Correct me if i am wrong please, but to my understanding sony sends YOU a ups label so YOU go to the ups place and send the unit, i was not aware ups goes to your house to pick it up.
In my experience most customer service representatives from sony are very polite, not very knowledgeable but polite nonetheless. The ones who are extremely rude are those from the exchange center but with tech support I have always been treated very nicely.
I do believe is very possible to get two defective readers. What I would do in your case is call tech support again and complain that you were treated badly by this Bernice lady (let me tell you I spoke with a Bernice too at the exchange center. Extremely rude girl!)
Anyway, I digress. I would say keep trying since once you have a working reader it will be a very nice experience.
Hope I helped