I don't usually write reviews, but I strongly felt this is worth informing as many people as possible. I read all the reviews on the PanaSonic PT - AX200U projector and they all looked good, so I bought one. For me, I wanted the best possible resolution and highest lumens without spending thousands of dollars. I bought this in May, 2008 for $1299.
At the beginning of this January, I went to turn it on and heard a loud bang and it wouldn't power up. Now you should know that I am incredibly anal retentive when it comes to my electronic equipment. This machine has been cared for like a baby and has only been used for 525 hours (approx. ¼ bulb life) so it is impossible that I caused any problem with the machine.
So I called PanaSonic Projector Customer Support. They were unsure what could be wrong, so they had me send it to their outsourced provider, Heartland Diversified, for repair ($130 diagnostic fee, but it goes toward any repair costs). Heartland notified me that the cost of the repair would be $1265 (recall the cost of the new projector, which by the way, can now be bought new for $999). Since this warranty just expired, they said any dispute would have to be with PanaSonic directly.
This is where the disaster begins, if it wasn't already disappointing enough that the projector broke so quickly. Customer Service at PanaSonic is a nightmare. You can never get past front line customer support personnel (who have no decision-making authority) to management and all conversations end with the refrain “We will have to get back to you in 24-72 hours” which never happens, thus requiring yet another call to customer support. Bottom line is I wanted them to stand behind their product regardless of warranty because a projector should not completely break after a year and a half.
They say they are escalating the request but then tell me that the request is going to the same original person, **. They will absolutely not let you talk directly to anyone and will not give out email addresses or phone numbers (or last names, but one of the reps slipped, so I got this one). This issue has now been going on for two months and Heartland is threatening to take possession of the projector at the 60 day mark. I have even written to Robert Perry, the EVP of PanaSonic Consumer Products, and have gotten no response.
After easily 20 hours of being on the phone with ** (three times), **, **, **, **, **, and the people at Heartland, I am getting nowhere and feel incredibly frustrated to the point that I will not buy another PanaSonic product and cannot recommend a PanaSonic product to anyone. Even when I look back at other PanaSonic products I have had (stereo, boom box, clock radio, microwave), every single one has had something break quickly. They haven't become unusable but there is always something – a button doesn't work, it doesn't turn off, a door doesn't close, etc.
In summary, I believe this is not just a poor product quality issue, but PanaSonic has a major customer service issue to which I can only say “Buyer Beware.”
I receive the projector but only tried to install after 6 weeks because I was traveling. When the Geek Squad tried to install it we found out that the projector (PJ) was DOA (Dead on Arrival) Here are the details: When turn on PJ it starts for about 5-7 seconds just enough time to see a blue screen with the word "Panasonic" then immediately it goes into standby. The red light for standby is on and there is no flashing or otherwise except when it turns green for the 5-7 sec. PJ would not start again unless it is unplugged from the wall and is reconnected again. The installer did some troubleshooting including making sure the filter cover and the top is closed well but without success.
I called PanaSonic Tech support and they informed me that the unit is defective and suggested that I send it for repair. I told them that it was DOA and they just would not listen. They claim that they can only repair it because it was past the 30 days return policy. I indicated to them that they guaranteed returns for the first 5 hours and that mine had 0 hours as it was DOA but they would not listen or show flexibility for a customer who paid over $2000 for a defective product. I now have paid full price for a product that will be refurbished.
The supervisor didn't want to help and stuck to the script. When I asked to speak with his supervisor they gave me a first name (**) and refused to connect me with him or give me his contact, his last name, or even reference number that I can use to contact the PanaSonic. The supervisor promised to send me a repair order but didn't and frankly I am not comfortable sending the projector for repair given the level of support and customer services exhibited by their phone people. I would not be surprised if they keep the PJ for 12 weeks to wait for parts from Japan!
There is no way to provide feedback about their performance except through these forum and I hope people are reading this and consider what they could be facing before buying a PanaSonic. I was hoping to leave some feedback to through their survey but even the survey seems to call back just to mark a call and not ask any questions. They called me 4 times after I chose to take it and each time they call and hang-up without any survey taken. They are probably afraid of taking customer surveys because they know what a nightmare to deal with them.
I own a Panasonic PT-L500U LCD projector, which recently had the lamp burn out after 3000 hours of use. So far, so good: it's a very nice projector. I purchased a replacement lamp for $350, which promptly burned out after only 30 hours of service. I contacted the vendor, who claimed the lamp has a 90 day warranty, who directed me to call Panasonic at 800-524-1448. This number has a recorded message to call '888-411-1996' for LCD projector service, which I then called. I waited in the phone queue for over two hours before I was disconnected.
I tried calling back the following day, where I waited for another hour before being disconnected. After this, I went to their web-site to see if I could get support there. I wadded through their clumsy flash interface, where I finally came to a clunky web form to request support. See: http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/vContactUs?storeId=15001&langId=-1 Extra Credit: See how long it takes you to locate this thing on your own.
The form did not list my model number and only allowed 600 characters to state the problem, which was insufficient. After submission, it took 5 days to get a reply. While waiting, I made three more attempts to get someone on the phone, which all failed. The following was their e-mail reply: "Thank you for your inquiry. Although we would like to assist you, the product you have inquired about is not supported from this facility. To obtain operational assistance, please contact the support line for the product by calling (800) 524-1448."
This number is the same one which originally directed me to call the grossly understaffed support number. It took them five days to tell me to go back to square-one. How much effort would it have been to forward my request to someone in the warranty department, or *gasp* called me back? Imagine the horror! Is this how they cut costs on warranty claims or merely another example of an incompetent outsourced support department?
OKLAHOMA -- We spent over $2,000 dollars on a Panasonic TV only to find out that there are problems with some bulb on these burning out over and over and over again. Each event costing upwards of $400.00 to repair. Panasonic won't do anything about it saying we should have spent the money to buy a warranty plan and it's too late. The warranty is costly too.
We are senior citizens on fixed incomes and can not afford these costly repairs! We saved to buy this TV for entertainment purposes for disabled spouse who is partially paralyzed and can not get about. Customer service is HORRIBLE TOO!! On hold FOREVER!! They were useless to us!!! We hate this Panasonic TV!!!