I Love to Hate Toshiba

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The beginning of the story

This story begins with me moving. I had just graduated college, got a good job, and moved to a nice big place with my girlfriend. The problem was, my current TV fit well into my old apartment, but wouldn't be nearly big enough for the new place.

So I saved up. I did some research. I waited for a couple of weeks to find a good deal. Finally, I found a coupon at Best Buy for 20% off all clearance TV's. I was estatic! The items were already clearanced, so they were cheap, PLUS 20% off? Amazing!

I talked to a Best Buy sales guy, and they explained that they just had to make room for the new models. Figuring that last seasons models would still function correctly, I thought I was getting a deal of a lifetime.

I ended up with a Toshiba 46HM95. After the extended service plan and all that stuff I ended up paying about $1900. For a 46" 720P TV with great speakers, it was a pretty good deal.

The TV was delivered, and it looked FANTASTIC. Really amazing picture. Especially for a projection TV. The only problem was the fan noise coming from the back of the TV was a bit louder than I had expected. I knew there were fans, but these fans were LOUD. To the point where, even at loud volumes, you sometimes couldn't hear what was being said.

(Another point to be made is that there is also a fan running 24/7! You *cannot* turn it off. It is clearly audible across the room or the house. This didn't bug me that much, but it will come up later)

Anyway, I called Toshiba to ask about the fan. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Hi. I have a 46HM95 TV and was wondering how loud the fan is supposed to be"
Toshiba: "If you have the TV at about volume 14 you shouldn't hear the fans."
Me: "Oh. If I have the TV on volume 20 the TV and the fans are about the same volume."
Toshiba: "Oh yeah they are definitely too loud. That happens. It should be easy to fix. We contract repairs in your area out to Stereo Component Service. They should be able to fix it real easily."
Me: "Great! Thanks a bunch!"

I was terribly excited. My TV would become perfect! Apparently I am very naive.

I got in touch with Stereo Component Service (SCS), and they explained that since my TV was so big, in order to properly diagnose and fix the problem, they would have to bring my TV into their shop for about a week. Obviously I liked my TV, and it was still watchable, but it is better to have a working TV for 9 years and 51 weeks, than a noisy TV for 10 years.

This is where shit started to hit the fan.

The man that came to pick up our TV was clearly nuts. He barely spoke english, would agree with just about anything I said, and kept mentioning how he needed to get the TV back to his "LAB-OR-A-TORY". I don't know what kind of experiments he was performing, but if he was going to fix it, I suppose I could deal. He also mentioned it would be "More one week, definitely less two". I helped him carry it into his super sketchy minivan and he was off (after potentially having a flat tire).

The next day (a tuesday) a different man with a thick accent calls me and tells me there is nothing wrong with my TV. I tell him there is, and he agrees to check into it some more. I hear nothing until I call back that Friday. They told me that they ordered new fans on Wednesday and that it would take 5-7 business days to arrive.

Again, a bummer, but at this point what could I do? I wait til the 7th business day (the next friday), and call them up. The man I spoke to was confused as to why they weren't in, and told me that sometimes stuff gets delayed an extra day and to call in that monday.

Again, a bummer. I wanted my TV that weekend, but I guess I was being optimistic. I call back that monday and they me that the parts are backordered.

I flip out.

Somehow it took this inept group of people 9 business days to let me know that these fans were backordered. They told me, several times, that the parts were on order. Yet when they were supposed to arrive, they suddenly become "back ordered". Someone lied to someone. And I was pissed.

I called up Toshiba. I ask them how long the parts will be back ordered. I was told it would take them 3 to 5 business days to FIGURE OUT HOW LONG THEY ARE BACKORDERED.

I flip out again.

For the life of me still, I cannot fathom how it would take that long to figure out an approximate length of backorder. That is besides the point as they magically "found" some fans, and fedex'd it off to SCS.

At this point they had my television for FOUR WEEKS. Best Buy has a 30 day return policy on TVs, so I had surpassed that by a couple of weeks. I was stuck with this TV now. It had better work.

By the following tuesday I had my TV back. The same crazy man came to deliver it. There was a lot of traffic and a lawnmower outside so I let him go before I could really hear the TV again. When he was gone and everything quieted down, I realized that it was EXACTLY the same as when it left my house four weeks earlier. Nothing had changed.

What followed was a flurry of aggrivating and annoyed phone calls to Toshiba. Some highlights included:

Me: "I just want it to work. They did nothing."
Toshiba: "I'm sorry about that sir. We can put you in contact with a different repair service."
Me: "Will they fix it."
Toshiba: "They should be able to do that without a problem"
Me: "But you would say that about SCS. They didn't do anything."
Toshiba: "I'm sorry about that. The other place can fix it."
Me: "Why would I trust your system? I went through it for 4 weeks and nothing happened!"
Toshiba: "But the system works!"
Me: "But it doesn't!!!! AGGGHHH! I just want it fixed!"


Me: "Why is there a fan running 24/7? I can really hear it. It is very distracting"
Toshiba: "It is a silent fan. It is needed to keep the bulbs cool."
Me: "But the TV is off for 10 hours. Why does it still need to run?"
Toshiba: "There is still current running through the circuits."
Me: "But that isn't hard to fix. I actually know something about that.... "
Toshiba: "Well it has to keep the whole unit cool"
Me: "So... if I unplug my TV is it in danger of breaking?"
Toshiba: "That should be fine"

Anyway, I agree to have this other repair place look at it - under the conditions that they do it in my house. The TV still works - the fan is just noisy.

They came and ordered a new "light engine" about a week and a half ago.


At 10:45 PM, Blogger talksmart said...

Hello..really curious of your site (and also the title) while searching blogfriends in blogger. Great job, though!


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