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I always use stories from my own experience when I teach my customer service classes.  From the waiter in Amalfi who wouldn't come near us or even look at us once we pointed out we hadn't ordered an (ugh) pineapple pizza to the car salesman who drove off with our teenage daughter and didn't bring her back for half an hour (she was fine, but his boss wrote us a letter asking why we didn't buy a car from his company and refused to take my phone calls when I tried to tell him why), life is full of customer service lapses.

The world of television repair may be the most fully stocked with customer service horror stories.  Here is my tale of woe populated entirely by very nice people who did not make the rules or set up the system that causes them to offer the service they do.

     Nancy, Oklahoma City

PS  The Toshiba plasma we bought to replace the Philips died in 2009.  Our full replacement warranty with Best Buy netted us a brand new Samsung LCD priced at half what we'd spent on the Toshiba (and valued at $100 less than the Best Buy salesman told us he would give us.  Sigh.




read "The Goodbye Lie"



Television Repair, a Saga and a Lament in Calendar Form

By Nancy Kamp


September 2, 2002:  We purchased a Panasonic Television and DVD-VCR combo with 36 month extended service plan from Circuit City

It took me months and many phone calls to get the $50 rebate from Circuit City.


February 5, 2004:  We purchased a Philips Television from CompUSA (home of "unsurpassed service and support" according to the folder that accompanied our salesman's business card) along with a 4 year warranty and delivery.

It took a trip back to CompUSA to get the rebate for their delivery charge.


September 7 2005:  Our Panasonic TV began to lose the cable signal, sometimes after only a few moments, sometimes after several minutes of programming. 

I called the repair people only to discover our extended service plan had just expired.  We dithered and then,


September 13, 2005:  Our Philips TV flashed when turned on and died.


September 15, 2005:  Our Philips TV was picked up by Audio Dimensions, the local service arm for Philips.

We decided to keep on using the Panasonic TV until Audio Dimensions returned the Philips TV since the Panasonic TV still played DVDs perfectly. 


October 27, 2005:  After many phone calls to the very nice staff at Audio Dimensions, Robert said Philips had decided not to total our Philips TV, but wanted it repaired instead.  He said he could not repair the TV until he received the parts from Philips.


October 28, 2005:  We called Newport TV Service to repair what we thought (what do we know?) was a faulty input jack on the Panasonic TV.  The Newport technician came to our home and installed a new RF connector on the tuner for $144.95.


November  4, 2005:  The Panasonic TV failed again.  The Newport TV tech came out and installed a new tuner for an additional $112.91.


November 12, 2005:  Audio Dimensions delivered a loaner TV at no charge to us.  Robert was still waiting for the parts for our television from Philips.


November 26, 2005:  With a customer service class coming up, I began this article.


December 1, 2005:  Audio Dimensions still doesn't have the necessary part, but I just received a letter from Philips urging me to buy a picture tube warranty.

This is the e-mail I sent to the Philips' North American CEO:

   Dear Mr. Zeven,

I was the proud owner of a 46" Philips HD Rear Projection Television until last September when it died. 2 1/2 months later it sits in the authorized repair shop waiting for a part.

Today I received a sales letter asking me to buy a 5 year warranty for the picture tube. I hesitate to purchase this warranty as I still have another year of the original extended warranty I purchased from CompUSA with the set. And of course, I don't actually have the set.

Please advise.

Nancy Kamp

PS I have posted my tale of woe on my website at <http://www.greenlightwrite.com/tvtroubles.htm>.


December 5, 2005:  I got a response from Philips:

   Dear Ms Kamp,

I acknowledge receipt of you [sic] note dated 1 December.

I regret the inconvenience caused with the projection tv and its delayed

I am copying our Consumer Service Manager, and he or one of his staff will
be in touch with you to inform you how we will proceed.


Paul Zeven
Philips North America Region

Later that afternoon, a representative from Philips called.  She said she would look into things. 


December 8, 2005:  Veronica, the Philips rep, said the part our TV needs won't be available until Christmas.

Then she offered me a new TV, but when I said yes, she discovered she couldn't replace our current model.

She is getting back to me soon.


December 16, 2005:  Veronica has offered us a new TV - she suggests we buy the extended warranty.


December 30, 2005:  Just received another Philip's solicitation to purchase an extended warranty on the dead TV.  There is no phone number or e-mail address so I might ask if this would be transferable to the shiny new TV that is due to arrive today.  (Veronica said it would take take two weeks to set things up.)

Perhaps, she meant ttttwwwooo weeks, or who knows?  I have no way to contact her either.


January 2, 2006:  After much waiting for someone to notice my existence, I talked with a manager at CompUSA, who seemed to be trying to steer me off the floor (so other customers wouldn't hear my rant?).  He introduced me to Steven, the person who knew about TV warranties.

Steven said the usual procedure is to give people a voucher to replace dead TVs, and that if I would supply the details, he would look into our TV situation.  I did.


