MIAMI (CBS4) – TV on! TV off! That’s what most of us expect a new TV to do. Phil Heermance certainly did when he bought his 40-inch Samsung LCD TV in 2009.

“About a-year-and-a-half into owning the TV, it started acting up,” Heermance told CBS4′ Chief Consumer Investigator Al Sunshine.

He told Sunshine that it acted erratic… not always coming on… or taking long periods to power up. That was the same complaint thousands of Samsung owners described on the Internet. Their “nearly new” Samsung TV…” was taking 30-seconds, then 30-minutes, or even longer to come on.

“So you try to turn it on and what happened after a while?” asked Sunshine.

“It would just not come on at all,” replied Heermance.

Because his manufacturers warranty had expired, Heermance figured Samsung wouldn’t help… so he paid $150 to get it fixed on his own.

TV repairman, Cliff Van Allen, showed CBS4 the tiny part causing so many Samsung TV power  failures. It’s called a “capacitor.” Basically, it’s a power storage device.

“It’s not because it’s an inferior product. It’s because the voltage (on the capacitor) is not enough to do the job, said Van Allen, who owns Video Cleaning Repair in Miami.

Rosemary’s shop has also seen a wave of Samsung capacitor problems.

“The power boards are made with capacitors that don’t hold up,” Rosemary said.

Capacitors are only a $3 to $6 part. So cheap, “Fix It Youself” videos are even on YouTube

“It seemed to be a common problem and I was surprised to hear that,” said Heermance, who owns other Samsung products.

Class Action Lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey, California and Oklahoma. Although Samsung wouldn’t tell us how many TVs are affected… CBS4 Investigates obtained an Oklahoma Court document from a hearing on February 1, 2012. It quotes Samsung’s attorney, Phillip G. Whaley, telling the court…

“Well, I think there’ll be as many as seven-and-a-half million of them out there. So it could be a big class.” (class action lawsuit).

A Samsung statement sent to CBS4 said…

“A small percentage of certain models of Samsung televisions have experienced performance issues caused by a component called a capacitor.  Since originally confirming this issue in early 2010, Samsung has voluntarily provided free repairs for U.S. customers with affected televisions.

As the leading supplier of televisions in the United States, we remain committed to delivering superior technology and excellent service to our loyal customers.  We encourage our customers to call 1-800-SAMSUNG if they experience any problems with Samsung products.

We have recently reached a preliminary settlement, subject to court approval, for a nationwide resolution of a related class action lawsuit in the District Court of Oklahoma County in the state of Oklahoma. Under the settlement, Samsung will continue to offer the free repairs that have already been extended to affected consumers.  A second class action lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in late 2010, has been administratively terminated by that court.”

– Samsung Electronics America

Click Here To Read Preliminary List of Samsung Models

“Thank God there are people out there who say, ‘I’m not taking that!’ I paid my money. It should not die in 2-years,” said Van Allen.

Rosemary added, “I don’t fault the sellers. I fault the manufacturers. The manufacturers have to know that they’re putting crap out there. I can tell you that it’s not only Samsung.”

As our repair techs point out, no matter what brand of TV you buy, today’s TVs aren’t being made to last long.

Remember your mom and dad’s TV that lasted 15, even 20-years? They were big, boxy and remarkably reliable. Well today’s TV is NOT your parents TV.

Rosemary demonstrated using a 2009 big screen TV. As she knocked on the TV screen as if she were knocking on a door… she exclaimed, “Paper!”

Then she knocked on the screen of a 1998 TV.

“Tempered glass. You need a hammer to break that.”

She also showed us a TV that recently came into her shop and can’t be repaired. It was bought on Black Friday just two months ago. According to Rosemary, while moving it, the owner used her shoulder to brace it. The indentation on the screen is the result of a tender-leaning shoulder and nothing more.

“You buy a 50-inch Plasma set, you probably paid $4,000 to $5,000, and you’re looking two to three years after, and you can’t fix it? Ridiculous!” Rosemary declared.

In the TV graveyards that exist at both repair shops CBS4 visited, there were stacks of expensive TVs… abandoned for what can only be called “pre-mature failure,” according to our repair techs.

“I don’t think a panel should be bad in 2 1/2 years! A panel shouldn’t be bad in 10-years. But it is,” Van Allen told us as he showed us big screen TV.

And Samsung’s not alone. Another TV was left by its owner at Cliff’s shop. Why? The repair would be more than the original cost of the TV.

“This thing should be on the guy’s wall still,” Van Allen lamented.

“In my opinion,” said Rosemary, “basically the TVs today are obsolete after two years because the parts are changed.”

