/ Technology

LG turns a bad TV story into a (potentially) good one

LG’s updating one of its popular LED Smart TV ranges after our testing revealed a sound fault was so bad we had to make it a Don’t Buy. And, if you’ve already got one, LG’s offering to send an engineer out to fix it.

Sound quality comes second to only picture quality for most of us when buying a new TV. So, ending up with a model that buzzes and reverberates when listening to voices speaking is a pretty big no-no.

At Which? we make every effort to go the extra mile in our testing. That means when we find a problem, not only are we able to tell you not to buy it, but when it’s an issue we feel is so bad it must be a design fault, we take it back to the manufacturer. Firstly to let them know about it, and more importantly to see what they’re going to do about it.

Which? TV testing

That’s why I’m very encouraged to see manufacturers going the extra mile in response to our verdicts. When we met with LG to alert the company to the sound issue with its 32-inch LED Cinema 3D TV (the 32LM620T to be precise) it came back to us in just over a week.

Its engineers had been hard at work investigating the problem and found the sound issue was not caused by the speaker units, but by the way they had been mounted in the TV casing.

LG assured us that it had looked at all screen sizes in the LM620 series – not just the 32-inch version we’d tested – and all models leaving the factory will be updated from now on (hitting shops in mid-October). LG’s customer services teams have also been made aware of the issue and will send an engineer out to mend any TVs that are reported to have this fault. And most importantly, they’ll do it for free.

LG respond to concerns

It shows that quick responses from big companies are more than possible. It’s great to see manufacturers taking action to make sure customers are not getting a raw deal. Obviously it’s good for them too – what manufacturer wants to be known for selling a rubbish product?

But while I’d like to applaud LG for its swift action, this is with the caveat that we haven’t yet tested the newly improved version. We’ll do this as soon as it hits the shops in mid-October.

We often hear about bad customer experiences, but have you got any of your own examples of companies going the extra mile?

If you think you’ve got one of the affected TVs you can call LG customer services on 0844 847 5454.

Comments

That looks like a quick win. Well done Which?

Now we need to have a proper phone number for LG, rather than expecting customers to pay LG money to discuss their problems by using an expensive 084… number. There is a geographical number but a note saying that this cannot be used to contact Customer Services. Sorry, but that’s not good enough, LG. I think we need your help again, Which?

01753 491500 and ask for executive care team – see my comments below.

Alan says:
4 February 2016

Thanks for this. However, when I called this number all I heard was a continuous buzz. Surprise surprise! LG avoiding customer complaints I wonder?

The person who comes to fix it is an engineer?

I bet you they’re not.

DerekP says:
7 March 2019

I hope the person comes is a suitably qualified and experienced person (SQEP) for LG TV repair.

I doubt they’ll be a Chartered Engineer though.

But if LG use the word “engineer” on their job titles and role profiles, I have no problem with that.

So a manufacturer makes a product that is clearly defective, they admit the defect and agree to sort it out free (of course they should, why should the customer pay) and this is described as taking swift action and is praised.
What I think this really shows is that expectation of customer service has fallen so far that by doing the ‘right thing’ it is seen as exceptional when in reality it is the least that would be expected.

I agree that expectations of customer service have fallen. I’m even more concerned about goods that are unreliable and difficult to repair economically.

I reckon that TV manufacturers should offer a ten year guarantee on TVs, covering both parts and labour. That should ensure that the build quality and quality testing is greatly improved.

I believe that it is fair to praise LG because they are honouring their responsibility, which is more than some manufacturers do.

My sentiments entirely! Thank you for your comments.

Unfortunately my experience with LG isn’t so positive. When I queried why I wasn’t able to switch my LG 32LF7700 LCD TV on when I had a computer connected to it via the VGA port: I was told –

“Based on the information you have provided me with and reading through your query, I can advise you that as inconvenient it may be yes this is normal. As the two will not automatically configue the resolution settings on start up. Also a computer is only meant to be connected to the television for the time of use.”

i.e. you have to plug and unplug the computer (at the back of the TV – just disconnecting at the PC end didn’t resolve it) when the TV is ON to use a PC via the VGA port. This is about as practical as a chocolate teapot if you have a media PC or have the display mounted flat against a wall.

