Broken Monitor Still Under Warranty, But Samsung Won't Fix It, Because You Don't Live In Canada

from the blame-canada dept

A guy who bought a Samsung monitor at a Sam's Club in St. Louis, Missouri, had it stop working after a couple years. He found the model number, and saw that it was supposed to have a three year warranty, so he called Samsung. Samsung is refusing to fix it, claiming that the monitor is Canadian and the warranty only works in Canada, unless he has his receipt from two years ago as proof of purchase. It's not clear why Sam's Club was selling Canadian monitors, but should it really matter?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Cross-border purchasing

    It matters (from the practical point of view) because you're dealing with two separate companies, specifically Samsung Electronics U.S.A. and Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. The legalities of warranties, guarantees, etc, work differently/are different in US and in Canada. The warranty products for Canadian markets are legally warrantiued by the Canadian subsidiary of Samsung and the same applies to US markets.
    I'm not sure if this is the way it works in US but in Canada if I bring a Samsung product I bought in Korea it still wouldn't be repaired on warranty because Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. did not issue said warranty.

    On a related note: There is nothing legal that really barres the companies from servicing the equipment. They can easily announce that the products bought from a foreign subsidiary would be covered by the warranty. In fact, until not that long ago all car manufacturers would honour the warranty of new cars bought in US by Canadians for use in Canada. They stopped doing that when the $USD and $CDN became almost at par and many Canadians went to US to buy cars (they are waaaaay cheaper south of the border). About 2 years ago a fully loaded Subaru Outback was selling in Canada for $39K-$40K. A friend of mine bought the identical car from a dealer in upstate New York for $25K.
    My guess is that those big companies set up local subsidiaries in part in order to protect local markets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 3:56pm

    Good grief!

    Why didn't they just give the guy the phone number of Samsung USA?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    Terms & Conditions are the antithesis of Customer Service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:06pm

    D-Link does the exact same thing. Same model equipment, same company.. different sites, different support. If your serial does not match the country, you're screwed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:07pm

    Re: Good grief!

    Samsung USA is highly unlikely to cover the warranty of the "Canadian" product. Samsung Canada will not cover the warranty of the product sold and/or used in USA. In fact, the more interesting question is why was Sam's Club, a company that doesn't even exist as an entity in Canada, was selling the Canadian market products. Is that even legal?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    In this case I will side with the manufacturer.
    Just because it would be a nightmare to the legal department to have to honour claims all over the world.

    Unless of course you are Rolls Royce and offer a warranty that covers the entire globe no matter where you are, of course if you are in a colony on Mars you may be out of luck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Michael, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    I'd guess it has to do with how Samsung deals with subsidiaries. For instance, look at cameras. If you buy a Nikon product not imported by the local company, they won't service it. They didn't get the revenue for it, so they don't want to lose for the service on it. In fact, it's commonly advertised on US camera sites if an item is grey market or "properly" imported.

    It also serves as a way to force people to pay higher prices by only buying via the approved importers. If one local company decides to do something different, it can't impact the other ones. In this case, perhaps Sam's Club got some sort of good deal because a Canadian company was forced to dump a lot of inventory?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    JC (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    Still Bad Customer Service

    This is an interesting issue considering how many large companies do business globally. Even if technically, the two Samsungs are different business entities, the Samsung internal structure is irrelevant to the consumer.

    If a company is going to use its brand, its technology, marketing, partner networks, etc. to its advantage in selling products/services, then it needs to treat customers with the same united face that it presented when selling them the product in the first place.

    If I buy a Samsung product, I'm buying Samsung not Sony. I should be able to expect that Samsung will honor my purchase uniformly, wherever I am. I wouldn't expect Sony to honor it because Sony is obviously a different company--but Sumsung is Samsung.

    This is an example of poor customer service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:56pm

    Is it just me?

    Or does it make sense that if I buy a product from company X and I move someplace else where company X has a presence (or subsidiary) that company X would be more than happy to service my warranty?

    This is the exact point where Marketing professionals and Customer Service professionals (like myself) disagree on how to handle the customer experience.

    The short of it comes down to Marketing people get paid to attract new customers with huge budgets AND they get paid significantly more money than Customer Service people. Customer Service is all about helping the customer and KEEPING them as a customer. Well, if Customer Service is rock solid and the customer base is happy they tell their friends and actually attract more customers. Guess whose budget gets cut when you don't have to spend more marketing money?

    And that is why you see and hear more complaints from more customers across the consumer markets, in general. Do you know what you don't see a shortage of? Advertising. Check your favorite website - you'll see it there too unless you installed software to filter them out which you probably found because of advertising in the first place.

