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Help me pay way too much to have a TV fixed. Or not.
December 14, 2006 6:57 PM   Subscribe

My friend flung a Wii remote into my new 40" LCD TV during a heated session of Wii Sports Bowling. No, really.

The LCD panel now has giant cracks in it, and the entire left side is ruined. The brand is Samsung. Obviously, this isn't covered under warranty. I called 1-800-SAMSUNG to find out where I could take it to have the LCD panel replaced, but the representative told me that she wasn't allowed to give out the name or location of the repair center near me. I was told to look on samsungparts.com or their website for more info. Knowing I'd just gotten the shaft, I tried the websites anyway. samsungparts.com is useless (duh) and Samsung's main website, after I fill in the details to have it locate a service center near me, tells me to call 1-800-SAMSUNG.

So what do I do now? Call and yell at them? Or would it be easier/cheaper to just buy a new TV? It cost about $1900 after shipping. I imagine the LCD panel accounts for most of the price. The model is LN-S4095D, in case that matters.
posted by tumult to Technology (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Oops, I almost forgot. I live in the north bay area – San Rafael, California, 94901.
posted by tumult at 7:00 PM on December 14, 2006


Wait - why isn't the allowed to tell you where their authorized repair centers are? This seems like a mistake. If I were you, I'd call back and not hang up until you get that information. It's not like you're asking for something complicated, after all, or even remotely abnormal.
posted by odinsdream at 7:00 PM on December 14, 2006


I think your next resource is the store where you bought it. Ask them for help. (And you have my sympathy. Ouch!)
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:01 PM on December 14, 2006


1. The LCD is pretty much the TV. Repair for you will proably mean replacement. Warranty work may be handled by the retail shop you bought your TV from rather than samsung.

2. Check with your renter's or homeowner's insurance policy to see if they will cover it.

3. Call Nintendo. They may not be obliged to do anything, but these cases of wiimotes destroying expensive TVs are becomming a serious black eye for them. They may try to do something.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:06 PM on December 14, 2006


Also, you may want to look into replacing your 40" LCD with a 45-50" (don't know if they come as small as 40") LCD rear-projection TV. In those TVs, the expensive light and LCD element sit at the bottom of the TV. The "screen" should be much less expensive to replace, should your wii attack a second time.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2006


Upon receipt of an RMA number, complete the information below and ship returns to the following address:

J & J International, Inc.
Samsungparts.com
311 Route 46 W, Suite E
Fairfield, NJ 07004

For all other return inquiries, please contact CUSTOMER SERVICE at 1-973-276-9077 or e-mail at help@samsungparts.com
J & J International, Inc.
311 Route 46 W, Suite E
Fairfield, NJ 07004
Ph. (800) 627-4368
Fx. (973) 276-9078
www.samsungparts.com

link

Try calling them yet?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 7:09 PM on December 14, 2006


Did the wrist strap on the wii remote break?
posted by amarynth at 7:13 PM on December 14, 2006


odinsdream: you'd think so, right? I pressed her on it, and she remained adamant. I imagine I would have to call back and throw a pretty big fit to get anything. Stuff like this really makes me hate being a consumer and dealing with large companies.

Steven: I bought it from electronicexpress.com through Amazon. I didn't get an extended warranty or anything. Do you think contacting them would actually get me somewhere? I imagine they would just refer me to Samsung's support.

b1tr0t: 1. I figured it was most of the price, though all of the silicon and other stuff must cost something. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it was 'totaled' though. 2. Not covered, already checked. College student (who is now doubly broke) living in a crappy apartment. 3. It gets worse, I'm afraid the fault lies with us. My friend neglected to wear the strap on the Wii remote. Eugh.
posted by tumult at 7:16 PM on December 14, 2006


In my friend's defense, though (not like I really want to, the meanie) I have first-generation, weak-strapped Wiimotes. He didn't just let go of the controller – his hand and the remote struck the back of my couch (he was standing behind it) when he was letting the ball loose, and the controller was wrenched from his hand with enough force to damage the controller, the couch, and the TV. Who knows if the strap would have stopped it.

