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
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.