I received my 50" on 4/7/03. I had loved every minute of it until last Friday 1/23/04 when the lamp blew out. I'm not bitter though, I knew what I was getting into thanks to all the wonderful members at AVS FORUM
Here's what it took to get it fixed:
1) Since I am still within the one year warranty, I called the 800 number on the user manual. A nice operator took the information and gave me a 'file #' to reference for the problem. Since this was a Sony Employee Purchase (which I got through a friend of a friend) the operator informed me that she would send the case to the department that handles service for the employees...I didn't tell her I wasn't an employee. She explained that I would be called within 24 business hours, which I took to mean three business days.
2) On Wednesday 1/28/04 (three business days later) I hadn't yet received a call so I called back the 800 number on the user manual. The operator that took my call this time actually asked if I was an employee. I told him the truth...I figured they would know anyway. He told me to call 'Sony Factory Service In Home' at 866-443-7116. I could have gotten mad and complained about not being told to call this number last Friday, but I figured that would accomplish nothing.
3) I called the 866 # and waited on hold for about 15 minutes. When I got a live body, I was told the earliest date they could send someone to service the television would be February 18th, or I could call one of the authorized sony service providers in my area. Needless to say, I chose the latter. I was also told to have my proof of delivery date (4/7/04) handy to give to the service guy for warranty purposes.
4) I called the closest of the four service providers I was given (AVS in Culver City, CA 310-306-4600). They asked if I had proof of the purchase/delivery date, which I do in the form of the packing slip and the delivery company's receipt with the truck drivers signature and date. I was told they had the part (XL-2000U) in stock and it could be handled that afternoon. Great
Andy from AVS arrived right on time (one hour window), did some basic QA about the problem, went to his truck, got the lamp, put it in. All fixed, no charge
Andy also told me I could buy the lamp from him next time it goes out. It's so great working with local mom-and-pop outfits where you talk to real people who care about their customers.
The worst part of the experience was listening to the wife complain about paying $2500 for a piece-o-junk and then complain further about the 19" Toshiba stand-in. She even threatened me that she would be writing a letter to Sony's legal department (She's a Paralegal). She still can't believe we are going to have to spend the cost of new TV ($200) every time the lamp goes out. Even though someone in this forum suggested against buying a lamp and keeping it handy (because the warranty period of 90 days starts at purchase date), I think I will just so I don't have to here it from the wife next time.
I hope this little story helps other members understand some of the process. If you live in the West Los Angeles area, I highly recommend AVS in Culver City.
My first post, thanks again for everyone at AVS for making my life easier!