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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

We live in a time of incredible products at incredibly low prices. We also live in a time when getting that performance can be complex and consumers need help with what might be simple problems to hobbyists and professionals like us, but can be intractable for many less experienced consumers.

So along comes ABC news to the rescue, exposing a servicer who is claiming to change parts when parts are not needed and when all the customer needed was a minor repair or an adjustment at the level of consumer controls via remote. Sounds like a great story and it was delivered in a manner typical of the media expose' that is designed to capture ratings. Good for everyone, right. WRONG! As usual, there is more to the story.

ABC ran such an expose' on their show "The Lookout" last week. They identified Steve’s Quality TV in Morganville, N.J. in the segment of the show http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/tv-repair-19335895 as having charged customers for parts not actually replaced. The rest of the story is that there is a very reputable servicer who has been severely hurt by the overspray of painting servicers as a rip-off. Not very far away from this Steve's Quality TV is

Steve's TV & Electronics
1811 Amwell Rd
Somerset, NJ 08873
[email protected]
http://www.tvservicenj.com


Now I have known this Steve for many years, and communicate with him on an email list of a couple of dozen of the best techs in the country almost daily. I know that he often gives people actual estimates for a fraction of what others charge and does real diagnosis and repair. I know that if an old lady called him with a set with no color or an aspect ratio problem, he would either provide free advice or charge only for the service and parts required for a repair.

The rest of the story? Well, since this story aired, the good Steve has seen his business severely damaged and has received threats and harassing phone calls. After contacting NESDA and The PROsquad, two professional organizations that he belongs to, and the producer at ABC's The Lookout, ABC has posted the following note on their web site clarifying the two businesses.


By Sandra Temko
If you believe your television is in need of repair, make sure your set is really not working. Most likely you’ll have to pay some kind of fee for service whether the TV is broken or not. That is especially true if the TV is under warranty because “No trouble” or “adjustment” calls aren’t normally covered. TV warranties generally last one to two years.
Make sure the company you’ve chosen is a member of a national service organization. One of the largest is the National Electronic Service Dealers Association, which lists members on its website. You should also check out the company at your local Better Business Bureau, paying particular attention to the number of satisfactory responses to consumer complaints. And make sure the company is an authorized service provider for the brand of TV you have.
If you’re not technically savvy, it’s best to have someone with you when the repair person arrives or when you visit the shop. If you have to pay for any repairs because your set is not covered by warranty, ask for estimates of service fees and try to get them in writing. And if the price of the repair is at least half the cost of a new television, you may want to consider getting a new set.
Note: ABC’s The Lookout broadcast looked at three repair jobs done by Steve’s Quality TV in Morganville, N.J. There is another company, Steve’s TV and Electronics, in Somerset, N.J. Steve’s TV and Electronics was not featured in our report. Steve’s TV and Electronics has an A+ rating from the New Jersey Better Business Bureau, and is a NESDA member.


The producer at ABC has also said that they are putting together a follow up story that will air tomorrow night that will clarify the matter.

The take away lesson here? Get to know those with whom you do business and check them out. There are at least two good ways to find a quality TV servicer. The link posted in my signature to NESDA or the PROsquad web site http://www.theprosquad.com/index2.aspx are good places to start. You can also check out servicers in many ways, including asking here at Home Theater Shack. I still maintain contacts with many of the best in the country even after being out of the business for several years. There are other servicers here and many experienced do it yourselfers who give great advice. We also have vendor listings and dealers and servicers are welcome to post their info. If we find that one of them is not behaving reputably, they will be identified and the facts will be posted.
 

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Hopefully the good shop can recover from this. Even if ABC does the right thing I fear the damage is done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It is hard to recover from something like this. Maybe if there is enough coverage of the matter in the local press and online it will bring him at least as much business as he has and will lose because of this.

Steve Soprou is a great guy (and a dog lover) and a great tech. He is among an elite group of techs that I know that keep in close touch. He will have lots of support from his colleagues but there is only so much that they can do to bring business in the door. Times are tough for service shops in the electronics business. The demise of that specialty has several very interesting story lines that a real investigative reporter could find and make something of. A rare breed of highly skilled workers is rapidly disappearing.
 

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It is hard to recover from something like this. Maybe if there is enough coverage of the matter in the local press and online it will bring him at least as much business as he has and will lose because of this.

Steve Soprou is a great guy (and a dog lover) and a great tech. He is among an elite group of techs that I know that keep in close touch. He will have lots of support from his colleagues but there is only so much that they can do to bring business in the door. Times are tough for service shops in the electronics business. The demise of that specialty has several very interesting story lines that a real investigative reporter could find and make something of. A rare breed of highly skilled workers is rapidly disappearing.
Boy, isn't that the truth. I got out of retail electronic repair back in the mid 90's and switched to computer tech just before the internet boom and the dot com era, even back then there were more stereo's, TV's and VCR's on the side of the road than in the shops I worked at.
 
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