General Question

FLUTH3R's avatar

Is it morally wrong to return this broken TV?

Asked by FLUTH3R (24points) May 31st, 2009

Ok, I know it is legally wrong, but how about from a moral standpoint.

I bought a flat screen at Wal-Mart. I have had it for six months and through NO FAULT OF MY OWN (no lightning, nothing) the TV just decided to stop working. I have spoken with Wal-Mart and they refuse to take the TV back since it is after 30 days.

I am left with only one option. Buy a new TV (cash of course) and return the old one.

Yes I know I could take the hit and pay to ge the TV repaired, but it was obviously manufactured defective or sub-par and not worth the $500 I paid for it.

I bet that once Wal-Mart finds out (through another person buying it and knowing its broken) THEY will get reimbursed by the manufacturer who deserves to take the loss for the sub-par product.

Is this wrong from a moral standpoint? Should I have to take the loss on a sub-par product?

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30 Answers

dannyc's avatar

30 days for a new tv warranty seems much too little. I would review the contract.

lillycoyote's avatar

The time frame you have for returning the TV to the store and the time frame for the manufacturer’s warranty would be different. Have you checked how long the manufacturer’s warranty if for?

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Personally, I find doing such a thing dishonest, and therefore WRONG. I’m curious as to how you can prove that it was a manufacturing defect. Has it been looked at by a professional repair shop, or are you just assuming that it was a piece of shit when you bought it? How do we know you didn’t drop the damn thing, and are hiding that little fact from us?

But hey, life is about choices. Do what you feel is right. I could never intentionally rip off a company though. It’s just not honest. The way I let a company know I am not pleased with them is to stop shopping at their establishment, and I tell everyone I know why I stopped buying my material goods from X.

drClaw's avatar

Call the manufacturer, they will send you a new one. The company that built the tv is responsible for fixing it not the store that sold it.

Misspellings courtesy of the iPhone

Bagardbilla's avatar

Call the manufacturer! It should be covered under their warrenty.
Win win! Nobody has to lie or decieve.
—edit: you beat me to it @drclaw—

FLUTH3R's avatar

Because I did not drop the damn thing. I had set it up like a normal person and it was sitting there ever since. I do not leave it on 247. It is used in the manner that the average American should use the TV.

It is a $500 TV, it should not last 5 months. Wal-martSanyo are corperations who can take the hit way better than I can, and in this sense they deserve to take the hit I feel.

Why would I be hiding anything from you? I am going to return it anyway if Sanyo dosen’t offer a warrenty, I just wanted to know the morality of the issue. This is the internet and I don’t think anyone is going to report me to the POs.

asmonet's avatar

I think it’s bad juju.

That being said, I’m fully confident Sanyo will help you out.

Then again, let this be a lesson to you. Sanyo is complete crap.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Check your credit card. Some cards offer warranties on purchases. Also check the TV. Don’t do something illegal and immoral at all, but if you are intent upon it, unless you really, really have to. You should exhaust all other possible options.

knitfroggy's avatar

You probably have a 1 year warranty on the TV thru Sanyo. Walmart will probably have the serial number from the TV and will know when you bought it and won’t return it anyway. If you don’t have your paperwork anymore, they can give you a number to contact Sanyo and get warranty service.

It would be wrong of Sanyo to not help you out, it’s probably going to be a pain in the butt, but you should be able to get your TV repaired.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Every company that takes a hit, as you put it, usually passes that expense onto other customers. It is no skin off their corporate asses. It’s like auto insurance, I pay higher premiums (even though I am a good driver with no tickets or at fault accidents in over a decade) to cover the idiots that do NOT carry insurance. It isn’t fair to me, but that’s how auto insurance plans are set up. In my state, auto insurance is mandatory, so I don’t have a choice, other than moving to a state that doesn’t push mandatory insurance.

So if Walmart or Sanyo takes the hit, how does it justify their other customers having to pay for your mistake? I see it as dishonest, and personally, I would take the hit and see it as a lesson learned. But you do what you like, it’s your life.

_bob's avatar

Yes. Lying is wrong.

Also wrong, buying stuff at Wal-Mart.

cak's avatar

Yes, it is very wrong. Like the others have wisely said before me, deal with the manufacturer. If you press enough, you will get the help you need. Most stores have a limited time for electronic returns, because of the manufacturer. Don’t abuse the store, even if it is Wal-Mart, because the tv might have been a lemon.