That’s right. According to our CBS4 investigation, only five states require manufacturers to make parts available longer than two to three years. Those states are California, Connecticut, Indiana, Rhode Island and New Hampshire… NOT Florida.

But consumers aren’t blameless noted Van Allen. “You know, everyone wants the latest and greatest and they don’t think… will this last?”

It’s not just Samsung. Most television manufacturers have had all kinds of issues with Plasma TVs, DLP TVs, LCD TVs… and now repair shops tell CBS4 Investigates, they are bracing for customers buying the new LED TVs

Additional Statements from Samsung Electronics America:

On February 1, 2012, preliminary approval was officially granted on the settlement of Russell, et al. v. Samsung Electronics America, Inc., in the District Court of Oklahoma County in the state of Oklahoma. A similar lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey in late 2010, was administratively dismissed by the court.

The Oklahoma settlement reaffirms that Samsung’s efforts to voluntarily repair affected products for consumers since early 2010, have been appropriate for the situation.  In addition, Samsung will compensate any consumers who have already made repairs at their own expense.  A nationwide announcement will be made in the coming weeks explaining the steps consumers need to take if they believe they have an affected product.   For your information and reference we have attached the summary notice of that decision, which has been on the public record since the settlement was reached. 

As the leading supplier of televisions in the United States we remain committed to delivering superior technology and excellent service to our loyal customers.  We encourage our customers to call 1-800-SAMSUNG if they experience any problems with Samsung products.

“The problem does not affect current models so there is no need to contact retailers.”

“Affected consumers will receive a notice as provided for in the settlement agreement, once approved by the court. Per Samsung’s standard policy, in-home repairs are offered for all sizes above 32”. For 32” and smaller, products must be shipped to NJ, but Samsung will cover all costs (in both directions).”

“Also, once the settlement is approved a process will be put into place to compensate consumers who have already paid for a repair.”


Comments (23)
  1. Phil Landers says:

    Shall we go into how to update the operating software on you flat screen with a thumb drive? What? You didn’t know about that? Oh yes, just like your computer but a little more hands on.

  2. Jon W says:

    The same thing is going on with my 8 month old Sylvania flat screen!!

  3. k.Bishop says:

    I too have the same problem with my flat screen from Samsung, the problem started two months after manufacture warranty expired I contacted Samsung customer service and was told there was nothing they can do for me because the warranty had expired. They recommended a local repair shop which said the part would cost $ labor to fix. I was/still is hopping mad because I feel as if I wasted my hard earn money and was duped by Samsung because now we are finding out there is some thing really, really wrong with their televisions. I think Samsung should come clean and offer to fix or replace the bad TVs. That’s the right thing to do.

  4. Fina Lodico says:

    Thank you so much for this story exposing the problem with the Samsung TV. I have had my 46 inch TV break down twice. It is still not working properly. I have contacted Samsung and they will do nothing. Maybe now that they have been exposed publically, we will get some satisfaction I will never recommend buying a Samsung TV to any of my friends and relatives.

  5. Lisa says:

    Same thing happened with our 40″ Samsung – ended up throwing it away. Will never buy another Samsung product. Funny how they offer to fix the junk a year later when alot of people have already replaced them (probably what they were hoping for)

  6. Ehud Avni says:

    A 50″ plasma for $4-5,000? Maybe 7-10 years ago, but today more like $1000 for a very good Panasonic or LG.

    As for the poster with the Sylvania, that’s a disposable set just like a Westinghouse. The parts that are manufactured are just enough to build complete sets with none left over for repairs.

  7. Bob F says:

    Is westinghouse made by samsung? I had the same problem with a westinghouse LCD about 2 and a half years after purchase. It sounds like the same problem.

  8. mindless minion says:

    It seems to me it is the U.S. gov that caused this mess by requiring digital broadcasts and then leaving the consumer in the dark about the consequences. Congress should conduct hearings and haul the CEO’s of all tv mfrs in to account for the big scam and force mfrs to offer 5 year warranties on all sets.

    Most people don’t even know that digital broadcasts and HD are different things and so everyone fell for the big scam of every family in America having to go out and buy at least one new flat panel tv. Some replaced all their tv sets. But you didn’t have to buy HD trv sets or even flat panel ones – only ones with digital receivers.

    Once they see how awful standard definition looks on an HD tv they then have to go out and pay for HD cable service too. Then, only to find out that no matter which brand you buy, you are lucky if the set even lasts 4 or 5 years. And they expect you will just go out and buy more sets the way you do cell phones and computers now days so no one will even care about life span.

    Wow, were congressmen investing in cable and tv company stocks? This is a scam that has raked in billions of dollars for the greedy corporations and politicians.

