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UPDATED: Why Samsung Can't Replace My Defective Screen

Eric McBride
10

 

(picture of the newtons ring)

WOW. That's all I can say about the response I've received directly from Samsung in regards to the damaged screen on my Galaxy 10.1 Tab. It's no secret that I'm a fan of Samsung products (especially tablets), and I give them a lot of props in my articles. But with a response like this, it saddens me that I have to call them out on a pure case of extremely poor customer service. However, this situation is apparently a lot more complex than what many might think it to be, and legally, Samsung is really in one hell of a legal bind.

Now keep in mind that I live in Berlin Germany, and that Apple recently sued Samsung over the Galaxy Tab 10.1. They basically said that "it looks too much like an iPad“, and the court ruled it needed some design modifications. While I have my thoughts about the outcome of that case, I'll leave that for another time. Anyway, the product was pulled from all shelves in Germany, and forced Samsung to go back to the drawing board to make some design changes to the device. They made the changes, and shortly after it was back on store shelves. The changes were minimal, but in my opinion they were changes that did take away from the original beauty of the tablet.

Now I had been debating a long time on getting either a Motorola Xoom, or a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and in the end I decided for the Samsung model, and I LOVE IT (NICELY DONE SAMSUNG!). I got my tablet literally DAYS before the ban went into effect, so I was lucky enough to get one of the original models. But then, literally weeks later, I noticed a tiny spot in the center of my tab that looked a bit like water had gotten under it. After doing some research, it turned out to be a problem that Samsung is well aware of, as a large number of people who purchased the tab had the same problem (even the model here in our office has it too). It turns out that it's not water under the screen, but something known as a "Newtons Ring“. The issue appears to be caused by heat from the device and becomes worse with prolonged use. Samsung responded by saying:

"Samsung Electronics Philippines Corporation is aware of limited number of customers who have experienced “watermarks” appearing on the screen of theirGALAXY Tab 10.1. Affected customers are encouraged to contact the Samsung customer service center at 5805777 to receive further assistance. Samsung is committed to providing a high-quality experience for its mobile users and fulfilling our complete commitment to customer satisfaction".

"Complete commitment to customer satisfaction“. Fair enough.

Now I personally purchased my Tab from a massive online store called Otto. Great company, and I've dealt with them for years. But when explaining my tab problem, they obviously were unaware of what Samsung stated about the problem and told me "You have either spilt something on the tablet, or used it too much“, which translated is "we won't replace it“ (These guys obvioulsy don't know how much I BABY my Android devices). I then noticed on XDA that from the large amount of people having the issue, many had resolved it by contacting Samsung directly (as Samsung encouraged them to do), and promply got either a new tab, or a newly designed screen that solved the issue. So that's what I did, and here's where it gets bad.

I contacted a colleague of mine here who has direct contacts with Samsung Germany, and sent 2 pictures of the massive ring (have a look at the photo on the top of this article and tell me that spot isn't HUGE) directly to Samsung. I got my hopes up, as I was confident Samsung would replace my practically brand new but defective product. It didn't bother me that I could only see the spot when the tablet was off or had a dark image on it. It was defective, and I wanted it replaced..PERIOD. And now here it is...the response I received directly from Samsung:

" Due to the legal reasons regarding this being the now illegal model and not the new "German version, we cannot directly help in regards to this matter. Otto can reach us on this number (X)“. (The issue is also that Otto, the company I bought it from, is also legally not allowed to replace it with the model I currently have, and I can see I'm gonna have to fight with them to get anything done about this).

Umm....sorry what? Kind of strange to make a statement saying that as a company you're aware of the issue, only then to say that nothing can be done about it? I HATE that Apple won that case in court, but, and to be blunt about it, it's not my fault that it happened. So why am I being punished for it? Am I not legally entitled to a replacement under German consumer law just like EVERY other product I buy? I mean common, if I call a company as massive as Otto and explain to them that Samsung knows about the problem, and that they should contact them under the CONSUMER customer contact number that they will take me seriously?

Now maybe if I had purchased this from a store that I could walk into that it would have been easier. But then again, they could also just say I spilled something on it or used it too much (what is using it too much anyway? I didn't know that screens could be damaged from a few weeks of use..pffffft). But as many products that are purchased online, I didn't think it would be such a huge problem.