Did you register your tv, when you bought it? (saved the receipt, registered it w/ the manufacturer either online or through the mail) Work with them to get your tv fixed or a replacement.

Darwin's avatar

@FLUTH3R – You say “I am left with only one option. Buy a new TV (cash of course) and return the old one.”

I am confused. If WalMart says they won’t take the TV back because it has been longer than 30 days since you purchased it, to whom are you wanting to return the TV? Are you saying you want to box the thing up in all of its original packaging and take it back to WalMart and pretend you lost your sales receipt? I can’t see how that would work.

As others say, look through the paperwork that came with the TV first to see if there is any statement of manufacturer’s warranty and/or a 1–800 phone number or website to use to contact the manufacturer.

augustlan's avatar

Yes, morally wrong. Follow others’ advice and contact the manufacturer directly.

FLUTH3R's avatar


You’re silly :). What you do is buy a new TV (same model), put the old broken one in the box, and return it to the store. The common $7/hr employee has no incentive to check. Of course I would use cash since it can not be traced back to my name.

I do not personally do this (and if I did I am not scared to admit it over the internet) but my friends do. Buy tools when they need them, then return them once the project is done. It is really not hard to do.

I hate that response, because that is economically not entirely true.

Imagine you had a store with $100k of inventory. Imagine it all got stolen one night. Are you going to raise your prices because of that? If you raise your prices to an abnormal extent to recoup the losses you will lose to competition in the marketplace. If you raise them a little to recoup the losses and lose NOTHING to competition, you should have had them raised all along and are falling short on your goal of profit maximiation.

Think of lost inventory as the result of stealing as a tax (a wedge driven between what consumers pay and what the producer recieves). This can be analized using basic economics. The outcome is that both the consumers AND producers both incur the tax, with the bigger portion of the loss going toward the more inelastic side of the market.

Now in the instance where ONE person of many returns a broken TV, the loss is so distributed amongst the millions of dollars flowing in and out of the company that the impact on prices is MARGINAL. What if everyone did it?? Well yes then prices would obviously rise (still limited by supply and demand), but not everyone thinks of these things. Only a small precentage of people will actually go to the extent of doing this (Darwin is even confused about it). The aggregate ecnonmy as a whole seems to be constrained by these “morals”, so a loss here and there is marginal.

Darwin's avatar

@FLUTH3R – No, I am not silly. I am honest. And your friends are crooks.

FLUTH3R's avatar

@Darwin. Wasen’t meant to be a jab at you.

elijah's avatar

That’s what you get for shopping at Walmart. You get what you pay for. And for anyone that says it’s the same stuff only cheaper- it’s not. Companies make lower quality electronics to fit Walmart’s price demand. Look it up. Call the manufacturer. If they can’t help I would do the old switcheroo. I wouldn’t normally condone that (let’s be honest here, doing this is dishonest, regardless of how you try to justify it) but since it’s Walmart I say fuck ‘em.

YARNLADY's avatar

@FLUTH3R Your examples are not very accurate when it comes to pricing. There is a definite one to one relationship between the losses a store suffers through theft and the pricing they set for their goods. Goods that are more prone to theft are priced at a higher profit margin that items that are less likely to be stolen.

Judi's avatar

It’s crazy how people find justification for theft, even if it’s corporate theft. It’s still theft. Doesn’t anyone believe in Karma?

dynamicduo's avatar

WalMart won’t take it back cause it’s out of the 30 days. But most equipment comes with a one year manufacturer’s warranty. You need to contact the TV maker, not where you bought it.

Anything beyond that is theft and ethically wrong. You will be causing problems for one unlucky person who buys your broken TV. How is that in any way correct to do? That goes against my golden rule, thus I would never do such a thing.

That said, you should be able to have it fixed by the company who made it (not the one who sold it, Walmart’s legal obligations are completely fulfilled here so stop your baseless whining about them). And if for whatever reason they only gave you a half year warranty (I’ve never seen this ever), now you know to never buy a TV at Walmart nor by that manufacturer.

Morals are your own. For me, yes, your proposed actions are indeed immoral.

