A Sanyo self-help success story holds a lesson or two about the power of advocacy

Ann Trehub is a self-advocacy success story. When her mother’s out-of-warranty TV stopped working, she used our company contacts to find a sympathetic ear at the manufacturer. When the TV couldn’t be fixed, they did something unexpected.

“My 94-year-old mother bought a 42-inch Sanyo TV — which malfunctioned just one month after the warranty ended,” she explains. “Multiple calls to the regular Sanyo customer service number produced only the ‘Sorry, it’s out of warranty’ line.”

Just one problem: Sanyo doesn’t exist anymore.

Panasonic acquired Sanyo in 2009, and it subsequently shut down the Sanyo brand. For those who were unaware of this, here is a little bit about the acquisition of Sanyo by Panasonic. Trehub had some Sanyo contacts in her files, but they were out of date or yielded no results.

But once she reached our Panasonic (Sanyo) company contacts on our website, she finally found a real person.

It is often difficult to receive steady and seamless service on products when the parent company no longer exists. But persistence and knowing where to look can help you.

A quick online search reveals this Sanyo website and found the following: “To order parts or accessories (such as remote controls), please contact us via e-mail Parts@sanyo-av.com or call 800-877-5032.”

Trehub explains her customer service odyssey:

I called and the message said this number also services TVs. I was prompted to select option 2 to speak with customer service and I did so. Someone answered right away and said this was where to call to get Sanyo TVs fixed that were out of warranty. I asked if I should deal with Panasonic, and the representative said no, and suggested I should just call here instead.

I can only guess that this could have been where Trehub’s mother might have started, and eventually got no help. I also found this Panasonic website but did not contact anyone through it.

If you have a Sanyo product such as an LCD TV like the one Trehub’s mother owned, you may want bookmark this article, since Panasonic has acquired Sanyo and this might affect consumers who have older Sanyo products. It will help you in case you need to employ some self-help and the power and effectiveness of having the right name and contact such as the one on our site noted above.

Do not lose faith when dealing with company buyouts and changes that could alter how you obtain good service. Remember that even the most difficult cases (like this one) may be resolvable if you have a good contact.

“When I contacted the people named on your list, they agreed to send a technician to repair it at no charge, says Trehub. “He was unable to do so and wound up replacing it — at no charge. So — thank you very much for your help!”

In this case, it was one of our executive contacts at Panasonic who helped Trehub, because those personnel are in the position to get things done when nothing else works. People should try the usual channels to solve customer service issues, but if it is needed, then people should always check for higher-up contacts on our list and use those where necessary. This is what Trehub did and it worked.

This same type of thinking will apply when other companies are acquired or merged, so keep looking, but always check our company contacts to see what our list contains, and good luck!

Jeff Filipov

Jeff Filipov is a destination planner and a frequent commenter on this site. He became interested in advocacy when his father died on American Airlines flight 11 on Sept. 11, 2001.

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