I did get around the problem using a display port to HDMI connector at extra cost and the loss of audio playback through the TV which is inconvenient to say the least.

In the case described at the top it took the intervention of Which to point out and resolve problems – without it your normal punter is probably left out in the cold with spurious explanations and a general feeling of being hoodwinked.

Laurence says:
30 September 2012

I have phoned up LG just now re this, 18 minutes on the phone. They are NOT (they claim) aware of any fault on this tv.
They refused to read this website and the which report and stated that they have no known faults on this model.
Complete joke!

stuart says:
4 October 2012

I have a 47LM670T and an engineer is coming out soon!
I get the buzz more from HD broadcast such as Dallas on 5.

Laurence says:
4 October 2012

@catherine west, thanks. John Lewis are exchanging my tv tomorrow. I’ve tweeted to LG UK re this and copied in this website however they’ve chosen to ignore it and not reply….

Alan says:
4 February 2016

No reply? This seems to be typical of LG.

I’ve just had this kit fitted to an LG 32LS570T. The reverberating sound problem was fixed but the sound is still poor to my ears. The engineer came with a box/kit of dampening tapes, pads, and cushioned speakers, but it took weeks for LG not just to fix it, but to tell me when they’d know when they could fix it. Useless customer service. And when I asked if they’d lend me a soundbar in the meantime, back came the classic response ‘What’s a soundbar?’
This TV was a replacement for an older [one year old] model that developed the same problem. Richer Sounds were brilliant, though. But LG have killed their reputation with me and my friends because of their drawn out handling of this.
You can ask for their “executive care team” on 01753 491500

Alan says:
4 February 2016

I did try to call LG using this number, but they have disabled it. Rubbish customer service?

ghassem yarollahi says:
2 June 2013

I’ve bought a TV from your company, but unfortunately it does not support Arabic or Farsi. I want to help you

I own an LG 32L S575T bought from Curry’s which also has this fault (and judging from the internet blogs, so do a lot of LG TVs). Curry’s were dismissive, arguing that we needed a firmware update and the problem was hard to reproduce in the shop as it only happens at certain frequencies.

We have put up with this fault for over 12 months, but spurred on by your blog, have now contacted LG directly to see whether they can resolve this issue.

I suspect that their speaker mounting was common across a range of models that Which have not tested if our experience is anything to go by. LG should write to all those affected as it does make the TV unusable at certain frequencies.

Brian says:
25 June 2015

We are currently on holiday and watching an LG 32 inch TV in a villa in Lanzarote. The sound is atrocious. The Sound is on Clearvoice 6 ( the maximum possible ) while the sound control is on 24 ! So by rights it SHOULD be blowing our eardrums out !? The TV is connected via an HDMI lead on HDMI 1 to the villa owners satellite dish. Yet we struggle to hear voices clearly ?
We have two LG TVs and normal sound setting for them is around 12 which we can hear quite comfortably.

danny says:
30 April 2016

i would never recommend LG tv’s to anyone . I bought one just over 2 years ago and it has started to turn itself off and then back on . This prob can happen as 7 times in 20 mins , LG wont stand over their products and currys who i bought it from just shrugged their shoulders but an email to their CEO and low and behold i got a phone call to arrange a pickup to see what the problem was . So now i have to wait for a week without a tv until they decide what to do . This is a very common problem with LG tv’s going by the forums about LG tv problems . Just to round this off , a salesman in currys told me he would never recommend anybody buy a tv from LG , check the forums for yourselves and see how many complaints there are

Doreen Harvey says:
25 June 2017

We also have a 55 inch LG smart tv. It is about 3 years old and now the sound is garbled. It sounds like someone else has a tv that is mixing with our input. I am not sure if this is the case but you can hardly uderstand the words

Not quite to the same degree, Doreen, but the sound on our Sony smart TV started to deteriorate and I have had to buy a sound bar to make it acceptable and compatible with the quality of the picture.

