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Watch out for cloudy images -- and send it back right away!
on October 24, 2013
I am not an expert when it comes to TVs, so when it came to deciding on a new 55 inch HDTV, I simply wanted a great picture from a solid company. I researched quite a bit and decided on Samsung as they have the reputation of a high end company with quality service and reliable products.
When the TV first arrived I was quite pleased. The screen size was ideal for my living room and the picture was good -- not great, but good. The best way to view the TV was by sitting in the center, as the colors did seem to fade a bit if you watched from the side. While 3D was not my motivation for buying this model, I did feel it was a nice addition. And, there is no other way to say it, the 3D is exceptionally impressive. Much better than I expected.
My issue arose in the first two weeks as I noticed that, when viewing darker images, there were large cloudy areas that extended from the edges of the TV. Sports and such was fine as they typically consist of continuous bright images, but the problem would continue to be evident with movies and shows that had a darker theme. The cloudy areas never moved -- they were always stable, and they extended about 1/3 from each edge (direct center of screen was fine).
Rather than immediately send the TV back, I contacted Samsung as I figured they would handle the issue and resolve it (plus I really didn't want to have to go through the return process if it was an issue that could be resolved). The customer service individual was very helpful as they assisted me in scheduling a tech to come and check the issue. About a week later, the tech arrived and I shared the problem. He said he was familiar with the issue and, after looking at my TV for about 1 minute, said he would have to call Samsung to see if they would authorize the repair (they promptly declined). He said that previously he ordered new panels with no issue, but that recently he had been instructed to not repair what they were calling "uneven brightness." I was told that Samsung considers the picture normal unless the defect is visible 100% of the time. So, if the issue only occurs when the screen is darker, it's considered normal.
I know another person who had bought the same model and they had not had this issue, so I called Samsung after the tech visited. The first individual I spoke to was very helpful, understood my frustration, and said that a replacement should be OK as I had only had the TV a few weeks. He noted the issue on my account and had me call another number to have the replacement handled. When I called that number, the rep told me that she could find no record of my discussion with the other rep, and that all she saw was that the tech department considered my unit normal. She said that nothing could be done and that whoever I spoke to previously would not have been authorized to offer a replacement in the first place. End of discussion.
Fortunately, I contacted Amazon as it was still within 30 days, and they had no issue processing a return due to this defect. Initially I was going to just do an exchange for the same model as I obviously got a bad one. However, after seeing how Samsung failed to stand by their product, I really could not continue to support their business. I understand that I probably just got a lemon, but it's those instances that I feel truly test a company's commitment to their standards and customer service. In this instance, Samsung failed exceptionally. In the end, I went with a plasma model from a different brand, and the picture has proven to be amazing.
If you do go with this TV, you probably won't have an issue as it does seem that most people are fine. However, it's important to really test your TV out when you get it. If you do notice this issue, you'll want to return it to Amazon right away. Don't bother contacting Samsung -- they won't help you and the process could extend you beyond Amazon's 30 day policy to avoid restocking/shipping charges.
Hope this helps those fellow shoppers who just want a high quality picture! Good Luck.