Silver MemberUsername: Tvshopper
Post Number: 224
My parents who are elderly purchased a Samsung BD-P1000 Bluray player in the late fall of 2006 in conjunction with the purchase of a Sony XBR LCD TV. The salesperson gave them the big spiel on Bluray and why they needed to have it and how he'd cut them a heck of a deal by knocking 50% off the price of the latest and greatest. The retail on this piece of garbage was $1,000. They paid a whopping $500!
Fast forward to this Christmas. As one of their Christmas gifts, I gave them a Bluray version of Public Enemies. They said, "I hope it plays in our player." I asked why they wondered that. They proceed to tell me that many, if not all, bluray disks do not play in their player. They'd gotten so frustrated that they told Netflix to not send them blurays any longer; only DVDs. I said that they probably just needed to update their firmware and that I would look it up, prepare the disk and install it for them. I did that. After the firmware update, I put Public Enemies in the tray. "This disk cannot be used." I put in Master and Commander. "This disk cannot be used." I put in A Bridge too Far. "This disk cannot be used." I put in The Dark Knight. "This disk cannot be used." See a pattern here?
I went to do some research and found out that the BD-P1000 was designed to only read single layer (25G) bluray disks not dual layer (50G) disks and that no firmware update was going to fix this MAJOR design flaw. I was incensed. Here is a huge corporation selling over-priced, flawed technology to people who didn't know any better. Additionally, I was confident that the Uniform Commercial Code's (UCC) section on Implied Warranty of Merchantability (IWM) was being violated. In essence, isn't it a reasonable expectation of the consumer that something performs the task for which it was designed for a reasonable period of time? The period of time of that expectation correlates to the cost of the item. So, for a $1,000 bluray player, shouldn't it be expected to play bluray disks for a period longer than three years? I certainly believed so.
I contacted Samsung Customer Service (just the standard number on the web site) and told them the problem and mentioned the UCC IWM. I was told that the player should be sent in for repair but that since it was out of warranty, my parents would be charged for the repair. Repair!? I told them that the player is not broken, it has a design flaw that makes it unfit for the purpose for which it was designed and marketed. "I'm sorry sir, but that is all we can do." I say, "Well, I don't think you understand. I guess I will have to speak to a supervisor." They put me on hold (they did this many times for many minutes at a time. Of course, they're hoping that you get frustrated, give up and go away). After several minutes, I was told to contact Executive Support. Whoa! Now I'm getting somewhere, right?
Not! So, I contacted the 800 number for Executive Support. I have to go through the entire story, all of the same steps I went through with general support and get told that the player has to be sent in for repair. I say, "No, it does not need repair. It needs replacement because it won't play blurays; no way, no how." I am told to provide the serial and model numbers and he will get back to me. A week goes by. I've emailed the rep a few times asking for a response. I finally get a response that the rep has been out sick and that he's working on the problem now. Later that day I get an email saying the system will not take the serial number. Can I reconfirm the number and send it again. I do. It still won't go. The system is saying that it is an invalid serial number. I take a freakin' picture of the serial number plate with my Blackberry and email it to him. Three days later I get an email saying he's still working on the problem. 10 days! after I sent the picture, I get an email saying he will call me later that day. He calls to tell me that they have to have it in for repair but since it is out of warranty my parents will have to pay for the repair. WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO FREAKIN' REPAIR!? I say this is totally unacceptable and that I need to be escalated to the next level of supervision. "Okay, I will get a supervisor for you. May I put you on hold?" I wait five minutes to have him come back on the line and say that all of his supervisors are in a meeting but that one will call me later.
Next day, still no call from said supervisor. I email the contact. The supervisor will call in 24 -- 48 hours. Okay, so here I am, three weeks into this process and I've made NO PROGRESS! I'm beginning to get PO'd. Well, actually, I was PO'd at many points during this process but now I'm really mad. I do some more research and find that there is at least one class-action suit (in New Jersey) regarding this same issue (citing the UCC IWM, by the way). I also find a case where an industrious consumer who found the name and email address of a high-level executive and told him of his troubles. He got a replacement!
I call back to Executive Support and give them my case number and say that a supervisor was supposed to contact me and that I've never heard from a supervisor. Basically, I get the runaround and am finally told that I'm at the end. If I don't like it, I can write the CEO of Customer Service. No email. Snail mail only. Too bad, so sad. "Have a nice day, sir." Okay, time for more sleuthing.
I find the Holy Grail in a google search. Tier 3 support! I call the number and get real person answering the phone on like the second ring. I tell the entire story, mention the UCC IWM, the class-action suit, the example of someone that received a replacement (dropped the word discrimination), etc. After the story, the first words out of the rep's mouth are "Where did you get this number?" LOL!!! I told him that I'm a pretty good detective. I am put on hold for about two minutes. He comes back and says that since they are not updating the firmware and the player won't play blurays, they are obligated to replace the player with a refurbished unit (they offer a 1590 or 1600; whatever they have in stock). I said, I don't care what it is so long as it plays bluray disks.
Yesterday I received the replacement player and the UPS tag to return their 1000! I've installed the player and they are now able to play the disks that have been sitting around their home collecting dust. I feel vindicated yet angry that this much time and effort had to be expended to make some elderly people whole from their large investment such a short time ago. Samsung (they've earned their nickname, SamSUCK, in my book) has no conscience. They hope you go away. They know that if they stall long enough, make it hard enough, etc. that most everyone will give up and just buy more crap from them. Well, I say, DON'T LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT! Stick to your guns and use the tools below to get them to back up their products. They only thing is start at Tier 1, and jump through the hoops building your case as you go. If you jump straight to Tier 3 they'll just close up shop, change the number and deny your claim.
Total time from first contact to receipt of replacement is 25 days.
Tier 1 support--800-747-5618
Tier 2 "Executive Support" (what a joke that name is!)--800-522-7341
Tier 3 Case Management--888-685-1358