All I can say is, this is NOT over. SOMEONE has to LEGALLY replace my tablet. Luckily, I have a temporary solution for the problem that keeps the spot away for weeks at a time now. But every time it comes back, it just angers me that I have to literally go through the process of powering it off, blowing into the connector hole to shrink the ring, put the tablet in the refrigerator for 45 minutes to get it to go away, and then leave it powered off for 24 hours (this works for a few weeks until I have to do it again). I shouldn't have to do that for a product I paid over 600 Euros ( almost 800 US Dollars) for. My condolences for Samsungs legal woes, and I stand behind you 1 million percent in your battle against Apple. But please don't take the results of that battle out on the consumer. There has to be a better way.

UPDATE (April 18th) - Samsung agreed to replace my screen, and I received the tablet back from them a few weeks ago with a note saying the screen was replaced. So far, no spot at all! Thank you Samsung! :-D

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Comments

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  • Alex Jan 30, 2012 Link

    i also bought the gt-p7500 in germany via cyberport in berlin. after one month i got a dead pixel on my tab and returned it to cyberport (they told one pixel is not enough for changing screen but i wanted them to send it in). they sent it to samsung and it took 16 day for changing my screen and to get it back. in this case i must say they have a very good customer support.

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  • Eric McBride Jan 31, 2012 Link

    When exactly did you get your tablet? Was it before or after the ban?

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  • Mat S. Jan 31, 2012 Link

    Hi Eric,
    I just read your article and I hope I can help you out of this situation. The German law says, that if you buy a product and it breaks within the first 6 month, your retailer Otto has to prove that it was your fault that it broke (like letting it fall into water). This is called "Gewährleistung" (google for it, if you need more infomation). If they can't prove that it was your fault (and they wont't because Samsung is aware of the problem), THEY HAVE to fix it or give you a new device. The 6 month period starts with receiving the tablet from the postman. If you called Otto (the first time you did telling them about your problem) within this 6 month period, you can still appeal to it because you made them aware of the problem within the 6 month. If you called them later, there is still a chance of getting out of this. After the 6 month a period starts that is called "Garantie". This period lasts for 2 years. During that time YOU have to prove that you didn't broke your tablet. If you can prove it, Otto also has to fix the problem or give you a new device. (google "garantie" for more infomation).

    Hope this helps.. =)
    Best wishes to you

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  • Eric McBride Jan 31, 2012 Link

    Hi Mat!

    This is a HUGE help! I didnt know all the legal aspects and will look into this ASAP. Thank you very much for the information! I ll let you know what response I receive!

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  • Mat S. Jan 31, 2012 Link

    I'm glad I could help you.
    One more thing: The fact, that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now "illegal" does not affect your right on "Gewährleistung". It was legal the moment you've bought it and that is the important point. Otto might say, that they can only give you the new Galaxy Tab 10.1N or give you your money back because I think they don't have to give you a product that is now illegal. But I'm not sure about that.

    However, I Wish you all the best

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  • Eric McBride Jan 31, 2012 Link

    I thought so! Nice to see someone confirm that. Would like to stay with the model i have, as the 10.1N isnt as sexy to me. But if they offer me the new one I would of course take it.

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  • Mat S. Feb 7, 2012 Link

    hey Eric! Any news from Otto?

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  • Eric McBride Feb 7, 2012 Link

    Hi Mat! Not yet. Im waiting for the spot to pop up again. The last time I got rid of it, its held for a while. Gonna try to leave it on a while until it shows up really big again :-D

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  • Neelan P. Feb 8, 2012 Link

    Hi, Eric

    Mat's right, you purchased it when it was still legal so you're entitled to a replacement of the screen or new model. Overusage? How does one overuse a Tablet that consumes so much power? The unit is designed to withstand that kind of usage. My SGS II gets so hot whilst playing Pocket Legends at times my fingers burn under the screen; Temp reaches + 50°C sometimes. And that's apparently normal.

    Anyways, I would suggest you DON'T mention that you put it in the fridge. They can argue that you caused it by putting it in the fridge and the ring appeared. So it's never been in the Fridge, never even reached a high temperature as you're a modest user always following protocol and a faithful person devoted to the green earth and always give change to beggars... Catch my drift? The warranty will void because you used it outside it's operating temperature. Sure, it can withstand the cold but they're not going to put a thermometer in your fridge to test out how cold it actually is. :-) And electrical devices don't belong in a fridge. Condensation can be a b****.

    Goodluck, Eric. And I enjoy reading your articles. :-) If they still won't replace it, Ombudsman is the only way to go. And do it ASAP.

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  • Eric McBride Feb 8, 2012 Link

    @Neelan - Good point on the fridge thing bro. I never thought of that. And I completely agree on the "overusage" argument. Complete BS.

    Im glad you like the articles! Doing my best to keep them as interesting as I can. I will keep you guys posted on this, and thanks so much for your support!

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