As the result of a recent class action settlement, Panasonic has agreed to replace the defective lamps found in many of their LCD projection TV models.
Although Panasonic admits no wrongdoing, the company settled with The Garden City Group, Inc., a law firm in Melville, N.Y.
Under the settlement, consumers who own Panasonic model numbers PT-50LC13, PT-60LC13, PT-50LCX63 and PT-60LCX63 are to be included in the settlement.
Panasonic has agreed to give those consumers:
A. An extended warranty until November 30, 2007.
B. Reimbursement of monies spent to replace failed lamps.
C. If the consumer has had three or more issues with the TV, they can get a replacement TV, or if the consumer chooses, a $1,000 rebate certificate toward the purchase of a new Panasonic TV with a retail price of $1,500.00 or more.
ConsumerAffairs.com has received about 30 reports of issues from consumers whose Panasonic LCD TVs have failed, usually far before the promised 10,000 hours of lamp life. In almost every case it is the model PT-50LC13.
"I purchased a Panasonic LCD TV - Model # PT-50LC13 in January of 2005 - it is now May of 2006 and the bulb is already burned out - less than 2500 hours on a bulb that claims it can last 10,000 hours," wrote Jennifer of Chesterfield Va. "Something must be done because at $300 a bulb you may as well buy a new TV."
Although it would seem the lamp itself is the guilty party, it is not clear whether it is the lamp or the TVs that are defective. ConsumerAffairs.com independently spoke with three Panasonic spokespeople and none could provide any answers.
One thing that is known is that it is the same $300 lamp in all four of the listed models in the settlement: the TY-LA1000.
Alex Leon, who has serviced TVs for 27 years for Leon & Leon Service Shop in Woodbridge, Va. said it is most likely the lamp that is failing, not the TVs.
If that's the case, some consumers with Panasonic TVs may be out of luck while trying to get a replacement through the settlement because the settlement only covers four TVs that have the TY-LA1000 lamps, but there are at least 13 Panasonic TVs that carry that same lamp.
The other model numbers not included in the settlement are: PT-43LC14, PT-43LCX64, PT-44LCX65, PT-52LCX15B, PT-52LCX65, PT-60LC14, PT60-LCX63, PT60-LCX64 and PT61-LCX65.
Consumers with one of the listed TVs above, who have had issues with their lamps, should file a report for our editors and class action attorneys to use for future stories and possible class action suits.
Leon said consumers should not try to replace the lamp themselves because it contains dangerous chemicals including mercury. Those installation costs would be included in the Panasonic reimbursement.
To be safe, consumers should avoid purchasing Panasonic TVs that carry the TY-LA1000 lamp. Will Safer, Panasonic spokesman said he didn't know if those bulbs are still being used in TVs or not.
In order to receive any reimbursement, consumers need to keep all receipts including the original purchase receipt. Consumers included in the settlement can go to www.tvlampsettlement.com for more information on how to receive a replacement or reimbursement.