Monday, September 01, 2008

Don't Buy Hitachi: The 2 percent sucks!

We bought a Hitachi 50” plasma TV and it broke after three months. It then took us nearly three months to get a working TV. After three service calls, more than 20 phone calls, and hours on the phone, I’ve come to learn a few things about Hitachi’s customer service department that really disturbed me.

  • Many of the people I talked to said they would take action on my behalf and either didn’t take any action or didn’t even have the capability to do so. For instance, I would ask them to call or email the sales department to request the status of an MRA and they would say they had done so. When I called at a later date, I found out that these actions never happened.
  • Because of this, I often felt lied to and manipulated.
  • On at least two occasions, I asked for a supervisor during the middle of the day and was told that none was available. On these occasions when I asked for one to call me back, they told me that they didn’t do that.
  • Only twice in the 10 or so times that I asked a service rep to read my file before talking to me did they actually do so. Thank you Vosco and Christopher.
  • Despite the fact that my TV was unable to be fixed, I had a great local service repair contact: H S Electronics. They actually worked around Hitachi when Hitachi told them how long many of the parts delivery would take.
  • I had to ask Hitachi to expedite shipping on every part after waiting more than three weeks for the parts department to reopen (when they did, they did not have the part I needed—my service rep had to find it).
  • When I began to complain about slow service or I asked for a supervisor, I was often told that Hitachi was doing better than they should have for me. That’s pretty hard to take 6 weeks into a process where I still didn’t have a working TV.
  • None of the service reps I talked with early in the process told me the normal timetable for which repairs are made. If I had been told, my expectations would’ve been lower from the beginning.
  • One service rep told me that they didn’t really get my money anyway. That Best Buy got my money so they would care more than Hitachi.
  • When I asked service reps why I would ever buy Hitachi again, the response was “we make good products” and “we only have a two percent failure rate, which is below the industry average.” I, unfortunately, having called them to get service on a three month old TV was not one that received a good product, but one that feel into the two percent range.

During the ten week ordeal, we did receive good customer service from two Hitachi reps: Vosco and Christopher Wallace. We also got great advice and service above and beyond from our local service rep- H S Electronics. In the end, Best Buy really valued our business and gave us a new upgraded TV with delivery without having to pay anything additional.

I don’t think that a broken TV is the end of the world, but I wanted to commiserate with others who have wanted something so badly and were disappointed when it broke. And then mad when it took almost as long as you had the item to get a replacement. I also wanted to warn others making a big TV purchase that if you fall in the two percent with a Hitachi TV, you are in for a LONG ride.

For a more thorough version of the ordeal, see the full story below.

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