Sharp Stands Behind Its Product
Just when I was about to ship my four-year-old Sharp LC-32D4U to my parents, who are still using an analog TV, the 32-inch TV's speakers went silent. According to this guy, the problem is "a design flaw by Sharp in which the silicon grease they used to cool the audio IC tends to break down and melt after a couple years, shorting out the audio." I've spent this week reviewing a JVC sound bar, so at least I didn't have to do without my local 10 o'clock newscast--the TV's analog line output still worked well enough to feed a signal to the bar. But I wanted to fix the TV before it went off to its new home. My parents have been good to me. I didn't want to send them a less than fully functional TV.
So I called Sharp. The set was out of warranty. But because the problem is a known manufacturing defect, I got a free repair. Instead of asking me to ship the set to a service center, the company sent a technician to my home. He got busy on the rug (though I offered to clear a desk). The sound board was buried deep inside the set, so the repairman's power screwdriver whizzed and whizzed, but eventually I smelled the chemical aroma of the new grease on the new board and the set was soon back in business. I'm very impressed with Sharp. This is a company that stands behind its products. I never even identified myself as an editor of this magazine--this is apparently how Sharp would treat any consumer with the same problem.
I had a similarly positive experience with Canon when the imaging sensor of my SD200 camera gave up the ghost after three years of use. When I phoned tech support, I was told this was another manufacturing defect and was offered two alternatives. Either the company would sell me a more recent model for the low-low-low price of $100 or it would repair the old one for nothing. Since the old one had accompanied me to Venice, Copenhagen, Vienna, and a few of my other favorite places, it had a certain sentimental value and I asked for the repair. Canon later notified me that the repair wouldn't be possible after all and sent a new SD1000 for nothing. So I went from two to seven megapixels practically overnight. Here's another company that stands behind its products. That's commendable.