I purchased the Samsung 60" F8500 from East Coast TVs two and a half weeks ago. I went through just about what every one here has gone through, researched like crazy and went to Magnolia to check out the sets with the full intention of purchasing from Magnolia/BB. I do not buy a new TV every year, in fact it's been about 8 years, so I don't mind spending the time researching because I want the best set possible. For me it was the F8500 over the ZT60 or VT60.
I tried two different Magnolia's and a BB to get a decent price. I didn't necessarily need them to match East Coast TVs price but, with tax, there was a $900 difference in total price out the door. I guess it was just my bad luck that I didn't get anyone who would discount based on the price from East Coast or Abe's or the other wholesale online sellers you see in a google shopping search. They said that Samsung could cut them off if they went under the $2,900 price (w/o tax). Very frustrating. Even $500 closer might have been enough, but not $900.
I bit the bullet, purchased from East Coast and put it on my credit card in case I had any problems. I wrote in the comments section, when I purchased it, that I was leery since I had read both good and bad reviews, that I didn't want to be upsold, didn't want extended warranty or white glove. Just a brand new set, in factory sealed box, with serial number on box to match TV set. I said if all went well, I would certainly give a good review. I received a call the next day, the guy said he had read my comments and wasn't going to try to upsell me on anything. He just wanted to confirm. That was it. I received the shipping confirmation two days later and nothing until delivery day.
I received a call from AM Home Delivery less than a week later and met the guys at my house. They (AM) appear to give you "white glove" whether you pay for it or not. I inspected the box, it was fractory sealed and in good condition, they took the TV out and took off the wrapping and we all looked at it very closely for any damage during shipping. I told them up front that I was going to give them $20 for their efforts but I wanted to be absolutely sure there wasn't any damage. They were very cool and said that every once in a while a plasma will be broken, but it is rare and usually the box is pretty beaten up. Long story short, absolutely nothing wrong with the set. It was brand new, just like what I would have received had I bought it from Magnolia/BB.
I would buy from East Coast again, no hesitation. It's certainly not as easy as buying from Magnolia/BB, where I'd rather buy, but for $900 I'd be crazy to have done anything else.
Here's the only down side, and it's not East Coast TVs fault. I realize that to keep those prices low they need to only be deling with selling TVs, not returns and the like. That's why I don't have a problem with their return policy. If it gets broken during shipping, there's shipping insurance (which was included, no cost). If it's otherwise defective or broken, then you have the warranty. In my case, no damage in shipping and it generally works like it should. However, some of these Samsung plasmas buzz louder than normal (as reported elswhere). My only practical option is to work through warranty, whereas with Magnolia/BB I could have done exchanges until I found one that didn't buzz. The good news is, that process also allowed me to be completely satisfied that the East Coast TV I received was brand new and has a factory warranty - as confirmed by the technician that came out. The other good news is that I am ultimately getting a brand new plasma panel, under warranty, which theoretically has a better chance of no buzzing than the crap shoot of what you might get from an exchange.
Sorry for the long story, but I would have liked this info before I purchased. Also, I don't mind shopping for a good price for a TV and the related research. It's like planning a vacation, you get some of the fun just in the anticipation of it all. It guess that's just me. Besides, what else would I be doing, watching TV? Edited by estiff - 6/20/13 at 4:29pm