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Vizio agrees to pay $3 million over alleged ‘false’ refresh rate claims

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If you purchased a Vizio TV in California after April 30, 2014, Vizio may owe you money. The company agreed to pay $3 million after a class-action lawsuit in 2018 alleging its marketing of “efficient” 120Hz and 240Hz refresh rates was “false and misleading.” Vizio denies doing anything wrong, according to the agreement. The deadline for filing claims is March 30 next year and requires some sort of proof of ownership, including proof of purchase or serial number, to qualify.

In addition to paying for verified claims, Vizio would “end the advertising practices” and “provide enhanced services and a one-year limited warranty to all members of the settlement class,” according to details on the created website for filing complaints. The detailed notice states that the claims will cover any TV from April 30, 2014 until final approval of the agreement, which is scheduled for a hearing on June 20, 2024.

TV manufacturers often use marketing terms like “effective refresh rate” to refer to motion smoothing features, often called “soap opera effect,” intended to reduce motion blur on modern TVs. Motion smoothing is controversial enough on its own, but companies like Vizio can be frustratingly flippant with refresh rate terminology in their marketing. To the casual buyer, their wording can often imply that a TV offers more than its native refresh rate, which is often only 60Hz in reality. To make matters worse, each TV manufacturer uses its own marketing name for motion smoothing, and it’s often so difficult to turn it off that we’ve written a comprehensive guide on how to do it for many popular brands.

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