    And tv companies don’t care if you switch to another brand next time eiher becuase for every samsung customer that goes to vizio a vizio customer goes to samsung and on and and on with all profiting the same. What a bonanza when evrery consumer in north america is constantly buying new sets.

    So now what is America left with? The most expensive tv service in history and a big boost in the trade deficit as well – all mandated by congress.

  9. JAQUEBAUER says:

    I just had my Samsung 56 inch DLP TV repaired under a secret extended warrranty program, which they will not admit exists, denying that they ever heard of the problem, even though several lawsuits have been filed. Its called the “white dot” problem, where white dots start appearing on the screen that eventually fill the screen making watching impossible. After being denied free extended warranty service, as my set was 2 years past warranty, I found a Facebook page where folks with the same problem had banded together to fight Samsung. It was their I found a link to a Samsung consumer satisfaction Facebook page, where I filed a report. In two weeks they had fixed my TV for zero dollars, where a month earlier they quoted about $600.

    1. Can you give me the site where you reported your problem? I have a 60″ Samsung it was working perfectly fine until after we moved the very next day it wouldn’t come on. It is getting power but it just shows a red light where you turn it on and we get no picture at all. Your help will be greatly appreciated. We have only had it 1 1/2 years. Samsung will not do anything because it is out of warranty.

  10. Pbug says:

    A lot of people tell me I’m silly to get expensive service contracts for big TV’s. Well we had a Toshiba 51 inch rear projection from Sears a few years back, and a few weeks later the HDMI port failed. We tried to get it repaired, gave up for a while, and finally pushed again for Sears to fix it. Several repair visits later (and finding out that the HDMI problem was well known and fixed by Toshiba long ago), Sears replaced the TV (with one of the same original value).

    I also get contracts for laptops. After several repair rounds with HP on one, HP told us that it was now too old to fix, so they replaced it.

    Of course, we also have a Honda Odyssey for which we got a contract. But as it turns out, the transmission was designed to just outlast the contract, and so it did. Replacement cost a fortune, but it turns out that from what I hear, it’s only designed to last the 3 year 36 k mile warranty.

    So you do need to be concerned with parts that where out way too soon.

  11. John says:

    I Called Samsung a year ago about this issue, I live in NJ, and they said it was covered, but that I would have to pay to ship my 32 Inch TV to a facility that was .5 miles from my house, they refused to allow me to bring it there. That is why I will never again buy anything made by Samsung !!!

  12. DosZap says:

    If you purchase ANY New T.V, I do not care who’s brand, if you pay a substantial amount,get an extended warranty from SQUARE TRADE.

    I just took receipt of a 51″ Plasma Samsung, and I bought a 3 year extended warranty for it,covers everything except abuse,physical damages.

    Even in the first year(which is Samsungs warranty), these people will fix whatever Samsung turns down.

    The catch is if the repairs are $500.00, on a $800.00 set, you only have $300.00 in repair bucks left.

    If the repair costs exceeds the cost of a new unit, they replace the unit.
    For $90.00, you cannot go wrong.In my opinion.

    My son uses them also, and explicitly for iPhones, they even offer breakage protection on those.

  13. Shoufeng Yang says:

    My Samsung LNT4661F was purchased in Feb 2008 and failed in June 2011, when I went to the repair shop, without telling them the problem, they said it must be Samsung capacitor problem, as they had hundreds of people with the same problem in the last 2 years.

    Fact: All Samsung TV made between 2006 and early 2009 have this problem, it is time to sue the hell out of Samsung. You simply do google search or go to Cnet, check these fedback after later 2009, every single feedback talks about this problem!.

    I will never buy another Samsung products!

  14. azgirl7 says:

    I’m getting ready to send back my second brand new Samsung computer. I have to say they have treated me well. I sent back the first one for repair 3 weeks after I bought it. They did not repair all the things that were wrong. They offered a refund, but since the computer had 4 things I loved ( 2 of them I can’t find with any other company), I opted for a replacement after I was assured that it was built at a different time, and hopefully would not have the same bad batch of “mother boards”. Well the replacementr has all the same problems and more. I told them I can’t believe ALL of those same models had not been returned, but they said no, they hadn’t. That’s hard to believe. What a shame, it’s such a beautiful design otherwise. But I agree! They make all different kinds of stuff, and should pick one or 2 and do them very well.

  15. FTLGAL says:

    I’ve read the draft settlement agreement attached to the report and found that my TV is one of the models affected (no problems as of yet). In my situation, the proposed agreement stipulates that Samsung will repair the TV if it goes on the blink within 18 months of the effective date (not yet determined). Seems to me that Samsung should bite the bullet and offer to have a technician come out and replace the part known to be defective in ALL of the affected models BEFORE the TV goes on the blink!

  16. TV installers Leeds says:

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