Rich Warren: Customer has been in a tussle with LG

Rich Warren: Customer has been in a tussle with LG

Eighty-three days. That's how long our reader Linda has waited for LG to repair her expensive OLED TV. Ever since the screen started turning green, she has tangled with LG about warranty service. The company has consistently given her the runaround. Here's Linda's log of interactions with LG:

Nov. 7: Filed claim (under warranty).

Nov. 10: Thode TV Services here after LG confirmed work order.

Dec. 19: Thode here and took screen picture.

Dec. 20: LG, per representative James, will replace and will send email confirmation.

Dec. 22: No email confirmation. Per representative Lily, new claim filed and told to send receipt.

Jan. 2: Per representative Mary at LG, TV is not eligible for replacement, requested manager.

Jan. 2: Supervisor Tyler confirmed receipt was received and will replace.

Jan. 4: Per representative Willie at LG in Madison, Ala., will replace screen panel only.

Jan. 22: Brian from Thode called this morning to advise part he ordered is on back order. No way of knowing availability.

Just to be clear, Thode, the local service agency, is blameless, since it only can do what is authorized by LG. The staff at Thode probably is as frustrated as Linda.

LG's treatment of this customer is totally unacceptable. I strongly suggest readers not purchase any LG TV until the company honors its warranty commitments on a timely basis.

In 1984, I sent a premium Sony cassette deck to the company's Chicago-area service facility. After a month without contact from Sony, I inquired about my cassette deck. The company "lost" it. After another month, a deck finally returned in more-or-less working order. I wrote for a major Chicago newspaper at the time and shared the story with my readers. This caused a significant upheaval at Sony, which completely revamped its service procedures. I truly doubt we'll be that fortunate with LG. Perhaps if all readers of this column mail it to LG, Linda might finally be able to watch her premium TV.

The other big story dominating electronics news over the past month involves Apple's arrogance. Even if you own an Android phone, you've probably heard about Apple's battery issues.

Lithium ion batteries wear out. Depending on how you charge the battery, usage patterns and ambient temperature, batteries in every phone wear out, gradually losing their ability to maintain a full charge.

Apple promises 500 complete charge cycles for iPhone batteries. That means the batteries will recharge to at least 80 percent. If you fully recharge every other day, your phone battery will survive about three years.

New iterations of a phone's operating system install new features and enhancements. Apple and Google optimize their upgraded/updated operating systems for the latest hardware with fresh batteries. Older phones struggle with a heavier burden.

Apple failed to inform users of these issues and offer a voluntary operating system adjustment to cope with aging batteries. The user should determine the trade-off between performance, stability and battery life.

Acknowledging its public relations disaster, Apple finally offered to replace batteries on its most recent models for $29 rather than the previous $79, plus $7 for shipping and handling. The reduced price excludes models more than about three years old.

Those of you who own Apple stock appreciate the inflated battery replacement prices, but in reality, the company probably makes a profit even at $29.

Many independent service facilities offer Apple battery replacement from $30 to $60. These independent facilities cannot buy replacement batteries in the millions, so their costs are higher. You also may not receive a battery from a certified Apple supplier. Even Apple stores fail to replace batteries on the spot and require up to a week.

We've lived with planned obsolescence for decades, but considering perfectly good products as disposable is unconscionable. How would you feel if your car became unserviceable after three years and slowed down weekly so that after four years, your top speed was 30 mph?

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at hifiguy@mchsi.com.

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GLG wrote on January 29, 2018 at 5:01 pm

I too had an LG plasma screen TV a few years ago that had the "green" screen. I bought it at Best Buy and called them for service, They had B &C TV in Decatur come to my home and repair it, They replaced the power supply and it worked for about a month then it went "green" I had to take it to B & C and it took about 7 weeks to get another power supply!  I have nothing but good things to say about B & C but NO More LG for me!