I purchased a Philips 55PP9502 55", High-definition projecting TV in June of 2003, from "Good Guys" in Northern California. I also purchased; as I have made a habit of purchasing with all electronic or "big ticket" items for over 20 years; a 5 year repair and replacement warranty. Being in the electronics industry, I am well aware of the costs, both in labor in parts, as well as the ever increasing occurences in which these costs seem to come into play these days.
Having had more than average experience with extended warranties as a consumer, as well as a retailer, has made me very thorough in my research, prior to making any warranty purchase. In the case in question, I passed over several less costly warranty plans, most of which were less than half the cost of the plan I finally decided on. The reasons behind my decision were first, if it became neccesary for the covered item to be replaced, I would recieve the full purchase price in trade or voucher/ refund, and second, the contract was covered through GE.
This meant if my TV ended up being un-repairable, the choice of replacement would still be left to me. Since I am a home theater and high-end audio and video systems designer and installer, I am not comfortable with my equipment decisions being left to service advisors whose sole pursuit is saving their company every penny possible. After reading the warranty literature from beginning to end, I deemed it smarter in the long run to pay a bit more on the warranty, to save a great deal more if it becomes needed.
Having made my decision, I paid out nearly $400 instead of $200 or so, on the GE warranty. Upon our television being delivered, I went to work performing a complete systems calibration, bring the TV to peak performance. Almost immediately I started to notice a number of troubling issues, the worst of which being the unit not holding convergence. This causes the picture to look blurry, and images to have bleeding or either red or blue, not lining up with each other.
Several times I performed complete convergence fine tuning, to have it start to drift anywhere from immediately after I finished, to a day or two. I stopped into the Good Guys location at which I had made my purchase shortly thereafter, and explained the problem, expressing my feeling of maybe just trading for a completely different set. This was not very appealing to the manager of the store, or myself, him because of course the hate to have any merchendise come back, and me because I did a great deal of research prior to my purchase.
The manager offered an acceptable solution. The store normally offered 30 days for returns or exchanges, however since this was the last unit the would be able to acquire, we would try and fix the problem first, and if unable to do so, the store would allow an exchange past the 30 time limit, if the problem was elusive past that time.
To shorten an already long story, the Good Guys ended up replacing every single component in the TV except the lens mechanisms. However, during this period of time, the chain of stores which numbered around 100 if memory serves, closed their doors. Apparently the store manager forgot to mention this was happening, when I would still have been able to make an exchange, and could have had a new model, and a brand new $400 extended warranty still for use.
Prior to Good Guys closing for good, the TV was taken to a service center so it could be monitored, following everything being replaced again. During this time, I ended up having to purchase another television, since they took the only one I had, and decided to keep it for 3 months. So I was out another $800 as well.
Following the 3 months the unit was in the shop, we received it back with a claim of everything finally working. This turned out to not only be incorrect, the TV ended up being worse than it had been before it went in the shop. Upon being notified of this, the Good Guys service center deemed the unit un-repairable, and sent the notice on up the line for processing. After not hearing anything for much too long, I finally contacted the warranty company to inquire about replacement, and was told they had no record of a request, or any paperwork, showing my unit had been worked on at all.
I asked them to contact the Good Guys service center, and was told they were unable to do so, as they were no longer in business. No matter how much I debated with them, and oblivious to the fact that every repair call had gone through them, and the resulting service calls were set up by them, GE insisted they had no record at all of any servicing. I then tried to find out how to get copies of the paperwork I had to them, and was told regardless of my supposed paperwork, I would have to start all over again.
GE went ahead and set up a service call, like it was the first time they had ever heard a thing about a problem, and sent a small repair facility the request. Several weeks later, I was finally contacted and an appointment was set up with a company I believe was called "Mikes TV". I am unsure about the name, as they wouldn't leave any paperwork with me, promising to send me a copy of their report when they returned to the shop.
Of course they promised to send a copy to GE as well. The repairman knew less about the TV than I did, which wasn't particularly inspiring. He had no clue how to fix the problem, and claimed he needed to contact Philips to find out how to proceed, and would set up another service call when they heard back.
After several months of not hearing a word, I called GE yet again, and set up another service call. I informed them about the previous call, and the serious lack of performance, and complete lack of a call back, and was told I would just have to try again.
They ended up sending the exact same clueless technician, who couldn't have duplicated the prior service call any better, if he was going off a script. He (honestly) scratched his head, and looked completely puzzled, and informed me he would need to contact Philips, etc. I reminded him he had told me that several months earlier, and was met with the same puzzled look, and then a complete lack of recognition, and finally an assurance that I would hear back from him soon.
This same scenario occured three or four times, after which I finally told GE they needed to find another alternative. I reminded them that I had already been through going on years, or living with a very expensive door stop, and it was starting to look like I was just being strung along. When I finished venting, I was put on hold and then miraculously, when the service advisor took me off hold, he had found another authorized service center in my area.
Two days after the latest request for service, I received a call from "Precision TV", and an appointment was made. When the technician arrived, he ended up being the original technician that had worked for the Good Guys service center. He was flabbergasted that the unit hadn't been replaced, and assured me that the proper request had been made. He went on to tell me that the head of the service center the unit had been shipped to, as well as one of the in house technicians that worked on it there, had also been employed by Precision TV, and would remember the unit.
