TV

Where’s my replacement TV from Wal-Mart?

Sumner/Shutterstock
Sumner/Shutterstock
Latonya Holloway’s TV stopped working. Good thing she bought the extended warranty from Wal-Mart. Or is it?

Question: I bought a 24-inch Element Electronics TV from Wal-Mart with an extended warranty a year ago. Last month, it stopped working and I couldn’t get a picture on it. I contacted Wal-Mart, and a representative told me to contact Element, because it was still under its manufacturer’s warranty.

I contacted Element and told them the problem. They told me to fax them the proof of purchase. I did. I received a case number and was told to ship the TV to them, which I did.

I’ve been in contact with Element since then to find out about the status of my TV. I’ve called at least 20 times and I’ve had the same conversation over and over. They ask for my tracking number and they promise to send me a TV.
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How to fix any customer service problem yourself

Panos3/Shutterstock
Panos3/Shutterstock
The most satisfying cases I handle as a consumer advocate aren’t the ones where I step in to save the day. It’s the times when you, the consumers, fix a problem without any outside help.

In other words, it’s when the system works.

Take what happened to Stacey Larsen’s subscription-TV service. She signed up last December, only to discover that it didn’t work as advertised. Her TV was plagued by numerous technical glitches that often made it impossible to watch the programs she wanted.

“We have had technician visits on Dec. 24 and 28, January 12, March 13 and May 21,” she explained. “We have had three sets of equipment swapped out over a six-month period and are still having a problem.”
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They canceled my favorite cable networks — do they owe me?

David Jackson/Shutterstock
David Jackson/Shutterstock

When Rogers Cable removes two of Ed Kurys’s favorite channels from his cable package, he believes the company is violating his contract. But is it?

Question: I need your help with my cable company, Rogers. It recently removed BBC and Spike TV channels from my cable package.

One of the main reasons that I contracted with Rogers for cable many years ago was that it included the BBC, the only worthwhile news channel on TV today.

Isn’t this a violation of contract law? A valid contract consists of an offer, an acceptance and payment. In this case, when Rogers offered the cable package and I accepted and paid for the service, a valid contract was entered into between Rogers and me. Rogers has breached this contract when it arbitrarily removed the BBC from the package.
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Don’t be fooled by fake electronics: 5 tips

Jeka84/Shutterstock
Jeka84/Shutterstock
Ever had a “duh!” moment that you regretted for years to come?

Here’s one: you’re a college freshman living with your grandmother for the summer. You’re running a few errands in town with a friend and you pull into the parking lot of a grocery store. Some guy approaches and offers to sell you a “new” TV, “still in the box”, for just $40.

Ah, your own TV! Wouldn’t that be great? No more sharing the TV with grandma. Can you have a look at it, you ask?

“No, no,” the guy whispers. “Not here.”
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What makes you happiest? Your TV — and here’s why

Traj4/Shutterstock
Traj4/Shutterstock
Jessica Beeman paid $779 for her 50-inch TV, a purchase she was pleased with, until one day “it just stopped” working. And then she wasn’t.

“We didn’t do anything to it,” she says. “It won’t turn on. The red power button light blinks over and over.”

At the time, I had no idea how rare her complaint was — and how fleeting. I asked her to send me the documentation on the busted household appliance. But within hours, Beeman reported back.

“They fixed it,” she told me. “All for free.”
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The mystery of the reappearing $400 cancellation fee

Traj4/Shutterstock
Traj4/Shutterstock
Question: We signed up for a two-year contract with DirecTV back in the fall of 2011. At about the same time, DirecTV released new equipment called the Genie. I called up to see if we could get the new equipment and was told we could. There was no mention of a contract extension for the new equipment.

In January of this year, we were looking to cut some costs and we looked at lowering our DirecTV package to save some money. I called customer service and asked to get switched to a less expensive package. I also asked if my new customer credits would be affected and they said they would not be affected if I changed programming. So as a result, I went through with the change.
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Guess who’s shilling for the TSA

Land of Smile/Shutterstock
Land of Smile/Shutterstock

Wanna insult a reporter? There’s no easier way than accusing him or her of being a shill for the other side, of churning out propaganda instead of covering a subject.

And that’s especially true when it comes to the TSA.

But consider the following “exclusive” story from a local ABC affiliate, which aired a few weeks ago.

It was an earnest report about the imminent dangers of a terrorist weapon being detonated on a plane. Explosives “experts” at Camp Pendleton in California rigged shoes and laptop computers and blew them up in front of a group of TSA trainees. They even let a reporter incinerate one of the props from a safe distance.
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Mom’s Element doesn’t work — can you help her?

Ensuper/Shutterstock
Ensuper/Shutterstock
Question: My mother recently purchased an Element flatscreen TV at Wal-Mart, along with a two-year extended warranty. I came to visit and noticed lines going up and down in the center of the television. Mom never noticed them because she is 83.

I immediately called the Element TV service telephone number where they gave me a report number and asked me to send to them photos of the lines in the TV. I sent the information and a representative called my mother and told her the TV was defective.

Element wanted her to ship the TV to them but first to give them a credit card with $300 approval to ship us a TV and then we ship them the defective TV. Element would in turn send us a new TV.
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When did the warranty on my TV expire? We can’t agree!

Question: Two years ago, we purchased a Vizio television based on the excellent reviews it received and affordable price. One week before the warranty expired, a vertical red line appeared on the screen. We called customer service and were walked through the process of discharging the static build up.
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New at On Your Side: cable TV companies

Our fearless researchers have added another category to our growing customer service wiki: cable TV companies.

For the last year, On Your Side has become a trusted resource of travel industry contacts. But with the publication of my upcoming book, Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals, I’m expanding the site to include other companies.

This blog, meanwhile, will begin featuring general customer service tips and cases from other industries.
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The honest guest’s guide to free hotel amenities

Where’s the line?

When you’re staying at a hotel, is it OK to pocket the bottles of shampoo and lotion? How about the magazines? Bathrobes? Furniture?

It depends on the traveler. A recent Travelocity survey found 86 percent of hotel guests admitted to taking toiletries, like oatmeal soap and lavender body gel. About three percent said they swiped a bathrobe or slippers, and one percent said they stole dishes, silverware, electronics and — I’m not making this up — Bibles.
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