January 9, 2006:  Dead silence from all parties.

I called Steven at CompUSA and left a message of distress with another staffer.  The staffer left a message on our machine:

Audio Dimensions has received a TV on our behalf.  They are looking at it (poking, prodding, who knows?), and will be contacting us real soon to make delivery arrangements.  


January 10, 2006:  A delivery person called from Audio Dimensions.  They have a TV for us.  It will come Saturday.


January 14, 2006:  We actually got a new television today after four months.  It does not have all the features of the old dead TV.  And, of course, there's the little matter of the extended warranty on the old one I haven't quite paid for. 

Oh, oh.  Do I buy a warranty on the new TV?  Do I have a choice since there are no phone numbers on any of this material? 


January 19, 2006:  The saga continues.

Once the novelty of a working television wore off, I had a few questions, warranty questions:

  • Will we get warranty credit for the lost months?  (I'm thinking FAT CHANCE.)

  • Should I buy the warranty offered with the new set's paperwork?  (Not just yes, hell yes.)

  • What about the year plus remaining on the old warranty?  (I would like to think CompUsa will make this good.  I may be naive.)

I had no one to contact for warranty advice except Paul Zeven, so I sent him another e-mail.  He put me in touch with Veronica again.  She said Philips was not responsible for a CompUSA warranty.  I will call them.

But in the meantime the new remote went out.  Philips service said this sort of thing sometimes happens.  Marcus promised a new remote would arrive next week (two business days).

I am holding my breath.


January 26, 2006:  It's a good thing we got the old remote to work by unplugging the TV and plugging it in again, because the remote Marcus promised has never arrived.

Of course, the analog color remains abysmal and the sound went out again this morning, but ...

We called Philips' service, and they directed us to Audio Dimensions.  That nice gentleman is coming out tomorrow to take a look at our piece of #$@#.

Yesterday, I stopped into CompUSA to ask Stephen if the warranty from the old TV carried over to the new TV.  He will be e-mailing a response within two days.  Fortunately, I have already sent a check to Philips to purchase a warranty on the new TV as per Veronica's advice, but you know, I'm beginning to lose faith in the system.


January 27, 2006:  Today's e-mail to Veronica and to Paul Zeven, CEO of Philips North America.

Dear Veronica,

I am shocked and saddened to report that over the last week, the new Philips TV has ceased certain operating functions like picture quality and sound.

Audio Dimensions has said they will come to our home to check out the problems today, but it is almost 2:00 here and I'm beginning to lose hope.

I have contacted CompUSA about the viability of the warranty on the old set, and I have also made a payment to the Philips warranty folks for the new set.

What exactly is the next step here?

Nancy Kamp


Veronica of Philips called, and Audio Dimensions said he would try to be here by 5:00. 

The nice gentleman from Audio Dimensions did come.  He didn't know why we had a problem with color on analog channels, but he thought we had blown an audio input thingie.

They will pick up the TV tomorrow and keep it for a week (or so).


February 5, 2006:  I haven't heard a word about the warranty status from CompUsa, but Cary called Audio Dimensions yesterday.  They said a part had been ordered to fix our replacement TV.  Guess who will not be watching the Super Bowl on his very own television?


February 7, 2006:  Stephen of CompUSA never got back to me, but when I called him, he directed me to their warranty department.  After a phone conversation with Brock, I found our CompUSA warranty will overlap for a year with the one we are purchasing from Philips on the new (and still in the shop) television because they [Philips] "can't manipulate the system," though, of course, they would if they could.  Of course.  We will be paying Philips $249.96 for a warranty that will unilaterally cover our new television from 2/15/2008 to 1/4/2009.  That's not even a year.

It somehow gives me comfort to know that if we are robbed of the new TV, the poor thieves will have little joy in their loot.


February 15, 2006:  It's been over five months and still no television.  Audio Dimensions reports the part necessary to fix the replacement TV is backordered until April.  We despair, but I have sent an e-mail to Veronica of Philips.


March 2, 2006:  A settlement is the works.  Details when it happens.

In the meantime, we have received a refund of the payment of the warranty on the new Philips TV - thanks to Veronica.

And just now, the door bell rang to announce the arrival of the replacement remote we requested back in January, the one that was supposed to take only three business days to arrive.  Perhaps Veronica will allow me to give it to the nice gentleman at Audio Dimensions when he comes to pick up his loaner TV.  (She did.)


March 20, 2006:  We got a check from Philips!  It covers the full price we paid to CompUSA for the set - not including tax, delivery or cost of the original warranty.

We will choose our next television based on the manufacturer's reputation for customer service.


The End






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TV Tips from a Professional Repairman

  • Do not buy a TV-DVD-VCR combo.  They contain three types of equipment that could go bad.

  • Brands like Toshiba and Mitsubishi are the easiest to repair.








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