By Kurtis Ming

CARMICHAEL (CBS13) — The Johnson family bought a 55″ HDTV that came with a warranty for in-home service, but when the TV broke and no one would come to their home, it was time to Call Kurtis.

The manufacturer, Westinghouse Digital, said they would have to ship the TV back, but the family doesn’t think that’s right.

Alexandra Johnson said nine month after buying it, her family is forced to watch a smaller TV now sitting front of their newer Westinghouse — because the big screen stopped turning on.

“No picture,” she said. “No sound.”

The Westinghouse limited one-year warranty says TVs 46″ or greater are “eligible for domestic in-home diagnostic and warranty services.”

But Westinghouse wouldn’t come to the Johnsons’ apartment — instead sending a prepaid shipping label to return the TV for replacement.

One problem: The Johnsons’ no longer have the TV’s giant box.

“It’s almost the size of a twin mattress,” Alexandra said.

Westinghouse refuses to send them one.

Professionally packing a TV of this size could a hundred bucks or more — information Call Kurtis confirmed with a local shipper.

“I think it’s just insane that this is my responsibility,” she said.

We showed the warranty to McGeorge contract law professor Brian Slocum.

“The company’s position is not clear,” he said.

He zeroed in on the part where it said consumers are “eligible” for in home service.

Does that mean they have to come to your home?

“To me that means it’s at the consumer option,” he said.

Westinghouse confirmed to us it stopped in-home service saying it’s faster just to replace broken TVs.

As for the box issue: “Don’t throw out the box. … It’s industry standard” consumers send back defective TVs,” the company said. “Millions of people do it every year in America. That’s the way it goes.”

But we worked it out where Westinghouse would send the replacement TV first, and let the Johnsons’ use the box to ship back the defective one.

Alexandra said this will be their last Westinghouse TV.

“You can’t just make up things as you go,” she said.

The lesson here: Hold onto that box if you can. Some warranties require you to use the original box, although this one didn’t mention the box specifically.

Westinghouse claims it made a special exception here.


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