We Got the Bear (Part 1)

by John Delach

Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you.

(Commentator unknown)


Part 1: The Television


Back in October Mary Ann and I finally had it with the HDTV located in our eating /relaxing room, a.k.a. “the new room” circa 1988. The sound quality had been problematic and over time grew more annoying. Inertia delayed taking action until enough was enough and the fact that we needed to replace the dishwasher sent us scurrying to P.C. Richards and Sons, a fairly well-known metropolitan area appliance retailer. Salesman Frank sold us a dishwasher, a 43 inch Samsung Smart HDTV, a stand, HTMI cables and a special device that permitted the television to be smart by connecting it into our wireless router.


Miracle of miracles, we successfully put the stand together, mounted DVD player, cable box and the TV, connected all cables and successfully turned it on (once we realized that the smart device had an on / off switch.) The TV rode on top of the stand on a swivel allowing us to turn it for viewing in different sections of the room.


A potential problem caught my eye as I was assembling the TV legs. Instead of a one piece pedestal base, this model had two wing-like sleds on either side. While they fit onto the swivel, they overhung this platform. This concern was justified a few days later when I went to turn the TV and it started to slide off the swivel. Fortunately, I had both hands free and caught it before it moved too far. “Yikes,” I said to myself, “It is just a question of time before this thing falls.”


I vowed to handle it with two hands going forward but I failed to tell Mary Ann. Sure enough, a couple / three weeks later with both hands busy, she turned it with her hip. Down it went converting the HD screen into a kaleidoscope of colors.


And so the television sat unplugged in the living room until we could return to P.C. Richards. Frank became very defensive when we arrived explaining their warranty didn’t include breakage. “I know that Frank. That’s not why we’re here,” I explained. “First off, we want to replace it, something smaller like a 40 inch and with a pedestal.”


We showed him the store’s circular that included just such a replacement unit. Frank had it in stock and I paid for it the same way as I did the broken one with my Amex Card. (What we realized with the help of Mary Ann’s friend, Dotty, that we most likely had breakage coverage with American Express.) It took me several times to try to explain this to Frank but finally he gave me the name and address of their service and repair facility located in Farmingdale.


Amex confirmed I had the coverage so I dutifully brought the TV to their facility. A nice young man helped me carry it in but felt it was a constructive total loss (CTL) as the cost of parts and labor would exceed the sales price. I replied, “From your lips to God’s ear.”


That afternoon, they asked me to call the service center in an email. I was told the cost of repairs would be $631 for parts and $99.50 labor plus tax. “Can you put that in writing?”


They did. I sent Amex the original sales receipt, the replacement TV sales receipt, the repair estimate all under a covering letter of explanation. Twelve days later Amex confirmed they would credit my account with $456.21 the sales price plus Nassau County’s 8.625% sales tax.


For the record, we won. However, this was but a skirmish for a new struggle just then developing. Stay tuned for Part 2.