Here’s the problem with smart TVs that I had never thought of: they depend heavily on the remote controls that come in the box. That’s a lesson that Michael has learned the hard and expensive way. The “magic” remote that came with his 47-inch LG smart TV won’t work. That’s not very magical. Years ago, if your remote control didn’t work, the worst-case scenario was that you would have to get up off your rear end to adjust the volume or change the channel. In the case of Michael’s TV, he can’t use any of the Internet features without that specific remote. You know, the thing that distinguishes a smart TV from other, stupider TVs. Update: LG is sending Michael a new television.
Here is his sad tale:
I purchased the “LG Cinema Screen 47LM6700 47-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 120Hz LED-LCD HDTV with Smart TV and Six Pairs of 3D Glasses” from Amazon.com for $894.99 (paid for with a combination of American Express points and money – see attached invoice).
Despite my brother-in-laws fanatical endorsement of everything Samsung, after seeing that the recent crop of good reviews of LG TVs at Amazon and other sources, the Cinema Screen with Magic Remote seemed like a great value with its internet connectivity and well-reviewed screen.
After one false start (our first TV arrived with a cracked screen), when we finally had our new TV set up, things were great. We were watching YouTube videos on our TV, and we could’t stop gawking at the quality of the image as compared to our old TV.
Then our Magic Remote lost its mojo sometime in August.
The Magic Remote is the key to the functionality of this unit. If it doesn’t work, you actually have to get up from the couch to turn the TV on and off, and to control the volume! Without the Magic Remote, using the internet features becomes impossible to use (this was one of the selling points of the unit). Additionally, you cannot download firmware updates to your unit if the remote does not work.
I called LG and they sent me a replacement Magic Remote.
After struggling to get the remote to registered, even consulting this You Tube video, we got our replacement remote to work.
It worked until about October when our replacement Magic Remote stopped working.
This is when our appointment hell to get a technician to fix our TV began.
LG sent one of their own technicians out to our house in October. At first he didn’t know what to do (he kept on doing all of the stuff in the You Tube video to register the remote). He even called technical support that lectured him on the process that he and the video had lectured me on. Finally, he took at a major part in the back of the TV. Voila! The Magic Remote works again. It worked for a few weeks, but then, despite multiple battery checks and re-registrations of the remote, it stops working.
I call LG, ask that they send someone over ASAP. We make an appointment. My wife makes sure she is there, no one shows up. LG says they have no record that there was going to be an appointment – they look into their system and find that they can dispatch someone to our house the same week, but it would be a third party service. Date is confirmed, plan my schedule to be home in the afternoon so that a third-party service called [Redacted] TV will be there. I get a phone call from [the repair shop], I am told that they do not honor the dates that LG provides to customers and that it would need to order parts first before it sends anyone else.
Finally, [Redacted] arrives at my house last week, technician disassembles the TV, determines that none of the parts he has ordered would be sufficient to fix the TV. At that point, I was done with this TV. I thought it was time for everyone to finally give up on this unit, and just start over. I called Amazon, for about five minutes, they were going to replace the unit – I was ecstatic – then the the customer service rep said, sorry, he was mistaken, Amazon could not take it back at this point.
I finally asked for some type of supervisory support when I called LG. I forwarded a copy of my sales invoice to [redacted], who said she would be submitting a request to the department that authorizes replacement units. She didn’t sound optimistic that a replacement would be approved as I now have a pending appointment with [the repair place].
I don’t trust this unit, the mysterious “Magic Remote” or the folks who have been sent out to fix my TV.
I think the right thing for LG to do at this point would to give me choice by either reimbursing me for the cost of my TV so that I can buy another or by providing me a replacement (possibly non-Magic Remote) TV and ensuring that the set does not have the same problems this one has.
That seems pretty reasonable, which is why LG probably won’t do it. This situation seems ripe for a suit in small claims court.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.