Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Black Friday -- Buyer Beware!

I want to give you some tips for Black Friday. A day where low prices trump quality. On Saturday, I went to a home to fix an Element TV purchased on Black Friday - 2012. This reminded me of several other issues I have with Black Friday.

Several years ago, in an effort to boost sales of Windows Vista, Staples had a $250 laptop. It ran terrible with only 1GB of RAM in it for Windows Vista. Good news for me, I did a ton of memory upgrades.

Target had a "deal" on Polaroid TVs. They were stacked on pallets. I watched the news as early morning shoppers fought over these TV as they hit the ground. When they broke, they had one unit inside to fix, BUT the warehouse got all of the parts messed up. I went to one business 3 times where the wrong part was there every time. I watched has he ripped the TV from the wall and threw it into the dumpster out in back of his bar. Yup, another Black Friday deal.

Samsung sold TVs that required the tech to re-solder capacitors to the TV. Unacceptable. I refused to do those.

Be aware that some models are "experiments" and really just not ready for prime time. Several years ago they had a TV that wasn't really ready to be released and it only came with a 90 day warranty. You guessed it....on day 91, that's when the problems started.

Last year, HyVee sold Toshiba TVs. They gave them away or sold them through a payroll deduction to their employees. I fixed a lot of those in the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area. Another Black Friday episode.

SO, what do you do????

1. Get the TV home and open it up and use it. Be sure you are clear on the return policy as most are 30 days. NOW, the last several years, Black Friday was on the 26th or 27th...... Christmas Eve/Day is the 24th and 25th. This would be MORE than 30 days. There's nothing more disappointing than a present that doesn't work on Christmas morning AND you can't return it because the 30 days has elapsed.

2. Find out how long the warranty is and buy more. If you pay by credit card, your card company MAY have an extended warranty provision. Get it.

3. Register your TV online right away as they all have websites.

4. IF you have problems, call in right away and get it logged and find out when the the repair will happen. If this is your 2nd or 3rd repair, CALMLY tell them you have had enough and want a new TV.

5. SAVE THE BOX!!! If a TV will be replaced, a common loophole is "oh, we can't do anything if you don't have the box."

6. Be nice to the guy (me) who comes to do the warranty repair. It's not their fault it broke, they didn't build the TV, they didn't call in the issue, so if the wrong parts are sent, it's not their fault. Please take the TV off of the wall if you want it fixed. TV warranty repair people cannot take the TV off of any wall if it is above 5 feet. Also, have a comforter on a table, so the TV can be fixed on a flat padded surface. The repair should take no longer than an hour. If it's longer than an hour, be prepared to have chocolate chip cookies on hand. (Ha, just kidding!)

The choice is yours, but don't just be tempted by price alone.