I must take some blame because my father always said that a product is only as good as the company that will stand behind it. Had I read the reviews which scores of dissatisfied customers have posted online about their problems with Panasonic's Customer Service Department, I would never have purchased anything from this manufacturer.
We have a blu-ray subscription with Netflix and about two weeks ago none of the discs played-we get a message that the disc is incompatible with the unit. All discs appear to be in good shape-we clean them anyway-properly and also use a cleaner for our machine. Same result. Try the discs on our friend's machine (not-Panasonic) and they play perfectly.
First call is to Netflix which tells us that the newer discs they send out have been encoded with a security feature and our unit needs a firmware upgrade. They suggest we call Panasonic. On Friday, 1/21, we call Panasonic and they instruct us to go on their website and download firmware which they say will correct this problem. We do so. But our discs still do not play. Call Panasonic and the service representative tells us that their product is superior to our friend's player because his is allowing defective discs to play while theirs in more selective! Now I know I've gone through the looking glass and beyond.
After an interminable wait to speak with a supervisor, the representative gets back on and says that she was told that we need upgraded firmware beyond which is currently being offered on their website but that it will be sent to us to upgrade our player in 7-10 business days. I ask for expedited service such as Fedex etc because of the trouble we've been through and the misinformation. Wednesday's mail comes and goes without anything from Panasonic. My wife calls and after restating the whole history finally gets to speak to a supervisor who tells us that by buying a SD card our problem would be solved. Paid $12 and it did not work.
Call back the next day and after being talked down to as though we were dolts are told that the supervisor who advised us to purchase SD card is on a break but would call us back shortly. After 1 1/2 hours with no callback, we call Panasonic and go through the trials and tribulations of speaking to a supervisor who barely responds to our questions, offers no help whatsoever and repeatedly asks are we in the same room as the player and TV. We have learned our lesson-will donate this player to a school, check out customer service ratings of two companies we had in mind and purchase a player which its company supports with able and courteous service.
Well, I see I am in good company. I ordered a Blu-ray player from PanasonicDirect on 11/26/10. I too received almost immediately a confirmation email that my order would be shipped in 1 to 3 days. By 12/8, I was concerned because my order had not arrived yet so I went to the website to check the order status. Imagine my surprise that the status had in no way been updated. I sent an email to customer service to inquire about the status but to-date have had no email response. There was a voice mail left on my phone that the unit is back order with an expected fulfill date of 1/5/11 - not acceptable as this was supposed to be a Christmas gift.
I also feel that as a matter of good business practice, their voice mail should have been followed up by an email especially as they did not reach a person - suppose the voicemail didn't get through? I guess they didn't want anything in writing. Naturally enough, I wanted to cancel my order and there is NO way to do this from the site. Emailed them again several times to cancel my order - no response to-date. Started trying to reach them by phone yesterday.
After going through the wringer with the automated voices system at the online order support # (800-405-0652), which by the way doesn't understand the phrases "cancel order" and "I want to speak with a representative". I was put on hold on 2 different occasions while being transferred to a representative and was disconnected each time - the first after holding for 16 minutes and the second after being on hold for 26 minutes. After calling back yet again, I finally got a message that they are closed (this was during the normal operating hours posted on their website).
I kept trying throughout the day and I also called the other support number posted on the web site (800-211-7262) and after doing contortions again to get through the automated voice system, I finally reached a live operator who said he would transfer me to the sales department - got the same closed message again.
Figured I tried another route and got through to tech support and after being transferred to a supervisor (initially told none was available but I said I would wait until one was available), I was told the sales department was having technical issues and was closed but they would pass along my cancellation request and "hopefully" I would receive a call back from sales within 48 business hours. Frankly, Panasonic has ZERO credibility with me at this point and I don't believe I will receive a call. If I don't receive a cancellation confirmation by the end of the week, I will be contacting the Better Business Bureau and the FTC as this company's practices are bordering on fraudulent.
I purchased this rather upscale Panasonic DVD player new several months ago. Having had several Panasonic products in the past I was confident that Panasonic would support their products but that assumption was incorrect. Granted, I didn't all the homework I should have and did not discover until I powered up the unit that NETFLIX was not supported. However Panasonic made an agreement with NETFLIX shortly after my purchase and I assumed there would be a firmware update so that I would be able to stream NETFLIX movies. Bad assumption.
After communicating with Panasonic I received an email (very unfriendly) saying in essence that Panasonic had no intention of addressing this problem; the bottom line being that if I wanted to receive NETFLIX, I'd have to but a new unit. Well folks that's exactly what I did. I replaced my older Panasonic TV and DVD player with a SAMSUNG 46" LCD and a SAMSUNG Blu-ray DVD player that perform beautifully. Friends and neighbors are impressed with the picture and performance of these units and two of them have purchased the identical DVD player. GO SAMSUNG.