Design Defect Could Affect Millions Of Flat Screen TVs

By Joe Shortsleeve, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – Some of the newer digital TVs take a bit longer to switch on than the older versions. But Phil Hermance knew it was more than that when he started having trouble with his 40 inch Samsung LCD. “About a year-and-a-half into owning the TV, it started acting up,” he explained. When Phil hit the power button, the TV would make a clicking noise and the screen would take a long time to come on.

Phil is just one of thousands of Samsung owners describing the same problem online. Some complain that their nearly new TV takes 30 minutes or even longer to power up. For Phil, the problem was even worse than that. “It wouldn’t come on at all,” he said.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports

His manufacturer’s warranty was expired so Phil didn’t even bother to call Samsung, he just paid the $150 it cost to get it fixed.

According to TV repairman, Cliff Allen, the problem is with a tiny $5 part called a capacitor. “It’s not because it’s an inferior product; it’s because the voltage is not enough to do the job,” he said.

Lawsuits filed in three states allege Samsung has known for years about the design and materials defect that results in capacitors failing. Samsung would not say how many TVS have the faulty capacitors but CBS obtained a court document from one of those lawsuits. It quotes a Samsung attorney saying there are more than seven million of the TVs out there.

Samsung sent CBS this statement:

“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

When Brian Kowalkowski’s 2-year-old Samsung died, he called the company but they did not offer a voluntary repair. He said he was told that because his warranty was up, he was on his own. The repair cost him $167. “It should have been zero. I feel it should have been taken care of by Samsung.

Well it may be taken care of after all as one of those lawsuits was settled earlier this month.

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.”

CLICK HERE see the notice regarding the settlement.

For additional information call 888-899-7602 between 9am and 9pm EST.

  • Sarah Forbes

    Samsung LCD TVs also have problems with the capacitors which control the sound. These capacitors are also undersized. Fortunately, my 40″ Samsung TV was still under warranty when the capacitors failed and – thankfully – a repairman came to the house.

    It is fascinating to see the inner workings of these flat TVs. There is nothing in there!! As a child I was fascinated with the TV repairman who made house calls with a box full of an incredible variety of tubes and bulbs.



    • Trish

      I am in a similar situation Stephen. I have a 32″ Samsung LCD that started to have issues turning on and off for about 6 months until it did not turn on at all. Samsung could not help me, so I brought it to a local repair shop and was told the issue was the capacitor. I paid $135 to have the tv fully repaired and have not had any issues since. I just watched the CBS report on the Samsung TV issues and KNOW that my TV is one that had the apparently known defect, but my television is not on the list of affected tv’s (but it was manufactured before March 2008). I can not understand why my model number is not on this list, but I would like to get reimbursed for the repair. If anyone receives an answer on how to go about getting a repair/reimbursement for an affected TV that is not on the “official model number” list, please let me know.

  • Denis

    called samsung over two years ago to complain about a friend’s tv with capacitor problems……read online that this problem is a worlwide one…’s rep said he was not aware of it ( baloney ) and would not do anything because it was out of warranty….I bought an led tv a year ago and guess what it wasn’t a “high rated” samsung

  • marcia

    My 2.5 yr old Sony flatscreen died. When I took it to Sony dealer he just shook his head and said it would cost over $400 to repair and wasn’t worth it. Sony offered to give me $200 towards repair and that was it. Put complaint thru AGs Consumer Office and they couldn’t budge Sony. When I went online, many were having same issue with Sony tv. Seems ones manuafactured in certain factory had defects. Sony not willing to stand behind their product. Samsung not the only one.

  • cassie

    i have never had a problem with our and after paying almost 3 grand i would hope it stays that way.. i did bu an additional 3 year warranty but it is not through samsung. i sure do hope that is covered if god for big the tv malfunctions.

  • tsalnew

    We have four samsung flat screens in the house (varying sizes) and my son and daughter each have one. So far so good. I bookmarked the article needless to say. Samsung has it all over all others for the picture we like so I’d stay with them in the future. Although I hear the new Bose TV is phenomenal.

  • Tech1

    I had a Sony that had problems & a service man came out to fix my TV. After he finished fixing it He told me that he gets more calls on Samsung & Sony TV’s for repairs than any other system, Samsung being the worst of the bunch. He told me Toshiba & Sharp were the best of the best. Here is a link to the story behind the Capacitor issue: check it out!!

  • Chucky Cheesy

    My Philips television also blew its capacitors. A quick search of the internet revealed many videos showing step by step instructions on how to change them yourself. With a screwdriver, a borrowed soldering iron, (I never soldered before), solder, and a soldering wick to remove the old solder and capacitors, I fixed my TV in an hour and it cost me ten bucks in parts, including capacitors. It’s still going strong. Saved $500.

    • Alan

      I have a Philips 42 inch LCD , picture woks but blurry marbled effect.The set is 3 years old and not watched that much, is this part of the same proplem?
      Thanks for any help.

    • John

      the negatives about Philips USA and your suggestion is, at least for sets over the warranty period…I was told that Philips Consumer Electronics simply sold off a shipload’s worth of repair parts from their warehouses to a company in California…who of course, expeditiously got them to a landfill. I had a pretty common capacitor failure on my 2003 set, which I thought would last as long as my 20 year old Sony/Hitachi CRT’s around the house. No chance…they really did build them to last longer in the solid state/tube mix days (90’s)!

