Fri, Apr 13, 2001 EDT
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Thomson Sets Aside $100 Million
For Defective Televisions

Associated Press
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CARMEL, Ind. — The maker of RCA, GE and Proscan televisions will set aside as much as $100 million to compensate consumers for potential defects that can render the products virtually unwatchable.

Thomson Multimedia said Thursday it had agreed to the sum with attorneys representing plaintiffs in class-action lawsuits filed in Indiana, Illinois, New York, Florida and other states.

The defects affect certain RCA, GE and Proscan models produced from November 1992 to January 1996.

The defect resulted from mounting the sets' tuners on their circuit boards, said David Arland, a spokesman at Thomson's U.S. headquarters in Carmel. Because the tuners and circuit boards were made from different materials, they expanded and contracted differently when heated or cooled, leaving solder connections vulnerable to damage, he said.

David Tittle, an attorney for Thomson, said a court in southern Illinois gave preliminary approval to the agreement this week. A hearing to certify it as final has been scheduled for June.

Indianapolis attorney Mark Maddox, who represents several plaintiffs, said he was happy with the agreement.

"Our goal was to get something for anyone who might have bought one of these sets, even people who haven't had problems," Maddox said. "We think they're still sitting there with a TV that could go out on them at any time."

Under the agreement, consumers who can prove they own one of the affected televisions and fill out a statement declaring they had problems can get a $50 coupon toward the purchase of other Thomson products. Consumers who can prove they own one of the televisions but have not had problems can get a $25 coupon.

The costs of repairs ranged from $60 to $125, Maddox said. Thomson made between 7 million and 10 million televisions containing the defect, he said.

Thomson will begin notifying customers by direct mail and advertisements in national magazines this week. They will have 60 days in which to file the necessary paperwork. Consumers also can go to a Web site, http://www.tobsettlement.com, or call a toll-free telephone number, (877) 491-9339.

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