If you bought a Vizio TV in California after April 30th, 2014, Vizio may owe you some money. The company has agreed to pay out $3 million after a 2018 class action lawsuit alleged that its marketing of 120Hz and 240Hz “effective” refresh rates was “false and deceptive.” Vizio denies that it did anything wrong, according to the agreement. The deadline for filing claims is March 30th next year, and requires some sort of evidence of ownership, including proof of purchase or the serial number, to qualify.
In addition to paying out for verified claims, Vizio would “stop the advertising practices” and “provide enhanced services and a limited one-year warranty to all Settlement Class Members,” according to details from the website set up for filing claims. The long form notification says claims will cover any TV from April 30th, 2014 through the agreement’s final approval, which is set for a June 20th, 2024 hearing.
TV makers often use marketing terms like “effective refresh rate” to refer to motion smoothing features, often called the “soap opera effect,” that are intended to reduce motion blur on modern TVs. Motion smoothing is already controversial enough on its own, but companies like Vizio can be frustratingly casual with refresh rate terminology in their marketing. Their phrasing can, to the casual shopper, often imply a TV offers more than its native refresh rate, which is often just 60Hz in actuality. To make matters worse, each TV manufacturer uses its own marketing name for motion smoothing, and it’s often so hard to turn it off that we wrote a whole guide about how to do so for a lot of popular brands.