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Australian courts fine LG $110,000 for misleading consumers about burn-in

By mongeese · 33 replies
Sep 7, 2019
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  1. The two customers both contacted LG hoping for help, but they were told on the phone that LG’s warranties don’t cover burn-in. At the time this was explicitly stated in LG’s warranty manual, justified on the assumption that burn-in could not occur during regular use, which was clearly false. LG subsequently updated their policies to replace burn-in under warranty in certain circumstances in 2016. Back in 2013, however, the two customers had taken the issue to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

    The case made it to the Federal Court in 2015, with the ACCC alleging LG misrepresented the law. Australian law specifies that products be “safe, lasting and with no faults,” and notably, “match any demonstration model or sample you asked for.” The TVs in question had been displayed in-store with no burn-in, and after one year of normal use, should be expected to function the same. An unfavorable ruling for LG and an AU$160,000 ($110,000) fine has been imposed.

    “Consumer guarantee rights are separate to warranties offered by manufacturers and will always be available to consumers who find they have been sold a faulty product,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said. “The Court’s decision is a reminder that making misleading statements about consumer guarantee rights, even to only one or two consumers, can result in penalties being imposed.”

    LG’s LED televisions are now generally considered burn-in resilient, though their OLED line-up, which is steadily replacing the older LEDs, is certainly criticized for the flaw on a regular basis. For reasons related or otherwise, OLED sales have kept growing but at a slower pace than anticipated. Half a million units were sold in the first half of 2017, 1.1 million units sold in the first half of 2018, and 1.3 million units are expected to have been sold in the first half of this year.

    Correction: A previous revision of this article affirmed that the TVs suffering from burn-in were of OLED variety, LG has confirmed that this case refers to a separate LED technology, not OLED.

    LG statement: An LG representative reached out to us to clarify that it has always been LG policy to support Australian law and that the error of ignoring Australian law was only made by a small number of call center employees. The court deemed these “were cases of understandable human error” and no “widespread or systematic program of LG misleading consumers” was present.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,710   +4,047

    Burn-In is a long forgotten symptom of the original B&W and single color monitors (especially green). To see it returning is certainly not a good sign but apparently one of the drawbacks of these brighter LED televisions. What amazes me is that is so many OTHER countries that now lead the way on consumer protection. The USA has fallen behind in so many categories I worry we will soon be thought of as a 3rd world country of the modern technology world .....
    p51d007 likes this.
  3. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 565   +278

    Checkout the display model at your local Target. They are burnt in like crazy.

    Too bad too, great looking picture.

    Standard LED should continue to be king until they can alleviate the issues. Maybe they need to enable more pixel shifting? The later plasma models had much less IR issues than 1st gens and I think it had to do with the behind the scenes work the TV was doing to manipulate the pixels. Should now be easier and less noticeable too with 4x the pixel count bs 1080p.

    Do yourselves a favor if in the market for a new TV, stick to Sony 900F+, samsung QLED or LG NanoLED for good pq at a “more affordable” price
  4. BorisMcKennedy

    BorisMcKennedy TS Rookie

    Wrong - once you've lived with OLED everything else is inferior. You'll never go back.

    Under normal use, burn in is becoming less of an issue.
    OptimumSlinky and Ludak021 like this.
  5. Nitrotoxin

    Nitrotoxin TS Addict Posts: 143   +96

    LG is not an american company...lol It's Taiwan based <_<
  6. Morris Minor

    Morris Minor TS Addict Posts: 122   +62

    Did they fix the issue with the colour blue then? seemed just as important as the burn-in
  7. mosu

    mosu TS Evangelist Posts: 508   +122

  8. mosu

    mosu TS Evangelist Posts: 508   +122

    Wrong, it's from South Korea.
    seeprime likes this.
  9. Nocturne

    Nocturne TS Maniac Posts: 215   +110

    Personally I ended up getting the Samsung QLED 40inch Frame 2019 4k60htz/2k120htz VRR HDR HDTV for my office for use with consoles and my PC, picked it up on sale for about $1k and tbh it's perfect, works amazing for steam especially console gaming.
  10. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 955   +454

    One thing LG MUST tell people who wanna buy their OLED TV is that there is a chance of that happening.
    And then, I think it is fair that anybody still buying it should deal with this issue themselves.
    There is a price for newest and most advance to pay.
    And if governments slap fines on every company, who will keep developing and making new amazing things?
    As for LG, cant they come up with hardcoded refresh screen app and mandatory turn of after X amount of hours stuck on the same picture or X amount of hours of TV playing?

    And I understand that all these dont sound very exciting. But what else to do if the technology just isn't there yet?
  11. toooooot

    toooooot TS Evangelist Posts: 955   +454

    I have had a Samsung Highend led TV for some time. With rich black and pure whjite whites, I am confident I can wait till burn in is solved with newer models.
    yRaz likes this.
  12. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,069   +1,322

    Worked in a tv shop in the 70's while in HS...saw it all the time.
  13. koblongata

    koblongata TS Addict Posts: 226   +71

    OLED is just wrong, it's organic, organic stuff needs extra care or it dies. Plants, alright, but I really don't want to take care of my TV like a plant.
  14. brucek

    brucek TS Maniac Posts: 201   +224

    It maybe that OLED has advanced to the point where few customers will have a problem with reasonable use, or even somewhat unreasonable use. In this scenario LG might decide to eat the cost of replacing a handful of models that were abnormally susceptible (which they always should), and even the ones damaged from customer abuse (which is more debatable.)

