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February 01, 2007

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» Sony's extended warranty is a rip-off from Boing Boing
Alice from the Wonderland Blog bought a Sony laptop last year and sprang for an extra $300 worth of "home service" warranty. The first time it broke down (faulty hard-drive, plus Sony "forgot" to install the Bluetooth module) the service tech put it ba... [Read More]

Comments

Steff Davies

This is why Sonys make a lousy choice of laptop, irrespective of how nice the designs look. By contrast, my experience of IBM (now Lenovo) support was much closer to your second example. They send new bit, you take it out of the box and put the old bit in the box, the courier takes it away wih him.

hir0

Unfortunate experience with Sony.

When my first PSP died (square key stopped working) they sent a courier who swapped it for a new one on my doorstep.

Pete

I think it really depends on the company, regardless of size. MS sent me a new 360 HD without even asking for the faulty one back. I guess smaller companies are more likely to offer helpful service because they want to get established but it's still no guarantee.

Prequarius

yet another shitty call on sony' s part. bad consoles always breaking, bad pc's/laptops, bad business ethics, bad everything! also, if you had to bribe the guy to let you keep your faulty hard drive, i think i would have just pulled out the sledge hammer and smacked the fugg out of it and ordered him to take it back to their headquarters for further analysis. good luck boys~

kingkong

It's like Apple's iPod 90 warranty. You got 1 call to tech support.

The number one call type was "The click-wheel doesn't work."

Tech: "Slide the button on the top"

Bing. That's your 1 call

Jeff

I agree that Sony should have sent someone qualified to repair laptops in the first place.

On the other hand, your demanding that Sony allow you to keep your broken hard drive is excessive and the only way that any warranty company would allow that would be if you purchased the replacement outright which is usually 1.5 to 2 times the retail price of a similar retail boxed hard drive.

I have replaced hard drives under warranty in Apple, IBM, HP, Compaq, and Toshiba laptops and desktops. EVERY one of those companies has a policy that if the defective part doesn't come back, the authorized repairer WILL be billed the full stock price for the drive. There are two reasons for this:

1. The company (in this case Sony) wants to get the part back to repair so they can resell it after it has been refurbished or repaired.

2. The company needs to receive SOMETHING back so that fraud doesn't occur. It would be trivial (and has happened before) where phantom repairs are made and parts were shipped out with nothing coming back in exchange.

I personally knew someone who was working for a support partner of Compaq and had thousands of dollars worth of warranty equipment (CPUs, memory cards, HDs, etc) sent to friends from making false warranty claims.

Also, not to pick nits but shouldn't you have brought up the missing BT device with them earlier? I don't know the age of your laptop and it could be anywhere between 1 day and 5 years old if you had a HD failure but if you bought it and it wasn't properly configured that should be a problem for the reseller. I am unaware if Sony has a build to order program like Apple but I suppose it's possible.

Mr. X

This is an outrage. I mean, if the service tech showed up, blew his nose on the drapes, shrugged and said, "I don't see what the problem is", all without even seeing the laptop in question, does that count as a service call?

Jeff: The parts return policy makes sense, but having the option to retain the original hard drive at a reasonable cost should be standard. And I can completely understand why someone might not have used their BT with their laptop for a while.

kingkong: That, of course, is exactly the sort of person who should have their support calls cut off. Seriously, RTFM, anyone? Next they'd be calling the service techs to ask what sort of music they should put on their iPod.*

*The Beatles.

Gregg

I work for one of the competitors that Jeff mentions, so I won't comment too much about Sony as that wouldn't be appropriate. I'll just say we don't have quotas on our onsites, and if we're doing a parts exchange then yes, we send the replacement first. Unfortunately, the amount of fraud out there has meant that our consumer side now must collect a credit card for collateral (I work with commercial notebooks and so do not have to deal that).

However, I have to add an important 3rd reason to Jeff's; normally the parts are under warranty from the maker of the part, and so we need to present a defective part back to them in order to get replacement stock from them.

We also do various things such as test the parts to find out if they are truly defective, so we can find out which phone and onsite techs are doing their job and which are being lazy.

