Hot-selling TVs could be refurbished, not new - WSMV Channel 4

Hot-selling TVs could be refurbished, not new

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Between now and Christmas, more television sets will be sold than the other 11 months combined.

But are you sure that the set you just bought was new, or could it be refurbished?

Legally stores are required to tell you whether you're buying a new television or one that's been broken and fixed by the manufacturer.

The problem is those laws don't spell out exactly how stores are supposed to let you know. Sometimes the burden is on the consumer to figure it out.

This time of the year, the deals are almost impossible to resist, but before you rush out of the store with that new flat screen TV, make sure you know exactly what's inside the box.

Elaine Hughes bought a 34-inch flat screen in June. Exactly 105 days later the set went on the blink.

"It was packaged up, taped up, just like if I had bought if from any other store," said Hughes. "It looked exactly like it was brand new.

"I got the book out and began doing trouble shooting. I spent two days doing trouble shooting because I thought it was me."

Hughes said she was told that the new set had a one-year warranty. When she called the manufacturer, they said it was a 90-day warranty.

Only after she called a repair man did she realize she had been misled.

The repairman told Hughes to check on the back of the TV to see if there was a label saying refurbished. Hughes found the label with a new serial number on top of the old label.

There was another obscure label on the back of the owner's manual.

"I was just totally shocked because it was packaged brand new," said Hughes. "It had the foam in it. The TV was wrapped in the plastic. You had to rip the box open. It just appeared to be brand new."

Though stores are legally required to tell you a set isn't new, the signs aren't always obvious, even to the sales staff.

State officials urge you not to trust the salesperson, especially with Christmas coming up.

"You're going to have a lot of new salespeople. They're going to be trying to make their quotas," said a release from the Divisions of Consumer Affairs. "They may not know anything about the TV."

If you have bought a refurbished TV without being told, you can file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs.

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