    Good quality products and solid customer service SHOULD be the cornerstone to any company but in this age of disposable products and engineered obsolescence the customer has also become disposable unfortunately.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Nicolas Martin, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 4:58pm

    Sam’s Club’s policy

    But Sam’s Club has a lifetime return policy that would cover this monitor, they will replace it with something newer.

    It is likely that Sam’s bought it gray market, and Samsung is not on the hook to repair an item sold in a country where the warranty doesn’t apply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:06pm

    Samsung sucks

    Samsung sucks. I "thought" I got a good deal on a LED TV. Turns out there are cloudy blotches all over it. They wouldn't replace it, says it's just the "characteristics" of the LCD. Their customer service sucks... idiot rep had me adjusting the brightness/contrast, when this has nothing to do with the problem. Never buying samsung again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Vic B (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:13pm

    @Still bad customer service.

    Yes, it's bad customer service for Samsung to deny service because of where the product was originally purchased. But it's also bad customer service for Samsung to sell a same product at different price points based on where the product was sold. It's a lack of transparency that the European Union has been working on doing away with by liberalizing its internal markets.
    It is likely that the Samsung product was sold at a lower price in the US with a lesser value added service (1-2 year warranty) while it was sold at a higher price in Canada with a higher valued added service (3 years warranty). Consumers would all understand (and probably accept) this if it was clearly presented at the time of purchase instead of having to find out later when the product has broken down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    bob, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:15pm


    With the exception of hard drives and computer memory I have had to send and or email proof of purchase for any item that I have sent in for warranty repair.
    So I don't see the problem here.
    If he had his proof of purchase, his monitor would be fixed.
    This is why I scan my receipts and keep the original in my file cabinet.
    I now buy most of my stuff from online sources, it's easy to get the receipt as most companies keep it in your account info.
    Keep that proof of purchase, some times you need it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    bob, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Another Note

    If this item was bought from Sam's Club it should be easy to get a copy of the purchase, Sam's Club membership and all that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:21pm

    JC and Ron are right - the internal company structure is irrelevant as far as the customer's concerned, and unfortunately companies tend to structure themselves so support has arbitrary regionalized budgets not based on call volume or support needs in the country.

    IMHO it's all really backward. Though it does seem to work when the support is contracted, pay-per-incident or otherwise subscribed.

    Once had HP support come out and replace a motherboard on a machine purchased in the US, while the machine was in Japan.

    Same with Dell - they replaced a laptop motherboard for a US-purchased machine, while the machine was in the Netherlands.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Where are the Database Guru's?

    Given the state of technology and data mining techniques a "duplicate" receipt could easily generated. Of course the companies have no interest in providing this type of customer service.

    So here we are in a world where companies buy and sell personal information, were virtually every piece of electronics has a serial number, were we have sophisticated just-in-time ordering systems, where GPS technology allows our every move to be tracked, were telemarketers (junk mailers) can track you down, and there is a record of every financial (credit card) transaction ever made; and Sam's club can't (won't) generate a duplicate receipt!

    With today's technology there should be no need for any receipt to document proof of purcahse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:57pm

    Re: Cross-border purchasing

    From a practical standpoint, where it was made doesn't matter. Warranties kick in based on where it was sold - in this case, America, not a foreign country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Good grief!

    Pickle, you seem to be saying that USA won't cover it because it wasn't made in the USA, but Canada won't cover it because it was sold in the USA? And this is supposed to be the sensible explanation?

    All Samsungs are made in Korea. This one was sold in America. End of story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Joe P, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:05pm

    Samsung Monitors & poor customer service

    I used to buy Samsung LCDs at work. If I remember correctly, Samsung LCDs have the manufacuring date directly on the Model / Serial number sticker. Therefore there should be no question on whether the monitor is still under warranty if the manufacturing date is less than the three year warranty... (If it's beyond the three year date based on the manufacture date on the sticker, then I can see Samsung requesting a receipt.....)

    However, you might notice that I opened by saying that I "used" to buy Samsung LCDs... I stopped buying Samsung because when I did need monitors replaced (originally about three from a couple dozen), dealing with Samsung customer service is just a horrible and painful experience, even for monitors where the origin of purchase is not an issue.

    And as a total aside, now that those monitors are starting to get beyond their three year warranty... Almost every one has failed with bad capacitors.. Fortunately I'm also handy with a soldering iron and can fix 'em for a few dollars in parts... Never buying Samsung again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    Overcast (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    Long time ago, I had to return a monitor to KDS, because Sun TV went belly up.

