Thomson To Settle Consumer Suit

BY GREG TARR On Mar 12 2001 - 8:00am

INDIANAPOLIS -Thomson Consumer Electronics has agreed to settle a two-and-a-half-year-old consumer suit that claimed Thomson had sold defective RCA, ProScan and GE television sets between November 1992 and the end of January 1996, a company spokesman said.

Under the agreement, Thomson will issue cash reimbursement for repairs made prior to settlement and/or rebates for future purchases of Thomson goods. Retailers will not be involved, and Thomson is notifying potentially affected consumers with a direct-mail announcement.

The settlement comes in response to a suit filed in November 1998 by a small group of consumers, who had purchased affected Thomson television sets that allegedly had picture-quality issues.

The Thomson spokesman said the problem "related to a design change" made to Thomson television products back in November 1992, when the company began mounting a tuner chip directly onto a circuit board in the sets. The change was said to have caused a "coefficient of thermal expansion," described as an uneven heating and cooling rate for the tuner chip and the board on which it was mounted.

Under the settlement terms, Thomson has agreed to make repairs and/or offer consumers who have had their sets repaired rebates of $25 or $50 to be used for the purchase of Thomson products.

Consumers who feel they have one of the affected sets can call a toll-free support number at (877) 491-9339 for information and claim forms.

Thomson would not disclose the number of impacted sets or how much it expects the settlement to cost, but the spokesman said "it is not expected to have an effect on our 2001 financial results."

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