In the end, the user is always responsible for making regular back-ups of his data. When a drive dies, you probably won't be able to get anything back. If you want to have it disassembled to try, don't take the onsite, instead have the part shipped, don't return the defective, and then pony up when we bill you for not returning it (it will be expensive). If you have super-sensitive info and you are not the US government or military (which have pre-made deals with the hard drive manufacturers and therefore we, the computer maker, still get replacement stock from hard drive manufacturer), you can think ahead and buy our option of an onsite warranty with hard drive retention. Like any warranty, though, you can't buy it after the incident. The inexpensive option Mr. X wishes for is to pre-buy this warranty... if you choose not to take that option ahead of time, then you risk the expensive option.

Nick

Sony has always been awful with customer care. And you can't even argue about the nice style anymore. Every time they have a nice styled laptop, they ruin it the following year.

I agree with whoever wrote above and his experience with IBM. I've never had any problems with IBM and Apple. In fact, my clients who switched to either never had problems.

I made money on Dell and Sony for their notorious horrible customer care and their predictable ways to mess up the simplest exchanges.

Sony and Dell are two very, very bad companies that keep us consultants in business.

mostros

i purchased a sony vaio laptop in 2003 during a promotion for free 3 years extended warranty. when my motherboard fried a year and half ago, i tried to get it repaired but they told me that i did not in fact have a 3 year warranty, although i have a certificate that came with my vaio that says otherwise. i asked them to check their records but they said that they have no information regarding my purchase made on their website sonystyle. i even faxed to them a copy of my warranty certificate. to further add to my anger, i'd been receiving notices from sony's third party warranty provider that my 3 year warranty was about to expire (which proves that i did indeed have a warranty). so after days and days on hold with customer "service" and getting passed from one department to another and back again, nothing could be done about my computer because the motherboard is no longer available. after this incident i've decided never to purchase another sony product ever again. not even cameras or playstations. nothing. i f''king hate sony and everything they're about.

italianscallion

just to add to the list. i had a sony laptop that never quite worked right, and then died a little before the one year warranty expired. i sent it in for repair, and a few days after it came back (and coincidentally just after the warranty expired) several keys on the keyboard suddenly stopped working. even though the defect was clearly due to the fact that they had taken the computer apart, and even though the 2 weeks it took for them to receive, repair and return the computer meant i'd had the computer available to me for less than a year, and really i should have still been in warranty, sony refused to do anything. since then, i've also somehow not been able to stomach purchasing any further sony products. since i'm in technology, people regularly ask me for my suggestions on laptops, and i generally list a few companies, to consider, but ALWAYS tell them to avoid sony like the plague. i'm sure sony have lost more money than they saved on me...

ttancm

Speaking from my experience with them in two countries (U.S. and Japan) Sony's customer service is terrible and always has been. I absolutely refuse to buy their products anymore because of it.

As for the comment about Apple customer service, I can't say as I like them very much either. My wife's IPod broke and their idea of a warranty repair is having us buy a new one at a (very slightly) reduced rate.

M.Bischoff

The shoddy work is wrong but there is a reason why companies keep the faulty hard drives. They need it for the insurance company. Because otherwise hordes of people would call in to have their perfectly working hard discs replaced whenever their guarantee is close to running out.

Plus, you should always have backups. If you're worried about data security, you should always have you data backed up.

Drusilla

As “Nick” told about the warranty, no doubt I too hate Sony because of such warranty etc prob …. I have had a camera with 2 years of warranty, after 11 months or less the camera started on giving deferent fold …. Never asked with Sony after once time showing them when they had refused me such of Nick …

A. Former Tech

I have had very bad luck with Sony's extended warranty on their laptops. (Although I am not sure why I call it luck, as it seems very intentional.) Right now I am on the fence about a television purchase. In the 90's I bought from them because their name meant quality. I am not sure that is the case anymore.

Phil Trevelyan

I have had many problems with Sony, i have a DSLR Ax200 which developed a fault 1 Month before the original 12 Month warranty which i noticed whilst taking photos of gaming computers for my new website. The problem was misalignment of the shot, basically thewhole photo turned out lower than it should be.

Returned to Sony, advised fault was not covered by warranty and could have been caused by a bump or dropping it !!

I have never dropped or so much as knocked my camera and it is always kept in a padded camera bag.

Sony, never again !!!

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