    KDS's warranty was 10 times better than the one the retail store sold me - I don't bother with those anymore. Why? Because if the manufacturer won't really back their product in a strong fashion - what does that say about the quality?

    I'd certainly buy KDS again, ATI did the same. Their own serial number was all the info they needed.

    Would seem in this type of business, return customers would be your life blood, but I guess some don't see it that way.

    In any event, I'll continue to buy from companies who back their product regardless of the circumstance. This will further help me decide. It's as important to a consumer to know who WILL NOT back their product as anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Cross-border purchasing

    They're all made in China (or someplace,) anyhow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    BruceLD, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:41pm


    Samsung can suck it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Those International laws are wacky!

    Canada probably has a law on the books like a beefed up lemon law.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    Markku T Pesonen (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Quality vs warranty?

    A warranty should be a certificate of quality. So if a company doesn't back up their product with a good enough warranty they admit to that their product is of not good enough quality.

    In any case it's a good practice to keep your receipt e g if you resell it you'll probably want to guarantee the products authenticity to its new owner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Cross-border purchasing

    Korea. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Luc Boardwalk, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 9:14pm

    Exchange rate

    C'mon. Everybody knows that three years Canadian is only two years and small change, U.S.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    eric, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 9:17pm

    i blame canada

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Rekrul, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 10:05pm

    I found a spotless HP USB keyboard that someone had put out for bulk trash pickup. Unfortunately when I plugged it in, it didn't work properly and caused some strange effects on my system that persisted even after the keyboard was disconnected. I contacted HP tech support and gave them every single number off the back of the case and they told me that none of them were a valid HP part number. I told them I'd send them a photo of the back showing the label and the stamped HP logo, but they said they couldn't view photos. In the end, a friend helped me fix the issues I was having.

    More recently, a friend in Canada wanted to buy me a gift and have NewEgg ship it directly to me. She was told that she couldn't do that. The Canadian version of NewEgg would only ship to Canadian addresses and the US version of NewEgg wouldn't accept payment from a Canadian credit card.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2010 @ 10:20pm

    Buyer Beware

    I USED to buy Samsung products, not anymore. As noted their customer service is some of the worst I have encountered and my experience with their products is that they fail long before their expected lifetime is reached. They abandon customers who buy "future ready" models by never creating the needed accessory in the future. Meanwhile their competitors create the accessory for their product and specifically disable it so it will not work with the Samsung product. There are plenty of other companies to chose from, Samsung will never be among my future purchases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. icon
    SUNWARD (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:00pm

    Re: Cross-border purchasing

    yes, they can do this.

    Called the grey market. Happens all the time- with cars too. Used to happen with 35mm film cameras. He should go to Sam's Club and complain to them and have they pay for it. They refused to disclose the warranty was not valid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. icon
    Christopher (profile), Oct 20th, 2010 @ 11:44pm

    Guys, there should be no issue over this. There are NOT two separate products sold under two numbers in Canada and America. They are usually the SAME DAMNED THING, just packaged different with Canadian (French) language being dominant or American (English) language being dominant.

    There is NO FRIGGING REASON why either or both of those subsidiaries should not honor the warranty.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Trish, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 4:31am


    I used to work at an outsourcer for the customer service of a few major consumer electronics brands in Canada. We had to ask where they had purchased it, like a Canadian who bought something at a canadian store but had a foreign model number, we could not cover under the manufacturer's warranty. Basically it's a cop-out, a stupid rule that just gives them a way out of covering the warranty in certain cases, and saves them money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. icon
    btrussell (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:14am

    Another company that won't be getting any of my money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:00am


    What the hell does a "legal department" have to do with anything?

    We make product. You buy product. If product break under warranty, we fix product.

    "Oh, I'm sorry but according to our records you live on the left hand side of I-83 when facing north. Our warranty only covers people using the product on Tuesdays who live on the LEFT side of I-83 ... is there anything else I can do for you today?"



    "Um, yeah, you can service my warranty."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cross-border purchasing

    Samsung is based in Korea. Most monitors (like the one in front of me :) ) are manufactured in China.
    The warranty in this case is provided by Samsung Electronics Canada Inc. The poor bastard needs to deal with them. Based on my personal experience - good effing luck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Good grief!