FLUTH3R's avatar


“What happens to the person who buys the TV”

Nothing will. They will take it back, say it didn’t work when they got it, and Wal-Mart will take it back guarenteed. People will not lose here, only the corperation. At worst he waste a trip to Wal-Mart (ohh a few miles big woop mabye I should leave a $5 bill in the box for the gas). I feel very very bad about screwing people over, but the corperation is different.

If the product is priced higher due to theft the good can in actuality be priced lower, meaning they will lose to competition in the marketplace.

Unless the market leans toward monopoly, businesses are the price TAKERS not price MAKERS.

Also how many people walk out of the store with TVs locked behind glass?? That defeats your arguement. KThxNext

Now thank you Fluther. I will indeed try to do the correct moral thing and call the manufacturer. If I can not resolve through that, well I must do what I must do and I am sorry for that (although wal-mart will prob. get reimbursed anyway).

At tirekingdom an allignment cost $90 and the average worker gets $15 of that. Is it wrong that I pay the average worker $50 to get that alignment done? He gets 3x rate, and I get the alignment cheaper. Both PEOPLE win. The corperation loses. I feel I am helpping the worker (and myself) in doing this. How is this theft??

drClaw's avatar

@FLUTH3R You haven’t really addressed whether or not you will contact the manufacturer? Do you not like that idea? I think @elijah said it best “Call the manufacturer. If they can’t help I would do the old switcheroo…”

FLUTH3R's avatar

@drClaw. Read my post and stop bashing me.

”**Now thank you Fluther. I will indeed try to do the correct moral thing and call the manufacturer.** If I can not resolve through that, well I must do what I must do and I am sorry for that (although wal-mart will prob. get reimbursed anyway).

drClaw's avatar

@FLUTH3R Sorry if it came across as bashing, not my intent. Besides what I wrote is exactly what you plan on doing, how can someone bash another when they both recommend/plan to carry out the same exact thing.

YARNLADY's avatar

@FLUTH3R shakes her head in sorrow at how far the human race still has to go

CMaz's avatar

Call the manufacturer. It should still be under their warranty(usually one year) for replacement or repair.

ironman9017's avatar

buying a new one and taking the old one back is not going to work ..I work undercover for walmart and you have a tv that the serial numbers will not match up with the receipt so you are wasting your time there is a reason the serial number is on your printed receipt ..nice try but its not going to work

BearsFan94's avatar

Some stuff has serial numbers some stuff does not TV’S DEFINITELY DO your screwed there don’t buy cheap brands like Emerson, Sharp, Sanyo, Hisense, Element the other weird brands Walmart sells go with Sony, VIZIO, Samsung, RCA, LG brands that have been around and this won’t happen. I have done this a few times with items that don’t have serial numbers it’s easy, as long as the item looks the same and didn’t have a serial number there is no way to tell. And to people who think it’s theft it’s not if I pay for an Item and it breaks and I go get another one and put broken one back and go get a refund, I still payed for the original item. I’m just not stupid enough to pay for the item twice when there’s no way to trace it. Sometimes walmart employees are to lasy to look anyway they just look at the package and are like ok heres your money back. But if it has a serial number on it oh well, chalk it up as a loss suck it up and take better care of the new one you buy.

Theomen86's avatar

Its absolutely not morally wrong when they rip the consumer off and deceive them intentionally. My life long friend is an engineer and his job is to design tv’s for Samsung. They have designed them to break and fail right after the warranty. The screens for instance are made just strong enough to survive in the box through the shipment process. Do really think that tv screens have gotten weaker over the years since tv’s have been around? My girlfriend threw a miniature note pad. (The 99 cent ones)not hard at all at my friend missed and hit the tv and it cracked the screen. To replace the screen it cost about 80 or 90 percent of the cost of the tv and you still have to pay someone to install it. And only that brand screen will work. The make them to break so you have to get another one. I don’t know about everyone else but a 700$ tv is a lot of my hard earned money and I cant afford another one. We have the technology to make cell phone screens almost indestructible and water proof. Your telling me they cant do that with tvs? Its purposely designed like that. They have no morals and do it on purpose to you. If thats what really happened return it. You didn’t walk in a store and steal it. You payed 500 and should get a 500 dollar tv period. People wouldn’t do stuff like this if they weren’t made to break. They may match the serial number to the box so switch the back panels so the s/n and barcode sticker matches. Walmart treats employees terrible and crushes small local businesses. Smile while you do it!

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