Thursday, January 3, 2013

Think Twice Before Purchasing an Element Electronics TV

So far I have owned two of the Element 26 inch TVs (Model ELCFW261) that I purchased from Walmart online, and both have had total failure of the control boards that allow the TV to operate with the remote or the control buttons on the casing. The first lasted only five days before failing, the replacement lasted 3 weeks. Not surprisingly, these units are no longer even listed for sale on the Walmart website. Whether that is because they are out of stock, or because Walmart realized there is a problem with those particular models, and pulled them from the online store, is not something the average consumer is ever likely to know.

However, based on personal experience, this problem is not limited to just this particular model. The Element 40 inch TV (Model ELDFW407) that I had purchased a few months ago in my local Walmart store has recently also started to act up with the same type of problems, although so far, instead of a total and permanent failure of the remote and control button functions, turning off the TV and letting it sit for a half day or so seems to allow it to start working properly once again. I have no doubt that eventually this 'fix' will no longer be effective, and I will have to deal with warranty issues on this one as well.***

The sad part is that these TV's, had they been reliable, are in all other respects, an excellent balance of picture quality, performance, and price. But the quality of the components used, and the high rate of failure (3 out of 3) indicates that Element has some serious QC issues in their production process.

I made a mistake in replacing the first defective ELCFW261 with an identical model, assuming that it was an understandable random defect. Now that all three Element TVs have exhibited the exact same problems, it appears to me that it is more likely that there is an inherent design flaw/defect with the electrical components that handle the remote and control button functions in more than one model of Element TV products. I will not be replacing them with another product from Element, and feel compelled to describe these events as a warning to potential purchasers that, based on my experiences, there is a high chance of getting a defective product when purchasing this brand.

I have no idea if the extended warranty that I purchased for the second 26 inch ELCFW261 can be transferred to a different product**, but I am certain I am not going to opt for a fourth Element product as a replacement at this point, since it now has become the second Element TV that I will have to return to Walmart in less than a month.

Next up, I'm sure I'm going to be finding out in the near future just how good the manufacturer's warranty and Walmart's Extended Warranty plan is on the 40 inch ELDFW407 that I purchased in the store.

**Walmart did inform me that Extended Warranty Plans are non-transferable, but they did promptly refund the price of the Extended Warranty that I had purchased for the ELCFW261 when I contacted them about it.

***The day after this blog entry was posted, the Element 40 inch TV  (Model ELDFW407) had a complete failure exactly as described for the two 26 inch models. I'll be updating this blog with details as to how expeditiously Element handles the warranty process.

To be clear, Walmart and it's employees have given excellent customer service throughout this whole ordeal, and are certainly not responsible for the quality of the products produced by Element.

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