Manufacturers need to give clearer advice on the issue of defective pixels in LCD monitors, according to Trading Standards.
Defective pixels show up as either bright or dark spots on a monitor. But when customers complain, they are sometimes told that such defects fall within manufacturers' accepted limits.
The rules governing defective pixels are complex and manufacturer policies differ. The difficulty for consumers lies in working out how the industry standard, known as ISO 13406-2, applies.
Trading Standards consumer affairs spokeswoman Carol Brady told vnunet.com the rules are "baffling".
"The problem is they could confuse the consumer," she said. "Any information would be welcome but must be clear and not mislead them."
When presented with this problem Trading Standards services often seek expert advice before advising the consumer, she added.
vnunet.com contacted some major monitor manufacturers to find out their policy.
ViewSonic said it has zero tolerance towards even one full pixel failure and will consider replacing a monitor even if only a couple of sub pixels have failed.
"If, for example, the defect causes a bright light in the middle of the screen, we would consider replacing it. Towards the edge of the screen is less critical," said a ViewSonic spokesman.
Ilyama said it had a full explanation on its site about its policy, but added that it tended to follow the industry standard.
Fujistsu Siemens appears to allow one full pixel failure before replacement. Samsung declined to comment on how it interprets the standard.
Trading Standards services suggest that customers insist on having the monitor switched on in the shop to check for pixel defects; generally, monitors are unlikely to develop failures after the manufacturing stage.
And Brady advises consumers who have bought online to return their defective monitor immediately under the Distance Selling Regulations.
A consumer could try their luck in the small claims court under the Sale of Goods Act, but if the industry standard is being stuck to then their case could fail, added Brady.
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