It is rare for me to post a follow up to a review. However, this time I am left with no choice. Remember the television I reviewed? It was a fairly positive review; despite a few annoying glitches, I found the TV to be excellent value for money. Well, apparently, there’s a clear cut reason why this television set is cheap. Read and weep.The w1700 television from Dell suffers from a serious problem. It is a very common issue, as you can see by the replies on this forum – and trust me, this is not the only forum where this is discussed. The problem lies in Dell using a very cheap and badly made backlight inverter board; this board breaks down easily, leaving you with a black screen. Sound works, but that is it. This happened to the TV today.
After a quick browse around, I found that LCDpart.com sells a replacement backlight inverter board tailor made for the Dell w1700. However, this joke will set you back – gasp – USD 80. On top of that, you have to replace the board manually. While I am not scared of getting my hands dirty on these sorts of matters, I have always had a certain fear of working with monitors, tube TVs, and LCDs. They appear so fragile.
So, this is a common problem. It happens to many w1700 TVs; so many, that a third party actually sells – it even has them in stock – replacement boards. How does Dell fit into this? How do they respond? Surely, they have a replacement program, similar to what they (and many others) do with, for instance, laptop batteries? Well, you guessed wrong.
Read the Dell customers forums for the w1700 TV, and weep (this FAQ post comes from a Dell employee). They actually have the nerve to refer you back to the the LCDPart website, to the same replacement board as described above – meaning you are forced to pay USD 80 to manually fix their crappy engineering!
I was perplexed. I was angry as well. Not for myself; I got this television as a review item, so it did not cost me a penny. No, I feel anger because of all those people out there who bought this TV, even though Dell knew it had a faulty board in it.
It is perfectly acceptable, in my book, for equipment to be faulty sometimes; statistically it is almost impossible to produce goods without some error margin. However, when you know your product has a problem, fix it. Provide a replacement program. That is the correct course of action. Certainly, you do not send paying customers to a third party website where they must spend 80 USD on a DIY kit for replacing delicate electronic components!
The OSNews Top Tip for today: when purchasing relatively delicate technology, do not be a scrooge, and spend a few Dollars or Euros more on quality. No, really. Do it.