    Except it should never have been sold in America. SUNWARD is right - Sam's Club screwed up and should take responsibility for this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:34am

    Re: Buyer Beware

    Wow! The two different times I had problems with a Samsung product customer service treated me well. Shoot, they even replaced our digital video camera at no cost even though it was out of warranty. Of course, it has been a few years since I called...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. identicon
    Cowardly Annon, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 6:52am

    I'm guessing the reason the monitor was a Canadian one but sold in the US is b/c 2 years ago Sam's Club closed it's doors in Canada. They probablly moved all unsold merchandise to the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Sue Sams Club. This is not a cheap item.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. icon
    faceless (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Nintendo repairs foreign merchandise

    And that's about the only large company that does. Several people with a Japanese Wii or DS have gotten it repaired by Nintendo of America. I don't know of any other company that will knowingly repair an item made for and bought in another country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. identicon
    John Nemesh, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 10:05am


    I know CUSTOMERS don't get that the monitor or TV they bought from Sam's or Costco or 6th Ave Electronics is "gray market", but customers need to EDUCATE themselves. There has been a long history of companies selling gear that was never meant to be sold in the US market. Like others have pointed out, Samsung USA is a COMPLETELY different company than Samsung Canada, and even though they are both owned by the same parent company, their business is kept completely separate.

    There are a number of reasons why this has to happen, not the least of which are compliance with local environmental laws and certification by government agencies like the FCC.

    It is unrealistic to expect Samsung USA to service a gray market monitor. This is not Samsung's fault, this is Sam's Club's fault, and THEY need to take care of the customer!

    The reason for this whole mess is that someone is trying to save a buck. If the person in question paid MSRP for the product he wanted at Best Buy or another authorized dealer, he would have zero problems getting his problem fixed. Personally, I hate stores that have practices like this! It devalues the product and makes it next to impossible for a dealer selling authorized "grade A" product to compete with gray market crap!

    Lesson learned: Know what you are buying and from whom!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Chris Rhodes (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Hmmm . . .

    Considering that different countries have different laws and requirements on warranties, and that these laws affect the cost of selling the product in those countries, I can see how honoring warranties from a different country than the country of purchase could be a bad thing for a company.


    I make a a product with an estimated life of 1 year. I can sell this product for $100 dollars in Country A, with a one year warranty.

    I want to also sell the product in Country B. However, Country B has a law that says I must have a two year warranty on my product. Therefore, since my product is only expected to last one year, I must charge more for it to make up for the added cost of honoring a two year warranty. So in Country B, I end up charging $200 for the same product.

    Now some enterprising individual realizes that the product is $200 in Country B, but only $100 in Country A, so they start buying my product in bulk in Country A and shipping it to Country B where they resell it for $150, making a tidy profit.

    Not only are they hurting my sales by undercutting me on my own items, but if I was forced to honor the 2-year warranty on a product I only originally sold with a 1-year warranty, I'd actually be losing money. Not a good situation.

    I can imagine there are several scenarios one could come up with to justify this, although it remains to be seen whether or not it will make up for the hit to their reputation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Oct 21st, 2010 @ 12:08pm


    (better) could charge $200 no matter where you sell the product and offer a two year warranty and not have to deal with any of the logistics.

    (best) could use better quality parts that cost "X" and will last two years so you don't have anything to make up for including: poor reputation, pissed off customers, additional support staff for the higher call volume, and marketing won't be required to find new customers after so many have left and you'd only have to charge $100 + "X". Assuming "X" is less than $100 you are now selling a higher quality product with a warranty twice as long as it used to be and you COULD honor your warranty globally without worrying about someone making money off of your efforts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. identicon
    Rekrul, Oct 21st, 2010 @ 5:06pm


    I make a a product with an estimated life of 1 year. I can sell this product for $100 dollars in Country A, with a one year warranty.

    Just my opinion, but if I'm buying a non-consumable product that costs $100, I damn well expect it to last more than a year.

    Warranties are intended to cover repair/replacement of a product due to previously unknown defects in the design or manufacture of the item. They're not meant as some kind of a shield for companies to get away with making shoddy merchandise that has an unrealistically short life span.

    My grandparents used to have an old console TV that was at least 20 years old when it died. Today, you're lucky if a TV lasts 5 years. A few years ago, I bought a beautiful 19" CRT monitor with a 3 year warranty. It died almost exactly 3 months after the warranty expired.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. icon
    Ron Rezendes (profile), Oct 22nd, 2010 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re:

    "They're not meant as some kind of a shield for companies to get away with making shoddy merchandise that has an unrealistically short life span."

    Yet that is exactly how they are used! Put that along with engineered obsolescence and disposable customers and you have essentially created a throw-away economy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. identicon
    Mike, Dec 27th, 2010 @ 9:56am

    Fix it yourself easily

    Don't even bother with the company. Open up the monitor and find the power supply board. Look for bulging capacitors. Replace these and it will work better than new. You can get all the parts you need at radio shack for under $5. This is pretty common with flat panel monitors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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