Rob bought a TV from Groupon Goods, and found himself in a weird dilemma where Groupon promised that his new TV would have a manufacturer’s warranty. He had no reason not to believe them until something actually went wrong with the TV. Samsung told him a few different things: that they don’t warranty items bought online, or that his television came from Mexico or Canada. What?
None of those things make any sense. Now, it can be a problem when buying electronics online that the vendor you’re buying from isn’t an authorized seller, which voids your warranty. You might encounter this problem when shopping on Amazon: while Amazon itself might be an authorized seller, its Marketplace sellers mostly aren’t. Yes, even if the item ships from an Amazon warehouse: outside sellers can use “Fulfilled by Amazon” warehouse services and your un-warrantied widget might even ship alongside items that are purchased from Amazon itself. Then there’s the whole matter of gray market electronics, which aren’t specifically banned in this country but don’t have a valid warranty, either.
Of course, Rob wasn’t thinking about any of this. Rob bought a television, and Groupon said that it had a warranty. He had no reason not to believe Groupon, but things got very strange when he tried to get it repaired.
The set had a stuck pixel, which sounds minor until you’ve tried to ignore one on your own screen. He called Samsung, and after some troubleshooting, they made him an appointment with a technician. The technician never showed. When Rob called, Samsung representatives explained that the model number indicated that he shouldn’t have this TV: the television was a Mexican model, so Samsung U.S.A. didn’t have parts for it.
“I got bounced around between their call centers for a while, talking to Samsung Mexico, several Samsung US centers, and even Samsung Canada,” he wrote to Consumerist. “At one point it was even suggested I talk to Samsung Panama. When Canada tried to direct me back to Samsung US, I gave up.” We don’t blame him.
This is when you turn to Executive Customer Service, right? Rob wrote to Samsung’s Office of the President, and that’s when things started to make even less sense. Yes, that is possible. Rob explains, “They then said that because it was purchased on the web, it is not considered a US purchase and they can’t help me.”
We’re pretty sure that Samsung electronics purchased online usually have a warranty. He must have misunderstood, right? Nope. That’s what Samsung says.
We tried contacting them about Rob’s case, and they didn’t respond. We turned to Groupon. They responded and were super nice, finding someone over at Samsung to help Rob. After some promising interactions with an “After Sales Support Team Leader,” that contact person disappeared, and Rob didn’t hear from that person anymore.
Sure, one stuck pixel in a high-end television isn’t a complete disaster. It’s still usable. That’s not what Rob paid for, though. He paid for a television that comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. Why should he have to call Samsung in four different countries to get it?
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist