2 Investigators: Some Samsung TVs Won’t Turn Back On; Owners Get Repair Bills

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Samsung Electronics is now admitting that millions of its flat screen TV’s may have problems that cause them to just shut down.

As 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reports, owners have been complaining about it for years and were unable to get help.

One of them was Brian Kowalkowski, who paid $1,500 for his new Samsung LCD television two years ago. Recently it began clicking, until it eventually turned on. Then, it would not turn on at all.

“It was just dead,” Kowalkowski says. “It was the most amount of money I’ve ever spent on a TV, so I had a hard time believing it. I had no idea what the problem was but I knew I had a serious problem.”

When Brian checked on the Internet, he found thousands of people with the exact same problem. And it turns out repair shops are quite familiar with the problem as well.

It’s caused by apparently defective capacitors that help store energy to smoothly operate the televisions. Each capacitor is relatively inexpensive, about $5 a piece. But if it’s defective it can overheat and shut down your TV.

“You can identify the bad capacitors by the swollenness of the top portion of the capacitor,” Ray Samrah, ABT Electronics Service Manager, says.

“It’s less expensive to repair and replace these capacitors versus replacing the whole TV,” he adds.

Class-action lawsuits filed in three states charge that Samsung Electronics has known for years about the “design and materials defect” that can result in “capacitors failing.” The suits charge that Samsung failed to notify its customers or issue a recall.

It’s a reaction corporate strategy experts see all the time.

“I think companies are doing the cold hard math of what an actual recall is going to cost them,” Paul Larson, an equities strategist at Morningstar, says. “Even if it’s a relatively inexpensive part, it’s quite a significant expense or it can be.

Because his warranty period ended, Samsung told Kowalkowski he had to pay to get his TV repaired. It cost $167 at a television repair shop near his home.

“It should have been zero,” Kowalkowski said. “I feel it should have been taken care of by Samsung.”

Samsung told CBS2 in a written statement that it confirmed in early 2010 that a small percentage of certain models manufactured between 2006 and 2008 had issues caused by capacitors.

But the Samsung spokesman said he could not tell us what the company’s definition is of a “small percentage.”

CBS 2 has learned that a Samsung attorney admitted in an Oklahoma courtroom, where one of the class-action cases is pending, that as many as 7.5 million televisions could have problems.

The company is close to settling that case, which would result in a national resolution of the problem, Samsung says. Once the settlement agreement is approved by the judge, the company will notify consumers about how they can get repairs needed in the future or reimbursed for repairs they have already paid for.

Samsung’s proposed notice says the affected models manufactured between 2006 through 2008 are as follows:  

LCDs: LNT******/XAA; LN**A******XZA; LNS4041DX/XAA; LNS4051DX/XAA; LNS4052DX/XAA; LNS5296DX/XAA

  The asterisks indicate that the affected models include any that begin and end with the combination of letters listed.




Samsung’s written statements:

“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.

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.”

More from Pam Zekman
  • Ron

    So glad you did this investigation, Pam. Coincidentally, just yesterday my 3 month old, brand new Samsung UN55D7000 was finally picked up. This was a 2011 model so their problem might not have ended with the 2010 models as they claim.

    To make a long, exhausting story short, it is being shipped back to Samsung. After three unsuccessful visits from a technician, I asked for a refund which they agreed to. I have seen complaints all over the internet about this issue. Mine had the same exact problem, it turned on and off repeatedly. It was very frustrating as a consumer to had been through this.

    I bought an 8000 series model now and all is well so far after a month…….. but with a replacement plan this time;)



  • Gina

    Wow! This story is too late for my family. Just last month our Samsung LCD TV bought in December 2006 for $1700 as a 20th anniversary – birthday – Christmas present to ourselves just stopped working except for the famous clicking noise. After looking for a reason/solution on the Internet and reading about the MANY SAME issues, Samsung’s lack of responsibility, not to mention the cost of repair (anywhere from $150 to $400) I chose to do my own repair. I’m a stay at home mom so the potential $400 repair on top of a $1700 spent is a bit too much for me. Youtube is full of videos that will show you the same problem and how to fix. I spent $14 (incl. shipping thru Amazon) on 6 new/better capacitors and another $40 for desoldering braid, soldering wire and a soldering iron at Radio Shack. Surprisingly the clerk at RS said that we were the 2nd couple looking for capacitors and soldering tools to fix out flat screens (the other couple’s TV was a Toshiba). Amazon even carries a Samsung repair TV kit.

    I replaced 4 capacitors with a brand better than the ones Samsung chose in their original install. It took some time and patience but so far so good. The TV has been working fine. Just in time for SuperBowl. How could Samsung not recall? They knew their TVs were faulty. I agree with all the above comments this is not just a Samsung issue. Thanks Pam for getting this story out there.

  • Gloria Ballard

    Our set did this last summer and it cost us $172.26 to get it fixed. We have 2 Samsung sets and the other one is starting to turn itself off but so far I am able to turn it back on. We know we will be getting it fixed as soon as it won”t turn back on.The teck that fixed our set tried to get our money back and Samsung would not pay the repair bill. Not sure if we will ever buy another one! How will they get hold of us? Would it be through the repair man?

  • Shirley

    Samsung needs to stand behind their products. Repairs can be costly and not everyone can afford it. I even bought the extended service repair but that didn’t work either. I just wasted my money on that. Samsung does make good product but they need to stand behind them more.

  • Tyrone Powell

    pay the people.. now

  • Bolingbrook Dan

    We have a Samsung 46″ LCD that after 2.5 years started having black lines running horizontally. Though they were faint, they were annoying. Then all of a sudden we started getting yellow and red vertical lines and you could barely see the picture. If you changed the channel, the last channel’s picture would stay on there for a few seconds and then fade away. Looked online and others had the same issue and it sounded to be a bad LCD panel and/or circuit board. In lieu of repairing, we got a new LG. I still like the Samsung better, and wish the class action included this problem. We bought a Samsung LCD because it was supposed to be the best. Now it will be a while before we can feel comfortable going back to them. My model is a LN46B64OR3FXZA. I’ve kept it just in case I want to try and fix it myself or hope that it does become included in the lawsuit!

  • Deborah OBrien

    In 2002 our new Samsung TV and Samsung video player went up in smoke…along with our entire second floor. It was determined that the fire started in one of the Samsumgs so we haven’t bought Samsung since.

  • common sense

    Lets see, these tvs are all past warranty-does anybody know what a warranty means? It means that they guarantee the item to work properly and ‘without material defect’ for the length of the warranty. If something goes wrong after that time, it means it is ‘uncovered’. Unless the plaintiffs are trying to show that Samsung had the option(at the time of bulding the tvs) to use a different capasitor, but chose to use one that they knew(at the time) would absolutely fail, there is no case. And as for the ‘stay-at-home’ mom that fixed her own. Good for you-you fixed a tv that broke 5 years after you bought it. How long do you think a warranty should be? After all, you decided to buya $1700 tv, when now that same size and type tv is down to about $900(?)-perhaps you should not buy the ‘latest and greatest’, and instead wait and buy when the price comes down-you know on electronics they always do.

    • tomo

      “Common Sense” is brilliant. Just like me…. I am waiting for prices to drop so that I can purchase my first computer and cell phone. What is HD?

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  • Jeff Reed

    I purchased an new 32″ Samsung on black friday of 2010. It failed xmas day in the manner described. <30 days old. Luckily the store took it back as defective merchandise. Went out and bought a Panasonic

    Thanks for the report, apparently I'm not the only one!

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  • roxann

    I have a sony that we bought about 5 years ago and we have had to replace the projection lamp 3 times already.the lamp costs 250.00 each time to replace it.once again it is going out.I seen this recall for samsung and was wondering if anyone has heard anything about this problem?

  • Les Peters

    Have purchased a Samsung t.v., model LN46D550K1FXZA in April of 2011. Since the warranty is about to expire, am wondering if I begin to have problems after the warranty period expires, whether I should advise Samsung about any potential problems at this time. Appears it takes awhile before the set turns on and I did have some difficulty several times when the set would turn off by itself. After turning the set back on, seems the problem was eliminated. Who knows if the problem will get worse as time goes by.

  • non

    There are still tv repair men?

  • Joe Christ

    Why are they putting the blame only on Samsung? It’s not just Samsung with bad capacitors. It is just about any product that is manufactured in China, or parts made in China. Over the past couple years I have repaired dozens of Viewsonic, Gateway, and Acer LCD Monitors, all with bad capacitors. I have also found bad capacitors in Tankless hot water heaters, computer motherboards, and computer power supplies. The list goes on. All manufactures are all about manufacturing as cheap as possible. Cutting corners with cheap capacitors or capacitors that are working at their peak performance, instead of paying a few more cents for a higher rated capacitor. I feel really bad for the people that pay $100’s of dollars to have their TV’s fixed due to a few capacitors that cost between .29 & $1.00 each. It Only takes about 15min to repair.

    • Richard Denauldo

      Because Samsung’s problem is exists with many products across the line and a mass amount of them, of course there are bad lemons within products, but WOAH SAMSUNG, really….they do not develop, engineer, or innovate

      just mass produce a bunch of things to flood the market, is it really a surprise?

  • mike

    The TV should live at least 10 years without any need for repair of any kind. That’s the way it was, and that’s the way it should.
    It’s not a car, it’s a TV! There shouldn’t be any wear & tear.
    I’m starting to think that these TV manufacturers are designing their “pricey” TVs to last for a couple of years by purpose, so you have to buy their new model by then! especially that you’ll find the repair cost would accede it’s price by that point.
    Bring TVs back where they belong, on the same lifespan category as a stove or a fridge. Built to last!
    I want to change my TV because I want to, not because I have to! :-[

  • carol

    Its not only Samsung. we had a horrible experience with Sony. They use the date purchased not delivered which was three weeks after purchase for the warrenty. After we fought with them and they agreed to fix the tv (no picture only sound) they shipped the part to MA instead of IL so it took 2 weeks to get someone out there then realized it was not that and the tv needed to be replaced. We then got a replacement Sony bravia 2 years older so heavy we can’t put it back on the wall without hiring someone to do it for us. It was a horrible experience and i will think twice about buying another Sony product. Lesson learned – always buy an extended warrenty otherwise you are sent out into the cold to deal with the manufacturer who could care less if you are satisfied or not.

  • Wendell Peterson

    I had the same problem with my 36″ LCD Flat screen TV. It wouldn’t turn on after a 15 months and they refused to cover the repair of $150.00. Now the volume control isn”t working so there is no adjustment. Has anyone else had that problem?

  • Greg

    Yesterday morning, with just one day before the stores 30 day return expired my Samsung UN46D6003 started having lines across the screen (horizontally) and little white dots of snow crackling around the screen. Boxed it up and took it back after I could find little on their useless website and nothing about this problem which I understand has been going on for over 10 years. This is one of their newer LED TV’s not listed in the class action.

  • James Eggers

    Actually every single Samsung made between 2006 and 2009 willdie after 2-3 years, no exception. I was so angry, almost want to eat their hearts and brain.

  • Baron Klein

    The problem is that Samsung is a dishonest company that makes inferior products. I quit buying them a few years ago.

  • Tom W.

    I am also going through these issues w/ a Samsung UN55B8000XF LED .. not powering on at all (1yr Samsung warranty) that is 25 mo. old. Costing $2,279.00. “Fortunately” I purchased ($189.00 ) a “In Home ” 3 yr. extended warranty contract w/ MackCam.Com out of NJ. I look back now and recall that prior to this sets total demise –>(2/8/2012)– while still under the 1 yr. Samsung warranty issues were present such as not powering on at times and shutting off and coming back on with out even being in the room. I’m not much of a tv watcher per. say; apx 10 hrs. a week, live alone. Naturally being a new set I blamed my Cable TV provider for issues on there end and reported such. After my cable provider serviced related items *ie.. cables, Dvr boxes , etc. on more then one occasion w/ my demands and the on/off problem being intermittent I knew of no options or possibility of a Samsung defective capacitor or power on/off switch being the blame all along. As of 2/22/12 I am expecting a service rep. to make an in house repair that was set up w/ MackCam my ext warranty provider. I thought I was buying a product that would provide me years of enjoyment and was a honest, dependable well known company. No matter of this outcome I will “NOT” ever purchase any Smasung products in the future. ! Thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent .. ..ps. I hope to update this in the future.. please update the same on your Samsung issues ?

    • Joe Christ

      If you buy another brand TV, you will just have the same problems. Everything is made in CHINA now. Every brand TV will have these garbage cheap capacitors in them. The only difference here is that SAMSUNG has admitted to the problem. Almost certain that everyone will eventually have this problem with the caps blowing. Samxon, and CapXon capacitors are complete garbage! The bad thing is, they are used everywhere! Everyone needs to crack down on ALL MANUFACTURES, not just Samsung… Just need more people reporting these issues. Just sucks that they usually fail at around 2 years with heavy usage and of coarse that is past your 1 year warranty, unless you extend it.

  • shepup

    What about Samsung plasma tv’s? Since the first year we bought it, we’ve had to repair fuses and the capacitors. We bout it in 2007

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