You can't blame him for getting so into it, though. I mean, he'd just bowled a turkey and was on the last frame!..
posted by tumult at 7:23 PM on December 14, 2006


If the person on the phone can't help you, ask for her/his boss. Escalation, with a friendly, patient attitude usually works for me.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:24 PM on December 14, 2006


Well, then you're fucked. Sorry.

If it helps, look at it this way: Every December, some company fires 1,000 people; and some family's house burns down on Christmas Eve; and some toddler's father dies after a heart attack on Christmas morning. All that happened to you was, your friend busted your 40-inch television while playing video games. Someday you'll laugh.

And kudos for not strangling your friend — or rather, for not asking, "My friend broke my TV. Can I sue him?" It's like, when somebody rear-ends you in traffic, and your first question to him upon climbing out of your car is, "Hey, are you OK?" It speaks well of your character.
posted by cribcage at 7:28 PM on December 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Are you sure the LCD itself is cracked, rather than a sheet of glass/plastic in front of it?
posted by aramaic at 7:41 PM on December 14, 2006




Ask for the droid's boss, and record the whole call, a la verizonmath ;)
posted by Myself at 7:56 PM on December 14, 2006


Tumult, that's pretty neat looking, I have to admit. And if you got it mailorder, then you're right that they'd just tell you to call Samsung.

I suspect it's totaled. The LCD is probably 85% of the total parts cost, and the labor to replace it plus the cost of a replacement LCD would probably be greater than the purchase price of a new unit.

I suspect you're screwed. I would hope that your buddy would at least kick in a few dollars towards a replacement.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2006


Nope, he's a bum. But thanks anyway :) It's just a TV.
posted by tumult at 8:32 PM on December 14, 2006


Wow Tumult. I'm sorry your big, pretty televison is broken, and I'm even sorrier you can't enjoy your Wii for a bit, but I am super jealous of the images your screen now seems to display effortlessly.

If it's the slightest bit of solace, I think it's just beautiful.
posted by tip120 at 8:42 PM on December 14, 2006


Nope, he's a bum. But thanks anyway :) It's just a TV.

On the positive side, your friend now owes you beer for the rest of his life.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:49 PM on December 14, 2006


I can't imagine the obligatory "oh shit" face after tossing a Wii remote into a friends 40" LCD TV.
posted by SirStan at 8:56 PM on December 14, 2006


I can't imagine the obligatory "oh shit" face after tossing a Wii remote into a friends 40" LCD TV.

It happened a little bit after midnight. We both just stood there silently, looking stunned. At a complete loss for words and not knowing what to do, I sat down at my computer, opening a browser window to my homepage, Google – and I was greeted with Edvard Munchs' The Scream.

I'll never forget that one.
posted by tumult at 9:04 PM on December 14, 2006 [6 favorites]


I had something similar happen with my 40" Sony LCD. My kid ( 7years old) woke me up on my birthday (!) and explained that during a lightsaber battle with his brother, they'd accidentally smacked my (3 week old) tv.

"what happened?" I asked
"something colorful" he replied.
(Sometimes the hardest part of parenting is keeping a straight face. )

Yes- replacing the lcd is more than the cost of a new machine. When I caved and replaced the unit, the sympathetic sales guy asked if I wanted the extended warranty.
"does it cover a broken screen?"
"nope"
"then I don't want it"

I keep fantasizing about hanging a piece of laminated glass in front of it.

Good luck!
posted by asavage at 9:05 PM on December 14, 2006 [4 favorites]


tumult, I don't have anything helpful to say, but I'm glad to see you're taking it in stride.

It's great to see somebody who doesn't let their possessions own them, even when those possessions are new, expensive and quite entertaining.

Before reading asavage's post I found myself wondering if I should get a sheet of laminated glass to put in front of my LCD once I pick up a WII. Great minds think alike, and so do ours.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 9:30 PM on December 14, 2006


Wow. Nothing to add 'cept that I've never appreciated my wii-proof old-skool CRT more until now.
posted by SpecialK at 9:46 PM on December 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Does your homeowners or rental insurance cover this perhaps? Worth looking into it. . .

HAVE to wear the strap in Wii Sports. Not so much with Zelda or Madden, but definitely with Wii Sports.