  • Danielle

    My Samsung had this problem two years ago – and the tv was only about 3 years old. When I contacted Samsung they told me my warranty was up and that there was nothing they would do for me. They NEVER offered to fix the issue as they have claimed, even after we mentioned to them that we noticed this was a common problem when we googled the issue. Luckily my fiance found a video on youtube that showed him how to fix the TV for under $25! Within an hour, our TV was back up and running and we have not had any problems since! No thanks to Samsung!!! Very poor customer service!

  • Psycho_Dad

    I own (2) 32″ Philips LCD and both take around 7 seconds to power up, i don’t know if that’s bad. One of them is more then two years old, the other one is about 5 months old.

  • Mary

    not surprised ! to save .0000001 per capacitor samsung used bottom tier component mfrs instead of spending .0000002 to ensure quality, reputation and brand. glad someone fought back!

  • PB87

    My 16-year-old Sanyo is still going strong, and is as bright and clear as the day I bought it.


  • Ronald Messier

    I have a Samsung Plasma HDTV. Model# PN42B450B10X2A. I don’t see this on the list. It does not start up sometimes. Sometimes I am watching a hockey game and it shuts off and I have to re-start it 3 or 4 times to get it back on. Sometimes while I am sleeping it shuts off. Sometimes while I am recording it shuts off. What can I do?

    • walter stephens

      do i wait until samsung contacts me about replacement or call best buy where i got it? or just wait until it goes before i start making complaints?

      • Fredd Volvo

        Best Buy will not talk to you unless you got a Geek Squad Replacement Policy. They do not service TV’s – I know – been there..

  • RPage

    Call Samsung – tell them your issue – if you dont get what you want demand to be transferred to Executive Customer Relations

  • Jessica

    I experienced this problem with my Samsung 40 inch television after 6 years of no problem. A friend of mine had also experienced the same issue and told me to call Samsung and they will come fix it for free. As i was told, I called Samsung who sent someone to my home at my earliest convenience. The technician was very professional were polite and fixed the television for free! I was VERY happy with the service.

    • BrianDO

      @Jessica HAHAHA yeaaaaa right… is your last name Samsung???

  • Seaborne2

    Does Samsung have anything to do with Gateway?? My Gateway did the SAME thing.

  • fredd volvo

    LG LCD Screens have the same problem – there are many complaints on the I-Net about this. Obviously these manufacturers get the components from the same or similar source. I have one now which takes 3-5 tries to have the signal come through to the screen. The estimates I got were also $150. The issue is that the rest of the TV works fine and I can replace it for $300 – Is the Labor really worth $120-140? I would love to stand behind a service tech and watch the repairs being made.

  • Sarah Forbes

    Having watched the repair man myself, and as Chucky and Danielle have noted, the problem does seem easy to fix.

    The back is attached with screws and there is really not much inside the TV – just circuit boards and capacitors. Larger capacitors are probably available at Radio Shack or U Do It Electronics in Needham.

    There are lots of how-to videos on the Internet.

    I own 2 other Samsung TVs (one older and one newer than the broken one) and have not had problems with either one.

  • BabieG

    I have a 46 in Philips that will all of a sudden go black.I have sound but no picture. It is only 2 1/2 yrs old. Could that be the capacitor? Does anyone know of a good repair man that will make house calls?

    • BabieG

      I love that TV. Even though Philips laid me off after giving them 27 yrs of my life, I still bought one. They burnt me again.

  • Jim O'Leary

    Thank you for your Samsung report. Our children gave us one for Christmas and they spent a lot of money for it. We had it for less than a couple of years and starting having a problem getting it to startup and then it would blank out in the middle of a show. I intend to contact Samsung and see if they want to pick up the cost of repairs. Jim O’Leary

  • nat

    Sony LCD TVs have had problems with the optical block, causing parts to melt, as well as screen degradation. For awhile , the offered to sell you a replacement at a deep discount ( 2 or 3 hundred dollars.) Now, that discount is almost nonexistent. They have a Facebook page called I Have A Defective Sony TV. Samsung and Sony have been in cahoots for awhile:

  • BabieG

    Went on line to contact philips and get a phone #. applied my question and they wanted to charge me $48 to answer it. Called the # and was on hold for 48 mins. Hung up. try tomorrow.

  • BrianDO

    HAHAHA yea right is your last or first Name Samsung???

  • Chuck

    This is not a new issue. Search the web. Samsung has had these problems for a few years now. Ironically both my neighbor & me, who happen to own the same model Sansung 40″, had the capacitors controlling the power blow out in the same week. After researching the issue online, I bought 10 capacitors for a total of $10 and we fixed the TV ourselves. There are even You-Tube videos available on how to fix this yourself and save $100’s in repairs.

  • bill

    I wish WBZ would look into Vizio as well I paid 1,200.00 for my 50 inch flat screen and the power supply board burned out 3 years and 2 months after i bought it and all vizio said was your SOL wow this is crazy

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