Plasma Repairs

Reporter: Vassil Malandris

As I said I'm not familiar with the job details we'd have to book it in and have a look at it.. well you already booked it in, you already had a look at it. Patricia says “I am extremely angry, I've been made to feel like an idiot”

Zohar says “we see units that go to multiple service org and they basically either do not repair the unit properly or they cannot repair the problem at all”

Steve says “They never want to ring you back, you know if you don't contact them you almost have to badger them on a daily basis otherwise you get nowhere” If you believe the hype.. And judging by the sales.. Big screen tvs are the biggest thngs to hit the home entertainment market ...

Patricia says “Our expectations buying the TV were that buying a really good brand name that we would get exactly what we paid for, that a tV when you want it to work, would work, when you want to turn it on would turn on at least in the 1st year without any problems” Of course buying brand new and forking out thousands of dollars we all hope these tv's will be trouble free ... And most are ... Steve says “we purchased the screen to watch the major sporting events and movies on tv“But if you do have a problem with your plasma ... Can you get it properly fixed ... We'll maybe that's not so easy ....

You've had a look at it, you've given us a written quote and you've basically given us an assessment that was wrong, you wanted to charge us a thousand dollars for it After receiving a number of complaints about other repairers we decide to check out the problem solving skills of some of adelaide's best known tv repairers.. From independent technicians through to the manufacturer's authorised repairers ....

Zohar says “it's currently operating perfectly ok there's no problem with it at all .. And we'll see what we can do with it“ That's Zohar Oshinsky from one of the authorised sony dealers... Digital domain... We asked him to manufacture two minor faults.. One very obvious ... And another more subtle ....”the first we took a good fan out of the unit and replaced it with a faulty one.. it's easy to see.. and this will bring a red light in front of the plasma as soon as you turn it on .. the second fault was we inverted the picture by usign the user menu .. shoudld take an hour for competent technician to repair”

One hour's labour can add up to 80 dollars ... The faulty fan.. Around $55.. The entire repair shouldn't cost any more than 150 dollars... That is if they know where to look, “all you have to do is go to the main menu, status and press enter”

While our faulty set does the rounds ... Meet adelaide couple Steve and Linda dnistriyanski ... When they bought theiir flashy plasma over 3 years ago for 9 thousand dollars.. They never expected the repair bill to cost thousands more. “in the first 12 months we had 2 repairs to the plasma and since then another 5We've had repairs to the fans, there"s been no power, dust issues...” 7 repairs for 7 different problems.. And incredibly steve and linda are still staring at a blank screen

What happened last time you turned the telly on? Last time it tripped the Clipsal safety switch and I lost power to the whole house The whole house? ..Whole house yes, and since then the plasma hasn't worked.. When their last quote for repairs was mysteriously upgraded from 500 dollars to 15 hundred.. They say their patience and their finances ran out... Insisting unless they're offered a new tv from the manufacturer jvc.. They'll stick to their tiny box

It's a similar story for adelaide mum Patricia Lock .. Who purchased her LG rear projection tv for 3 and a half thousand dollars and also took out an extended warranty just in case anything went wrong... Sure enough within 6 weeks it did. “When you turn it on it's supposed to flash 10-12 times and we've counted up to 185 before it turns on? Before it turns on and you;'ve got you're sound but no picture

A straightforward repair? Apparently not.. No less than four baffled technicians including an authorised repairer have tried and failed... So how did our tv get on .... "What is the problem?"

Force electronics gave us $350 for an initial estimate First we went to force electronics who said they would need check the set and gave us a ballpark figure of $200 -30, but told us that figure could either increase or decrease once they went ahead with the repair and were certain of the actual fault ...

Electronic corporation gave us a quote of: $39 up front fee to come off the total repair bill

All of which was quite fair ....we didn't proceed but took the tv the next outlet electronic corporation... Who asked for an upfront fee of $39 to look at the unit which would then come off the total repair bill... Again quite fair ....but after a week in the workshop, we were told they couldn't find what was wrong with it and passed it on to

Telefix gave is a quote of: $965 to replace video processing board

Telefix.. A sony authorised dealer ...”if you give us some time we'll have a look at it.. well you've already had a month“They spent nearly a whole month looking at the unit before deciding on a quote of $965 to cover the replacement cost of a video processing board

Zohar says “Well the two faults that we have manufactured in the machine are not related to VP boards and we def haven't seen any fault with this unit to do with video processing”

Telefix says “I mean if we made a mistake that's fine we'll cop that everyone makes mistakes, it's as simple as that.. do you think as a Sony authorised you should be making those mistakes?” Pattronics quoted us $4400 to replace screen ...and told us the TV was a right off

The final repairer.. pattronics.. who admitted having a hardtime working out what caused the inverted image Their repair suggestion was to replace the entire screen at a cost of about $4400.. However since new plasma are much cheaper than that ... It would be easier and cheaper to buy a new unit ..

Zohar says “So it looks like they were pretty much baffled by what the problem was? They definitely couldn't find what was wrong with this actual unit and what is a quick and efficient solution for it.” While we have doubt all technicians were genuine it suggests some homework might be in order ... As for Patricia Lock... She says she's now returned to the place of purchase, jb hi fi to intervene ... But she says they've told her it's no longer their problem “I believe they should offer me my money back or a replacement” Luckily for Steve and Linda.. It never came to that ... We spoke to jvc's head office in Sydney and they agreed to replace their dodgy plasma with a new model.

Zohar says “the consumer have to be smart and maybe pay a little bit more ....”