling problems. The support manager (Steve Sluka) was even less responsive than his subjects once I excalated my issues. After three months and no repair I requested a refund. After disputing the charge with One-Call/GEGAF credit, three months later I was informed that Panasonic was going to replace the TV. I refused to keep a TV in my house with such poor service response. It took 6 months and 2 weeks before the money was refunded.
    I purchased a Mitsubishi 65807 from a local Hi-End shop who matched Sears 10% off sale price. I am actually glad the Panny died because the Mits is simply a better TV. I could go into details why but this post is not about what is the better TV (I did like the Panny), it's about make wise purchases.
    If you are about to purchase a Panny, please make sure it is from someone who will stand behind the sale. Don't count on Panasonic to. There are quite a few similar stories to mine here:
    PanasonicPT56WXF95 · The HDTV-ready Panasonic PT-56WXF95 owners group
  2. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

    Mar 16, 2000
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    Calgary, Alberta
    Real Name:
    Michael Chen
    While not downplaying the importance of what you are saying ... there are stories all over the place about people having bad support from every major manufacturer out there.
    If you want proof ... visit the Mits group at the Spot ... For Toshiba ... here ... there ... I personally have had to go through hell with Pioneer and I bought the set locally.
    People pretty much figure the pros and cons of buying online. The fact that a set fails after 3 days is not One Call's fault. Stuff happens.
    If you go online ... prepare to have your equipment serviced and not replaced.
    Trade-offs. What is it worth to you?
    Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
  3. Pete K

    Pete K Agent

    Mar 31, 2001
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    Know the feeling.
    The authorized service techs here in Temple, Texas had no clue; they even admitted to having to "call another tech for help". Then when they ordered parts "that didn't fix it and we have no idea how long it will take us".
    A call to RCA service to complain a few weeks ago--this after the service center had the TV for 40 days or more-- yielded "upstairs will get back with you". The next day I got a call and a promise that a replacement TV would be shipped within 7 to 10 days.
    Nothing yet. Guess I'll call my friendly Thomson Multi Media rep next week and see if she can find out if it even shipped; if not I may demand my money back too.
    As much as I hate it I could pick up a 36" standard Wega at the PX or other RCA with guide plus gold at BB or CC and while that would be disappointing because it's not widescreen, hey I could afford to buy a road bike to go along with my mtbike with the difference.
    Just hope if it comes to that it doesn't take 6 months. And hope the 2d set set dies right away if it's going to so I don't go through the hassle of getting an extended warranty and then trying to get a prorated refund for that.
    Sigh--consumer electronics---almost as fussy as microsoft products.
  4. Kishu

    Kishu Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 4, 2000
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    I completely agree with Michael on this- sometimes you are lucky, sometimes you are not (wrt any of major brands) wrt customer support.
    This is where buying from a retail store holds advantages since they would have replaced your TV set if it died within 3 days, or you were not happy within 30 days. You pay a premium on price but get better support.
  5. Eric Scott

    Eric Scott Second Unit

    Oct 4, 2000
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    I sometimes visit a site called who warns consumers at the site that the best price may not include the best service.
    But I was one of lucky ones because when I bought my 56H80 and HT system I got the best price and haven't needed any service.

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