LG and Square Trade: Never again
*** Warning: Lengthy Consumer Rant ***
This is a smart LG television (OLED55B8PUA, 2018 model):
This is the 13-page Square Trade extended warranty on that television:
I strongly suggest you not buy either.
I purchased this tv in January 2019. The picture is spectacular. No complaints until sometime late last year, I’d guess, when occasionally the onscreen program guide would not populate. The form would appear, but the space for program titles just said “loading” or “no information.” Eventually, one way or another, it usually fixed itself. Meanwhile, my Xfinity remote would (and still does) pull up the Comcast program guide, so I just make do with two remotes.
Earlier this year, however, the LG program guide failed again and there seemed to be no way to get it back. To be precise, LG occasionally automatically (with my prior approval) downloads software updates to their tvs. After each of these you have to navigate to and approve the “User Agreement” for everything to take effect. The last time this happened, I could not download the User Agreement. This, apparently, was the reason my “auto channel tuning” wouldn’t work and the program guide wouldn’t populate. So, failing to find a solution online, I called LG support on May 5.
After some conversation with an LG tech and a lengthy, tedious troubleshooting routine on the tv, his conclusion was (and I quote from the transcript of our conversation):
“Problem is the software controlling the mainboard is bad ,the mainboard will need to be replaced. I can provide you with information on how to do that …”
By then I was too exhausted from all the troubleshooting to pursue the matter. In the course of our closing conversation, however, the tech did recommend I buy a Samsung next time because LGs have a lot of problems. That was after I mentioned that my previous smart tv, a Samsung, had worked perfectly for 8 years and I replaced it only to get a larger screen.
A few weeks later I remembered I’d purchased an extended warranty on the LG tv from Square Trade (both purchased from Amazon), and decided to pursue the issue.
Knowing the manufacturer’s warranty had expired, I started with Square Trade this time (June 11, per my phone log). The process began by establishing a claim ID online. Eventually I found myself talking to “Jason” (who knows if those anonymous voices on the phone use their real names). More troubleshooting and then a transfer to “John,” a tech at LG.
John had no record of my call back in May, so we launched once again into the troubleshooting routine. Let me note here for those of you who don’t have smart tvs: They are basically just computers with big screens attached. On mine there is a list of 7 different menus controlling picture, sound, network, etc., and each of those menus has several submenus. Troubleshooting entails following instructions step by step to get to different submenus and change the specified settings to see what happens. Depending on what happens or doesn’t happen, more instructions follow. All this after the usual computer fixes: unplug and replug the device, the router, etc.
After perhaps 20 or 30 minutes, with my tv settings a complete mess, John finally realizes that hey, the LG warranty is expired. You should be talking to Square Trade. Meanwhile, all this time I thought ST’s Jason had been listening in on the “conference” call, but no, he wasn’t there. I’ll switch you back, says LG’s John, signing off. (By now we were barely being polite with each other because I was confused and he was impatient.) So the phone call back to ST began ringing … and ringing … and ringing. Frustrated and angry beyond words, I finally hung up. And then spent about an hour getting my tv and Xbox settings back to where they were before all the expert “help.”
If you’re a real glutton for punishment, keep reading. I’m about to launch Chapter 2 of this saga.
In late June, for some reason, I was in a particularly calm and confident mood, perhaps because the weather was notably cooler, and I decided to give it one more try. I gathered all my notes, reviewed everything that had transpired before, took a deep breath, and called Square Trade.
“Huzaisah” (sp?) took the call and I launched into the story. Claim ID number, model number, serial number, and SMC code (whatever that is) gleaned from the label on the back of the wall-mounted tv. Let’s do some troubleshooting, says he. No, absolutely not doing that again, says I. Well, says ST, sounds like it might be a software problem and we’ll need to talk to an LG tech on a conference call.
Enter LG’s “Sam.” Immediately we’re in trouble. Sam has no record of my previous calls. And although my phone log says the last exchange was on June 11, ST thinks it was June 12 (At this point I wasn’t going to argue about the date). And no, I will not go through the troubleshooting routine again!!
At this point my notes, with all the names and arrows, get a bit confusing, but I think maybe ST’s “Daniel” is now on the line with Sam and me. Bottom line, the two of them end up trying to negotiate a deal of some sort. ST says the problem is software and their warranty doesn’t cover software (news to me). LG says it’s hardware, but their manufacturer’s warranty has expired. LG can refer me to an authorized service center near me who will send out a tech to examine the tv and decide what the problem is. Will LG pay for the service call? No. LG asks ST if they’ll pay for it. No.
Right about then I hung up on their discussion, too disgusted for words.
Oh, I did eventually go back and poke around online again, looking for solutions. Seems LG’s “can’t download User Agreement” problem goes back to at least 2017!
And I did scour the 13 pages of mouseprint and finally found the exclusion that apparently Square Trade is hanging their hat on:
That’s the only mention of software I could find, and I interpret that as meaning if LG’s software “updates” cause the problem, the ST warranty won’t cover it.
Did I mention you shouldn’t buy an LG tv? Did I mention you shouldn’t buy a Square Trade warranty?
Yeah. Don’t. Just don’t.
Note: A few days later, after consulting the internet yet again and trying several suggested solutions to the problem, I made a wee bit of progress. One of the suggestions mentioned disconnecting the tv from my existing home wifi and trying a different one. So I fired up a hotspot on my phone, changed the tv’s wifi to the hotspot, and did somehow manage to download a User Agreement, which I promptly agreed to. I then switched the tv back to my home wifi. The signed User Agreement was and is still in place, but the program guide croaked again the next day and remains as seen above.
(Kudos to you if you actually read this entire post!)