Shopping >Hillen's Coast TV
CONSUMER WARNING. If you value your hard earned money do not have any dealings with Hillen Coast TV. The original owner sold the company. The current owner is Ted Kim, aka "Il Tae Kim". Let it be said up front, I am a victim of my own stupidity. I know better. The facts.
1. I called and asked what the diagnostic service fee on a Samsung 42" Plasma TV would be if I brought it in. I was told by the owner that there is no diagnostic service fee, and mumbled something unintelligible about repair.
Symptom was sound, no picture.
2. I delivered said TV to shop. The are no postings of labor prices or payments types accepted. The service shop are was a pig sty. A number of flatscreens jammed eveywhere some open. Workbench buried in stuff and work on customers' tvs being done on rolling carts crammed here and there. Again I know better.
3. No written estimate. Very clever policy they have,"if they don't ask, I don't tell". He will call with estimate at end of that day. Having been a diagnostic and embedded software engineer for almost 30 years and a father who was an Electronic Design Engineer, I know my way around analog and digital electronics.
4. Kim called a day later with an estimate.
From what I saw in that shop, in the opened flatscreen TVs was at most 10 PCBAs, and obviously one of which was a switching power supply. Even my kids know when some electronic goody isn't working, CHECK the battery or make sure its plugged in. In other words check the power source and power distribution. Basic 1st step electrical and electronics. Even a newbie tech can source out the power and determine input and ouput voltages, current, etc.in a matter of minutes.
Long story short, his phone message said bad SMPS board that would be $135 plus tax and $200 labor. When I heard $200 in labor I was not happy. I had to go out of town for the weekend so I returned his call Monday and asked what his hourly labor rate was. He said $200 labor. I asked "is that hourly?", he repeated "$200 for labor". So I'm assuming he charges everybody $200 for labor, period. Personally I find that obscene. There is no circuitry or combination of circuitry in those televisions that warrants at the very most an hour of time to diagnose by any reasonable technician. His techs probably found the problem immediately and shotgunned it with a good power supply to verify (or so I thought).
Still not at all happy, I made a decision to have the repairs done and get my flatscreen out of there. Personal experience has taught me that some engineers and/or technicians are not always, shall we say "above board". We've all been there, whether its electronics, cars , appliances etc. I wasn't going to take that chance. I didn't ask for the old PS board and as it turns out when I got the TV home and eventually looked thru the back panel vents there was still dust with new "finger prints" on the power supply capacitor cans. Gee, I wonder what the plausible explanations are for that??????
So bottom line either he is incompetent and inept at his job or, he is an immoral, unethical, greedy piece of the human population. You make the call.
Sadly Hillen Coast TV is basically right across the street from El Toro Leisure World and they make onsite service calls. A plethora potential victims, oops I mean customers.
This isn't sour grapes. Like I said, I know better. This is for future consumers to help them decide where to spend and NOT spend their hard earned money.
I know Karma will have a say at some point...
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