To Repair or Replace LCD & LED TVs — That is the Question

To Repair or Replace LCD & LED TVs — That is the Question

TV flat panels are bulky, expensive and generally difficult to deal with.  Panels inventoried years ago to serve as repair replacements are often pricey due to freight, core charges and inventory costs.  As such, the industry has elected to provide whole unit replacements or retail gift cards instead of attempting repairs on TVs under warranty.

Although buyout options may seem on the surface to be the most economical and logical path of least resistance, there are several factors to consider that may warrant reconsideration of panel repair.

Cost – The average TV replacement cost is about $750, but a 50”-65” flat panel TV can be repaired for less than $375 including parts – assuming 20% panel replacement, transportation and labor.  We estimate more than 150,000 TVs are replaced every year that could potentially have been repaired and kept out of the waste stream.  If these estimates are correct, the industry is conservatively losing more than $50 million annually paying out the product value.  Boards are the likely source of a failure more than 75% of the time. Regardless of price, when a panel is required and available, the overall cost of ownership for the warranty will be less.

Brand Displacement – Issuing gift cards as compensation for a defective panel opens the door for consumers to buy competitor products. Manufacturers should do whatever it takes to keep their brand in the customer’s home. Even if you just break even on a panel repair, at least you haven’t risked losing your customer to a competing brand.

Unnecessary Replacements – When troubleshooting a TV failure, inexperienced servicers are likely to opt for the easiest route, which is to simply diagnose a bad panel.  Customers get a new TV (potentially of a different manufacturer brand), and servicers get paid trip charges. However, paying quick trip charges for replacement is just pennies on the dollar compared to potential revenue share of repairing.

Plus, when a panel is truly defective, it’s in the industry’s best interest to support the service network and enable a repair. We must support the system to keep the process healthy; otherwise, we risk creating a market full of waste and service mediocrity.

Environment – E-waste and its toll on human health and the environment is like the kitchen of your favorite restaurant: you know it’s probably not good, but you don’t really want to know. However, the reality is recent reports show that the U.S. generates around 9 million tons of e-waste annually, with TVs making up a great portion of it. Toxic chemicals leaking into landfills and potentially contaminating our drinking water is a real concern, and we should collectively be working to minimize the amount of electronics we discard. Extending the life of TVs by repairing their largest component is one way to achieve this.

This trend toward replacement is unnecessarily costing manufacturers and underwriters millions of dollars annually in warranty reimbursements while negatively impacting our environment. It’s potentially affecting brand loyalty among consumers, and it’s weakening the service industry.  Let’s reevaluate what is truly the proper behavior to minimize replacement; boost repairs to grow company profits; improve product brand equity; fuel the service community and keep our environment healthy. If TV replacement accounts for 15% of your repairs or more, it’s time to take a deep dive analysis into your processes.

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Comments (8)

  • William Dravenstott Reply

    Black Friday 55″ 4K units are being touted at 350 on our local TV station already. Where is a more than a total 200 cost of repair going to happen? We have been conditioned to replace our phones every year or two and TVs are also considered a disposable items. I don’t hold out much hope for any improvement soon. Poor quality TVs, unavailable parts, or too pricey parts have doomed many possible repairs we see. We tout fix it don’t pitch it, but in reality less than 30% are leaving our shop repaired

    October 5, 2016 at 4:01 pm
  • Robert Coolidge Reply

    The blog was really focused more on the Tier 1 brands: Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, etc. Brands such as Insignia, RCA, and other lower priced brands will continue to be disposable. However, even if the cost of repair could equal the replacement, it is still best to repair the unit to avoid brand displacement and landfill implications. Most major brands – TCL, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sony, LG, Samsung and Vizio – all have parts available. We know, because we sell over $50M a year in TV parts.

    October 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm
  • christian dunlap Reply

    Robert
    we repair TV’s, have been for 10 years. we also buy parts from you as well. repairing panels depends on what is wrong with them, tcon or backlight array’s. these are the 2 most common parts needed.
    tcon’s are hard to find, backlight array’s need to be replaced in a cleaner environment than a customer home. we have noticed panels are more expensive than just replacing the tv.
    encompass needs to expand parts needed for this area, especially tconn’s. your website is missing many models for parts, when we asked about this we were told we are working on it.
    especially Samsung.
    plasma’s need bottom buffer boards, hard to come by as well.

    October 10, 2016 at 12:15 pm
    • Kristin Hurst Reply

      We looked into this further for you, Christian, and wanted to let you know we are currently working on adding missing models (and all their versions) to our database. Soon we will have most of the missing gaps in the model lineup filled and searches will be more productive for our customers. We are also working on streamlining the models we display and cleaning up unnecessary duplications to limit confusion. As far as the individual panel parts that we offer for each specific model, we are basically at the discretion of the manufacturer in regard to OEM replaceable panel parts. However, we are able to source some missing items as aftermarket for out-of-warranty repairs. If ever you are looking for a part not listed on the site, please submit an inquiry via our Parts Research contact form for further help.

      October 10, 2016 at 4:33 pm
  • Ralph Tamayo Reply

    Excellent post, I agree 100%

    October 10, 2016 at 2:53 pm
  • Mark Fallone Reply

    Dear Mr. Coolidge.
    I’m a veteran television producer based in Pittsburgh. When my 55″ 4K set developed issues last weekend, I turned to Encompass as a solo consumer simply trying to get his coveted television back on its feet.
    Your team was responsive, efficient and got the part to me as promised at a fair price.
    Tonight, I’m watching 4K once again and grateful for the Ecompass solution.
    Reading your blog this evening, opened my eyes to a lot of the issues consumers, prosumers and professionals face today with a variety of monitors and home models much like those I use at home and on set.
    What does one when the television poses problems that could be terminal in nature?
    Why do we so quickly turn to and easy disposal and yet one more concession to buying “another” disposable appliance?
    Moreover, the stats that indicate that our country alone “generates around 9 million tons of e-waste annually” is staggering and frightening.
    Using your grand metaphor- maybe it’s time to find a new restaurant.
    Thank you for the great insights. Your blog subject would make for a great content marketing piece and even a documentary.
    Again. Many thanks for product support and best wishes to your leadership team and employees.
    Fingers crossed that my 4K stays healthy.
    Mark

    November 4, 2016 at 2:27 am
    • Robert Coolidge Reply

      We appreciate the positive feedback, Mark!

      November 4, 2016 at 4:58 pm
  • Ridley Fitzgerald Reply

    I appreciate the tips for repairing and replacing a TV. I wouldn’t have even thought about it, but it makes sense that we can reduce e-waste by repairing TVs. My TV has some issues right now, so maybe I will Youtube some videos on how to fix it.

    March 24, 2017 at 4:25 pm

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