(did he get the 4th strike?)
posted by visual mechanic at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2006


not knowing what to do, I sat down at my computer, opening a browser window to my homepage, Google – and I was greeted with Edvard Munchs' The Scream.

I'll never forget that one.


You can dine out on that story more than once, if it's any consolation.
posted by dhartung at 11:02 PM on December 14, 2006


If it helps, Nintendo will replace the strap.
posted by No Mutant Enemy at 3:00 AM on December 15, 2006


That screen looks neat. You should sell it to an artist who could use something like that. You won't get much money but you'll help an artist, keep the TV out of landfill (I don't know about where you live, but we have to pay to throw away a TV here), and have a little money for its replacement.
posted by ardgedee at 3:14 AM on December 15, 2006


How many times have you called Samsung? Often when you get one person who tells you no, you can just call back, likely getting different rep, and try again. Sometimes after two or three additional calls you find the rep who takes pity on you and gives you what you need.
posted by caddis at 7:01 AM on December 15, 2006


Ebay the TV as a piece of modern art (do the colors change and move or are the stripes static?)

Laugh at your friend, because with the contact point that far to the left he would have maybe got three pins down on the last frame.
posted by iurodivii at 7:58 AM on December 15, 2006


If you don't mind a bit of public embarrassment, you can probably coax a local news crew to bring out their cameras for a 3-minute segment. "The Flying Wiis" have become a national story, and a local news director might rather interview you than recycle Jaana Baker's story (currently on CNN's front page).

I only suggest it because it's not the sort of opportunity you get every day; and as you seem to have a sense of humor about the situation, it could be fun.
posted by cribcage at 8:11 AM on December 15, 2006


Re: filing a claim on your insurance. State Farm's Renter's and Homeowner's policies have the following restrictions:
SECTION 1, LOSSES NOT INSURED

Subsection 2: We do not insure under any coverage for any loss consisting of one or more of the items below. Further, we do not insure for loss described in paragraph 1, immediately above regardless of whether one or more of the following : (a) directly or indirectly cause, contribute to or aggravate teh loss; or (b) occur before, at the same time, or after the loss or any other cause of the loss:

A. conduct, act, failure to act, or decision of any person, group, organization, or government body whether inentional, wrongful, negligent, or without fault;
So, your friend's "act" means you can't claim it on homeowner's. I'd assume that most other insurance companies have the same restrictions, but my all means I'd say it's a good idea to at least call and ask.

Don't actually file the claim until you have confirmation that there is a possibility of fulfillment. Claim frequency can have a negative effect on your future premiums.
posted by PandemicSoul at 8:21 AM on December 15, 2006


See above, in re: this. He knows it's not covered.
posted by cribcage at 9:15 AM on December 15, 2006


It really depends what kind of home owner's insurance you have. I have the "stupid proof" homeowners insurance that says if I drop something or spill something or do something otherwise dumb it's still covered (after a deductible of course). Haven't had to file a claim yet though (knock on wood).
posted by Kimberly at 10:29 AM on December 15, 2006


Here's another bit of the aforementioned media frenzy-- today's NYT (regn reqd). In relevant part:
Nintendo on Friday said it has begun a voluntarily replacement program for the wrist straps that are supposed to keep the controllers attached to a player. Thicker straps should mean fewer flying controllers, said Beth Llewelyn, a spokeswoman for Nintendo of America.

The new straps are free, she said, but the company is not committing to replacing other household items — like the handful of televisions that have reportedly been smashed by unleashed controllers.

“We’re handling those on a case-by-case basis,” Ms. Llewelyn said. She said that reports of broken straps have been relatively few; they have broken in fewer than 1/100th of one percent of cases, she said. “There’s no problem if you just hold onto the controller,” she noted.
Who knows what that means; but it couldn't hurt to try them, or the media, or to try them in the media.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:49 PM on December 15, 2006


The AP's on the case.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:49 PM on December 17, 2006


my wii-proof old-skool CRT more until now.

I'm not sure why you think your glass television is any less likely to be damaged by a hard, fast-moving object colliding with it than his glass television.
posted by odinsdream at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2006


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