Chris Palmer says:
7 March 2019

For the untrained what is a sound bar, where do I get one?

Modern flat-screen TVs have tiny speakers that produce mediocre sound quality at best. A sound bar sits below the TV and will produce better sound. It’s safest to go for one produced by the same manufacturer as the TV and check that it is compatible with your model. Which? has a series of guides about sounders: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/sound-bars/article/guides

The other alternative is to link the TV to a small amplifier and speakers or to your HiFi. This is not as convenient but will usually produce better sound quality.

…and I though a sound bar was one that always keeps its real ales in tip top condition.

I’ll get my coat…

Please do. It might be cold on the way to The Lobby.

mediocre sound quality at best.. Not sure how true this is, but that depends upon how good you regard Which?’s reviews. This month they review 29 large and medium TVs. They give 5* for sound quality to 13 of them and 4* to the rest (“assessed by our panel and technical tests”). The smaller TVs are those that are given poorer scores of 2* and 3*.

The same mag includes reviews of sound bars and other “improvers”. These cost a couple of hundred pounds and up for decent ones, according to their tests. You may, perhaps, be better off spending the money on one of the many tvs with well rated sound.

If the Which? 4* rating for sound is good then you have a large choice. One tv costing £599 is described thus:” The superb sound backs up the picture quality brilliantly“.

In another post I’ve commented that to attract new members/subscribers, something I believe Which? needs to do to survive and be truly representative of consumers, it needs to offer clear value for its subscription. Here is an example of how you can benefit from its work – buying a really well rated product instead of wasting money on something that will turn out to be disappointing or sub-standard.

Our Sony smart TV had good sound when it was new but the audio quality progressively deteriorated to the point that it was necessary to add a sound bar. The TV is less than five years old and is hardly overworked – three or four hours a week at most.

Longer term testing is not something Which? seem to do, but Which? Connect could collate experiences such as yours. I wonder why the sound deteriorated? It should not be difficult for a technician to determine; maybe Which? need to invest in this kind of expertise for many other products also.

Malcolm – If you look back at one of the early Convos we were told that Which? had changed its scoring system for the sound quality of flat-screen TVs because the quality was not in the same league as many of the more bulky CRT TVs. The sound quality of small speakers has greatly improved but I have yet to hear a modern flat-screen TV that I would be happy to listen to, though no problem with speech.

The overuse of superlatives debases the Which? reviews, in my view.

John – Adding a soundbar bypasses the amplifier and built-in speakers in a TV. Speaker faults – usually a sticking voice coil – would be sudden rather than progressive, suggesting the problem was with the amplifier. Sadly, repairs can be expensive, so adding a soundbar can be a very good solution.

I expect that is what happened, Wavechange, because the sound became fuzzy and got worse over time. Again, it is a problem caused by the restricted space in a flat screen TV set and [possibly] the use of solid-state amplifiers. The Sony sound-bar sound quality is very good which shows the company can still deliver excellent reproduction with full range and depth; it helps that there is a sub-woofer to support the sound-bar, develop the bass notes, and enhance the spatial effect.

A great advantage of soundbars is that if you have the right one there is no need for a separate remote control and there are fewer wires to hide. My reason for avoiding this approach was because changing the TV might lose full compatibility with the soundbar. I’m happy with using a micro-HiFi connected to speakers that have provided good service, even though it is irritating to have to use a separate remote control.

The only reason I have not replaced the TV with a better one is that I don’t want to buy a TV that is likely to lose its smart features within a few years. Once a manufacturer promises to stop this anti-consumer nonsense I will be first in the queue.

“The overuse of superlatives debases the Which? reviews, in my view.”

I would have thought that when Which? (“assessed by our panel and technical tests”) describe the attributes of a tv thus ” The superb sound backs up the picture quality brilliantly“. then they are either telling the truth or making a very misleading statement. Maybe Which? should respond to this.