During his visit, he went ahead and serviced the TV again, so that everything was by the book, and then told me to call if, or more appropriately when, the unit fell out of convergence. I told him if he just wanted to wait a minute, he could see that happen in the same visit. However he felt it wise to give it a day or two just in case. He promised that as soon as I let him know it was still not working, he would talk to the owner of his company, and explain the situation to him, and ask him to speak with GE directly.
Finally with only weeks to go before the warranty ran out, and after nearly five years of not being able to use a very expensive TV, resulting in the need to purchase another TV in the meantime, Precision TV faxed GE the proper documentation. After Precision TV faxed the same paperwork two more times, and a number of follow up phone calls, between myself and both the repair company and GE, I verified that GE received the fax.
I was told I should hear from GE in 48 to 72 hours. After over a week, and with only two weeks remaining on the warranty, I called GE back, and was told by "John", that the replacement had been approved. Since Good Guys was no longer in business, GE informed me they would be sending a check. I was told I needed to fax a letter of intent, stating I would be using the money received to replace the TV.
Once GE received the letter, they had been authorized to send me a check for... $599.95. I had paid $1949.99 plus tax for the TV, and GE was offering me $599.95. When I told the John that was completely unacceptable, he rudely informed me in no uncertain terms, that I would not receive a penny more. I explained to John that when I purchased the warranty, I made sure that if a replacement was called for, I would receive the full purchase price either towards a trade, or in the form of a check or voucher.
He tried to tell me that TV's depreciate, and did I honestly think my TV would be worth the same now, as when I purchased it? When I asked to speak to someone that could actually attempt to make this right, John told there was no one else I could talk to. When I persisted, John finally told me a could send a letter to Ray Graft, who is the VP of consumer relations. I told John it seemed like GE was trying to run the warranty out, since obviously any delay on their part would move closer to that happening. John finally gave me a fax number that should eventually be forwarded to Ray. I let John know I would be pulling out my warranty literature, and calling back, to which he again rudely told me nothing I did or said would make any difference.
Upon digging out my literature, I found the area on replacement to say, "If a replacement Voucher is issued to you, its value will be equal to the original purchase price of the covered product. If the replacement voucher option is authorized, it will be redeemable only at the retail location where you purchased your original covered product."
I the called GE back, and asked for John. Apparently John didn't want to speak with me, so I was given to "Sheniada". After reading the appropraite section to her, she told me that GE took over my contract from Good Guys, so they didn't have to honor anything they didn't choose to honor. At that point I told her one of the reasons I purchased the warranty I did, was because it was a GE warranty.
I then proceeded to read her the proof, in several different forms, in the literature. Sheniada still insisted that GE could interpret the contract anyway they chose to. However she did ask me to fax a copy of the literature and my receipt. I found that odd, since it was their literature, and I knew for a fact that my receipt had been faxed at the time of purchase, however I obliged, and told her I would wait to hear from them.
Five days later, "Arlene" left a message to let me know that they weren't giving me a "Voucher", they were giving me a check, so they didn't have to honor the contract, oh and it was a Good Guys contract, so they didn't have to honor it anyway. She went on to say $599.95 is all I was going to get, so I needed to fax a letter of intent, so they could send the check.
In the interum I had dug even deeper, and found the last piece of paperwork I had received from the Good Guys store, prior to them closing their doors. It was a notification that even though they were closing their doors, that GE would still be serving the customers whom had purchased their ESP contracts. The letter went on to say the only change would be a new toll free number, that went directly to GE, instead of the current number which routed through the Good Guys switchboard, before being passed on. The final and most important item on the letter stated, "All Terms and Conditions for your ESP contract are fully valid and will remain intact."
After the call from Arlene, it was apparent I would get nowhere continuing with the normal channels. I went ahead and faxed everything to Ray Graft, along with a letter explaining what had happened to that point. In the letter I apoligized for having to trouble him, but that I was unable to have the terms of the contract fulfilled through his regular "service advisors", not mentioning the inappropriateness of their titles, and told him I was more than ready to be done with this entire mess, and hoped he saw to it that things were handled as the contract stated.
A few days later, I received another call, not from Ray, but from another service advisor named "Shirlene" who he had apparently kicked it back to. She first tried to con me into believing they were completely in their rights to give me $599.95, at which point I went through every point listed in this letter, to dispute that nonsense. She finally said that they had found a 50" Samsung TV that had the same features as my TV, (apparently she didn't notice the missing 5 inches of screen size) that was on sale for $1499.95 at Circuit City, and that was what they would offer me.
I told her since I was tired of dealing with them, and hadn't been able to sit down with an attorney yet, I would accept that for the time being. Since she hadn't mentioned anything about having to sign a thing saying the matter was closed, I was comfortable at least getting enough for a smaller TV in hand, before they tried anything else. She told me the letter of intent I had faxed had been written incorrectly, and I needed to send another, and as soon as it was received, I she would mail out a check allowing me to purchase the TV mentioned.
A week later, on June 28th, 2008, a check finally arrived. Apparently Shirlene forgot you have to pay tax when you purchase something, which was strange considering she mailed the check to a state in which sales tax is charged. On the check it says, "This check is in full payment of the account stated on voucher which accompanies it and the payee accepts it as such by endorsement".
Needless to say, the check has not been endorsed.
If it wasn't apparent in my letter, I will no longer be purchasing, nor will I be selling, GE products. Since I have been dealing with this problem, a friend and past sales associate of mine informed me that the chain he works for, which owns 96 stores, has dropped GE warranties as their Extended Warranty provider, because of so many complaints of the same types of problems.
Northern California, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on General Electric