    In world where OLED had made less advances, I'm not sure how this law would work out for Australians. It seems to be saying that no product that can be damaged from customer lack of care can be sold in that country. Under that rule, I wouldn't see any choice but for OLED to be pulled entirely from the Austrialian market, which IMO would not be a win for that vast majority of customers who would have enjoyed them n and had no problem with them.
  15. raydpratt007

    raydpratt007 TS Rookie

    Many years ago, I worked at a call center which provided customer service for customers of Verizon's pre-paid service plans (as opposed to plans billed monthly). One of the phones that Verizon offered was the LG Extravert. The phone had a glitch where its memory capacity would slowly fill up and render the phone useless for anything other than making or receiving calls. Customers would not learn of this until it happened, and their refund periods would have expired with retailers like Walmart. LG created a solution that could be used online to fix the problem, but it actually only re-extended the problem, and the problem kept recurring. LG did not offer any refunds, and the customer simply got screwed. As a customer service agent, I would find ways to give the customers enough phone-service credit to cover the cost of the LG Extravert, and I would advise the customers to get a new brand and model of phone. For me personally, I will never buy any LG products, and this story about their TV's just drives the point home.
    Jules Mark likes this.
  16. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,973   +2,303

    Well maybe if people watered their TVs burn in would be less of an issue
    Odium, bea108, loki1944 and 2 others like this.
  17. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 531   +393

    I bought an RCA 65inch LED last year. Burn in is a real thing! Had this happen twice while leaving my TV for a long period long time and had to turn off the TV for a while and it fixed my issue's. Seems to happen with text words and I could literally read the burn in words on from before! Almost like carbon paper when writing invoices for a customer.
  18. koblongata

    koblongata TS Addict Posts: 226   +71

    Shocking revelation.
    Odium and Clynt like this.
  19. Ludak021

    Ludak021 TS Member Posts: 49   +19

    You don't want to properly shut down TV when you are not using it, you just yank the power out of the socket? Of course you don't.
    Those Aussies either didn't ever turn off tv and just ran one or two channels or they are lying( that's hard to prove of course unless they didn't mess with service menu that will show SoT and destroy their "normal use" argument). Most users don't have any burn in over years of "normal" use.

    Then again, it's Australia...
  20. Toju Mikie

    Toju Mikie TS Addict Posts: 107   +123

    We'll see after people own these televisions for 5+ years. OLED is also a big issue for phones too. After a year, people might notice slight permanent image retention on their phone with the notification bar. At least the screen can be replaced on a phone, but on a TV, well...
    loki1944 and ZackL04 like this.
  21. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 565   +278

    Says the guy who doesnt know what hes talking about and hasnt seen a Sony Z9G or 950G or a Samsung Q8 or Q9.

    OLED looks great with the lights off watching The Dark Knight, but during the day, with the curtains open, it cant get as bright. And HDR burns your eyes on a LED vs just meh on an OLED.

    The high end LED TV’s tech is astounding, because its so old and perfected now.

    I mainly watch sports or cartoons with my kids. Im not looking to have image retention from the score of a game or espn ticker or disney jr banner
    TeddyBallgame likes this.
  22. loki1944

    loki1944 TS Maniac Posts: 227   +147

    Thing is, my 2008 and 2009 Vizios have had 0 burn-in or other issues in a decade. 2014 LG no issues. 2015 Samsungs, no issues. None of these are plasma or oled. What's inferior to me is a product that has this many issues while the bar for dependability has already been set.
  23. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Addict Posts: 144   +67

    We had that problem with our LG OLED. Being trapped in the house with no watchable TV, life became a living nightmare. We were forced to go out and see *people* and *do* things.

    Then one day one of the kids' friends said, "do you mind if I shut the curtains so I can watch some TV?" It was a revelation to us! The TV suddenly became watchable, and we were no longer forced out of the house! In retrospect, we all felt a bit silly, but hindsight is 20-20 of course, easy to see the solution when it's pointed out. Still, our experience may help others, so posting this reply!
  24. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Guru Posts: 565   +278

    Ur funny, I said it cant get as bright, as in, peak nits vs LED
  25. Jules Mark

    Jules Mark TS Enthusiast Posts: 59   +22

    This reminds me of my 40" Samsung LCD I bought 14 years ago for 2000$. After 2-3 years of use, it make this unusual clicking sound , it toke longer and longer to turn on and finally one day, it would not turn on at all.

    I've try to contact FutureShop customer service but they said it is out of warranty so I have to pay them ~270$ CAD for repairs. Way too expensive, so I did some research online to see anyone else got the same problem. Turns out this problem is much, MUCH more widespread than I could imagine.

    Some people had the same model as mine and they found Samsumg was using under-spec capacitors in some models. They use a 12v capacitors instead of 15v capacitors. What it means is the capacitors got more current, heats up and age more rapidly. Most will die after only 2 years of normal use.

    And what worst, some people get help from the repairman but the repairman also uses 12v capacitors even when the circuit board saids USE 15v capacitors!! So the problem persist, the tv's will be dead after a 2 years and Samsung keeps denying they have a problem!

    It almost the same thing that happen with their top loading washing machine, Samsung denied any wrong doing but they send a nice looking sticker that tells you not to use the highest setting!!

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