Are you suggesting that Which? are losing their impartial approach and that their independent testing does not give accurate results? 🙂

I stand by what I have said, Malcolm. I am certainly not questioning the impartial approach or the testing but as someone who loathes ‘marketing speak’, I don’t feel that superlatives such as superb and brilliant are appropriate.

I’d agree with the latter, and I’ve commented before with the same criticism (see the Amazon Prime promotion by Which?). Just as I have on campaigns and press releases that include “shocking”, “brink of collapse”, “broken”, “devastating”, eye-watering”, “betrayal”……………

I would like straightforward honest language, not sensationalised, either in marketing, sales speak, politics or press announcements. But that’s just a personal view.

I would prefer if we avoided this sort of language, but I think that output from Which? could be ignored by the press and others. I don’t see to much problem with the campaigns. In the case of broadband I am glad that ‘up to’ has been replaced with average speeds.

Yes; compiling press releases that are taken notice of is quite an art. Journalists look for the brief, impactive and at least slightly sensational. The papers are not really interested in printing good news. or anything that isn’t immediately obvious. Sad, but there it is.

The trouble with this sort of language is it devalues the impact of the words. When something is described as “life changing”, what happens when something really is life changing; I’ve experienced that. Do we resort to “more life changing”, very life changing”, extremely life changing” or perhaps, in Black Adder speak – “more life changing than the most ….etc?

It is like swearing; words that were strictly taboo not many years ago are now part of some people’s everyday language.

We’ll have to start inventing new words to properly express ourselves, perhaps.

Most of the news journalists gather will arrive unembellished with such words. I think the journalists on certain papers will use there own words to describe the news item they then put into print. An objective organisation like Which? should not need to do that.

Well, language is dynamic and thus words are constantly evolving and creating themselves. But Which? has to compete to get reported. The dispassionate and calm approach may work for a few, but not – I suspect – for the many.

But you’re right about devaluation. In the most recent episode of Endeavour, Sean Evans, the actor, was focussing on the initials “HB” on an old map. He repeatedly pronounced it as “Haich Bee” instead of the OED’s “Aich Bee”. This may not seem a huge deal, but Morse himself was a highly educated man, and spent some time correcting his Sergeant – Lewis – over linguistic errors. Morse would never have pronounced “H” as “Haich” and would have lectured Lewis in some detail about the error.

Similarly, the tendency to start explanations with the utterly redundant ‘so’ has wormed its way into normal conversation in only a few short years.

So language is being devalued all the time and attempting to change that evokes the image of Canute rather vividly.

Language is not being devalued by all. Some would of thought nucular was correct. So that does not mean it should enter the language. No more than text speak should determine proper spelling. Let us try and preserve our real language.

“Nucular” is an interesting example. It’s rather pervasive in the US, in fact, but there are many here who don’t know how to pronounce it.

Many who hold fast to what they perceive as ‘rules’ in English will find themselves overtaken by different generations and, eventually, death. Thus, words such as Disinterested and Uninterested become used in the same way, despite each having a distinct meaning, while few these days are even aware that the use of None requires a singular present indicative as in ‘None of these is real’. Why? Because None is a contraction of Not One.

The loss of subtle distinctions in our language affects our ability to imagine them, which further influences our own perceptions (if you can’t imagine it, does it exist?) so I’m in agreement that we should make every effort to retain what’s good in our language.

But here we encounter another issue; if you’re good at maths, people simply admire you and – importantly – accept correction. The same doesn’t apply to language, because language and identity are inextricably intertwined. Correcting someone’s use of language is almost always resented.

But we can’t preserve a dynamic entity such as language, any more than we can keep a garden in full bloom once all the flowers are at their peak. English is one of the world’s most comprehensive languages, simply because it has adapted and embraced all the invading cultures’ languages over a few thousand years. The hangover from that continuous process is revealed by the seemingly inconsistent and illogical spelling and pronunciation of many words.