I realize this story is going to be a significant departure from crime and punishment.
That aside, it is a story about triumph, forcing yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and saving a little cash, and who can’t get behind that?
In June of 2008 I said goodbye to my 27″ Panasonic television and made the giant man-leap to a 52″ Samsung LCD HD television with surround sound. Total price, $3,551.46 with taxes included.
(I should point out I had my Panasonic TV for over fifteen (15) years and it was in perfect working condition when I put it on the curb for the Cities giveaway weekend.)
Before making the leap to HD I was in complete denial. I was a non-believer and didn’t buy into all the hype surrounding the new technology. That is, until I actually left the comfort of my living room and visited the Future Shop. Once I was there I was forced to admit, there was no comparison, the HD experience was nothing short of amazing.
After three (3) years with our new big screen television, life in happy-ville was about to dramatically change.
It turns out certain models of Samsung television sets purchased between 2006 – 2008 experienced delayed starts with symptomatic “clicking” sounds when the units were powered up. At first, the units would “click” two or three times before they powered up but over time the “clicking” takes longer and the televisions eventually burn out.
The problem was so wide-spread that some estimates indicated over 7.5 million television sets were plagued by the defect.
To Samsung’s credit, the company offered a “one time free fix” to affected customers.
In July of 2011, I took advantage of the offer and had my set repaired. As I watched the repairman dissecting my television I asked him how much the repair would cost if Samsung hadn’t agreed to cover the cost. “You couldn’t even get me in your door for under $200,” he smugly replied.
“Yikes,” I thought to myself.
Once the television was repaired we were back to HD paradise watching NHL, NFL, MMA and all the other major sporting events we so enjoy on the big screen.
The honeymoon ended about three (3) weeks ago.
“Click, click, click,” and here we go again.
Two and a half years after the “one time free repair” and we’re back in unhappy land.
A quick call to Samsung only proved to heighten my frustration. The unsympathetic customer service representative sounded like a recording as he kept reiterating, “It was a one time free service repair.” Like I didn’t understand what “one time” meant.
My argument; a “one time” service repair that doesn’t fix the problem is simply not acceptable. Samsung sold me a $3,500 piece of faulty equipment and I expected them to get behind their product and either fix or replace the expensive piece of junk that was sitting in my living room.
“It was a “one time” repair,” he repeated.
“So you’re telling me I’m going to have to spend $250 every two and a half years or so to have my television fixed because you sold me a defective product, is that what you’re telling me,” I asked.
“It was a “one time” repair,” he repeated.
It seemed to me I was running out of options. I asked my unsympathetic friend if it made any sense for me to continue putting money into my defective television when I could buy a brand new 55″ HD TV at Future Shop for $1,000.
His silence was deafening.
The call ended after I politely suggested large companies like Samsung should get behind their products and how their failure to do so will eventually cost them when enough people, like me, get tired of getting ripped off.
After making several phone enquiries I determined the cost of the repair was likely going to run us north of $200 – $250. At this point I believed it was time to cut my losses, hiring a repairman was no longer an option.
Never one to surrender, I continued my research and found an informative YouTube video posted by a woman using the handle, “Kellirthompson.” To give you an idea regarding the scope of the problem, the video has recorded 387,997 views. The nine (9) minute video clearly demonstrated how to complete the repair by identifying and replacing the damaged capacitors causing the problem. The poster mentions several times that she is, “Just a girl,” who has no experience with electronics, capacitors or soldering irons.
(I did notice that she had very nice gel nails by the way.)
The video inspired me to try to do the repair myself even though I am, “Just a guy,” with no aptitude or experience when it comes to repairing electronics. In fact, I don’t own a soldering iron and have never actually held one in my hands.
After taking the back off my television I noticed two capacitors that appeared to be bulging and leaking fluid. I can do this I thought, not really I thought, but I was going to try anyway. After purchasing a soldering iron ($22.99), solder ($7.49) and two capacitors ($3.39) I was off to the races.
After soldering off the faulty capacitors and installing the new ones, I put the television back together and hit the power button. As my wife and I stood in frightful silence, the look of dread and anticipation etched on our faces, we were both overjoyed when the TV fired up just like it did the day we bought it.
All for the price of $33.87 cents and about thirty minutes of our time.
A couple of days ago I was sharing this story with an old friend who told me he experienced the same problem with his television. That conversation was the clincher and inspiration enough for me to write this story.
If you’ve experienced a similar problem with your television set do not dismay. Take the challenge to do the repair yourself, if I can do it, believe me, anybody can.
Thank you Kellirthompson for being a remarkable woman with the power and ability to inspire the “not so handy guys”of the world like me.
Thank you Samsung, for absolutely nothing.