Mitsubishi has agreed to provide some relief to consumers who bought certain models of the company’s Laservue rear-projection TV sets, in response to a class-action lawsuit.
The suit claimed the LaserVue TVs, sold between 2008 and 2012, had a high incidence of malfunction and picture defects. A preliminary settlement to the suit admits no negligence by Mitsubishi but will potentially provide consumers “a repair, payment or reimbursement” for previous repairs paid for by the consumer.
The procedure for notifying class members is currently underway and a hearing, absent the filing of any appeals, is scheduled for Nov. 12.
The lawsuit was initiated by John Prawat, a Mitsubishi dealer, on behalf of one of his California retail customers, Robert Verdie, who had experienced a premature failure in his LaserVue DLP television. Prawat told TWICE the case came about because his business had been experiencing an abnormally high rate of product complaints from customers about the LaserVue TVs.
“Customers initially flocked to this technology as it seemed to offer a premium level of quality in a big-screen television at a relatively reasonable price, compared with what was then available in the marketplace,” Prawat said. “More and more over the years, however, I began to notice that individuals who had purchased these sets from me, as well as other owners who had shared similar experiences on audio/video “enthusiast” websites such as AVS Forum, were reporting picture defects leading to laser outages, even though Mitsubishi had heavily marketed both the quality and reliability of the solid-state laser lighting source used in these DLP sets.”
Mitsubishi subsequently exited the the rear-projection TV market at the end of 2012 and most troubling, Prawat said, stopped providing parts and honoring its product warranties, as the complaint alleged, in violation of California and federal law.
A website for qualifying consumers in the settlement has been established as was a toll-free hotline: (888) 289-0223, to gather names and issue claim numbers.
As of now, the settlement is only for consumers who bought the LaserVue TVs with no relief for dealers. “Unfortunately, Mitsubishi dealers are considered agents of that firm and thus are exempt from settlement benefits, [however] they do gain release from liability over customer lawsuits, which is a plus,” Prawat said.
Prawat said he “is interviewing other attorneys with similar defective product/breach of warranty experience, and fully expect to be able to offer dealers a viable path to be made whole for their losses associated with carrying this line. These losses may include, but are not limited to, reimbursement for remaining unsold inventory and customer buy-backs/discounts, repair costs and loss of customer goodwill.”
Mitsubishi declined to comment.