Reacting to a number of consumer complaints, the New Jersey Attorney General's office began an investigation into Samsung America's business practices related to repairing home appliances under warranty or service contracts. As a result of that probe, the two sides have agreed to a settlement.
Samsung America, based in Ridgefield Park in Bergen County, New Jersey, will pay $50,000 to the Division, plus $14,600 in reimbursement of investigative costs and attorneys' fees. The company made no admission of violating any laws in settling the state's investigation.
As part of this settlement, any consumer complaints received about Samsung America related to home appliance repairs will be forwarded by the Division to the company over the next two years. Samsung America will refer any unresolved complaints to the Division's Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit for resolution through binding arbitration.
"Consumers will be told all applicable charges, including those for parts and labor, when appliances are repaired under warranty or through service contracts. Consumers are entitled to know their out-of-pocket costs and this settlement requires Samsung America to provide that information," said David Szuchman, New Jersey's Consumer Affairs Director.
Consumers in other states besides New Jersey have lodged similar complaints about Samsung with ConsumerAffairs.com.
"My Samsung DLP HD TV HLT5075 is less than two years old. It developed stars or dots on the screen," Ed, of Plano, Texas told ConsumerAffairs.com.. "After numerous attempts to contact the company for help, all I got was the run around and no help. The expensive TV is unwatchable and with help from others found out it was a DLP chip problem that seems to be a defect in the product. The repair costs range from $500-800 dollars. Samsung will not take resposibility for their faulty products."
Under the New Jersey settlement, Samsung America agreed to:
Not engage in any unfair acts or deceptive practices in the conduct of its business in the state and to comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules and regulations;
Provide consumers with all required home appliance warranties and service contracts;
Disclose to consumers all diagnostic charges and other set fees and the methods to determine the total charge, including the charges for labor and parts, when performing appliance repairs.
Honor all Samsung home appliance warranties and service contracts and to complete all contracted-for, in-warranty repair work, whether completed by Samsung or through an independent service network;
Provide consumers a toll free customer service telephone number to address any post order inquiries concerning home appliances, and to clearly disclose the telephone numbers to consumers;
Make available a customer service manager and/or supervisor when the consumer calls the toll-free customer service telephone number and makes such a request.
Respond to consumer complaints or requests for refunds, credits or other adjustments within five (5) business days of its receipt of the consumer's telephone call, e mail or letter; and
Implement training and other programs, as necessary, to instruct its customer service representatives as to new home appliances and/or changes in policies and procedures including, but not limited to, those concerning billing practices.
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