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Old 12-12-2007, 11:41 AM   #1
PHugger
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Furious with Sony Service

A bit over a week ago my PRS505 screen went bad. Never dropped or abused - the screen just stopped working. I sent it back to Sony for warranty repairs. There was no visible damage - no dents, scratches or cracks. My reader was well loved and treated gently during it's short life.

Today I received the following -
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sony
We have completed the repair estimate for your unit based on the information you provided us. The estimated charge for your repair will be $267.49. This charge includes labor, parts, tax if applicable, and shipping back to you.
I called the Sony Service Center and was told that my display was cracked. Not the outside, but one of the inner layers. I was told that I must have broken it. I asked for a supervisor and was sent to another Customer Service Center and spoke to another agent (not a supervisor). This agent told me that even though there was no visible damage that it was still not covered under warranty. In my description of the problem I had stated that the screen was scrambled. The agent told me that this always indicated a cracked screen. I told her that I would have to be very stupid to pay almost $300 for my month old reader to be repaired when it originally cost me $300. She offered to send it back unrepaired. I kept insisting that I wanted it fixed under warranty or replaced. The agent wouldn't budge. I asked to speak to a supervisor. They promised a call within 48 hours.

I'm so discouraged, but still angry enough to make this really ugly if they won't budge. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?



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Old 12-12-2007, 11:47 AM   #2
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I unfortunately am not surprised. I have used Sony audio and video products for years, and they are very good, but I've found their support to be among the worst I've ever encountered.

I never did find a way to get through to anybody who would assume responsibility. Often you just play ring-around-the-telephone and end up where you started.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PHugger View Post
I'm so discouraged, but still angry enough to make this really ugly if they won't budge. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?
I'm sorry to hear about this, but Sony's service technicians are in a position to tell if the screen substrate has been damaged - you aren't!

You don't need to have dropped your reader to damage the substrate; it's a very thin layer of glass which can be fractured by any torsion on the screen, even a completely inadvertent one.

This is why Sony sell cheap "all risks" warranties.

Many peoples' house insurance covers accidental damage; my only suggestion would be to see if yours does. You have absolutely no leg to stand on trying to argue the toss with Sony; if they say that the substrate is cracked, then it's cracked.

You're directing your "fury" at the wrong people. They've done nothing wrong. You're the one who cracked your screen, even if you weren't aware of it at the time. It really DOESN'T take much to do it.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:41 PM   #4
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What Harry is saying is true for all e-ink screens, not just Sony.

I have had several electronic items returned to Sony over the years. One of them, an LCD monitor, they said was user damage. Two supervisors and a manager later they even refunded my shipping charges as well as sending a repaired monitor back. It is still running well many years later.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:01 PM   #5
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I was just about to send back a reader with exactly the same problem. Looks like I'll be wasting my time if I do!

I am sorry to hear that Sony's support has been so weak. If they're like most places, I'd recommend you call them back rather than expect a call from them.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:01 PM   #6
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Harry, You state the obvious while simultaneously missing the same.

Things I know -
The reader wasn't damaged or abused.
No physical damage was visible.
The reader's screen doesn't work.
Sony says an inner screen layer is cracked

If the delicate substrate broke I simply feel it should be covered under the warranty as a manufacturing defect. Your arguments that Sony shares no responsibility for my non-functioning reader are silly. You don't know any more than I do what actually happened. If it cracked as a result of abuse I would agree with you, but if it broke under normal use then I disagree.


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Old 12-12-2007, 01:14 PM   #7
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Ask Sony how the substrate broke when nothing else is damaged. I would be interesting in hearing their answer to that.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHugger View Post
You don't know any more than I do what actually happened. If it cracked as a result of abuse I would agree with you, but if it broke under normal use then I disagree.
I'm not doubting that you didn't abuse your reader but Sony knows that in the vast majority of cases screen breakage is the result of some sort of mishandling or accident on the part of the user. They also know that customers will frequently say this didn't happen when it did. I used to work in tech support. So many of my callers claimed the product "just stopped working. I didn't do anything." Rarely was this the case and I was usually dealing with misconfiguration, not hardware failure. People would change the configuration and lie to me about it. Tech support folks are used to being lied to all day every day. They don't know you from Adam and authorizing a free screen replacement for this kind of damage may not be in the power of any one you have talked to. I'm sorry. This sucks and it's very much not fair.

It also makes me wonder if the case should be a wee bit more substantial. It certainly is sleek looking but maybe it's a little too sleek. I never thought I'd find an upside to my Kindle's ugly clunkiness.
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:48 PM   #9
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Alisa, the screen is still exposed. It still has the same problem if you put too much pressure on it. I don't think there is a reader with eink that has a screen that's more sturdy then any of the others. We've heard stories of a minor ding/drop causing a problem and a major fling/fall causing no damage. So there is no rhyme or reason how the screen's get damaged. if the screen breaks and the manufacturer opens the unit and sees a phsical break, would you say that is user error or not?
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Old 12-12-2007, 01:56 PM   #10
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I think the Kindle might be a bit more safe from torsion or from pressure on the back of the case just due to the clunky factor. Pressure from the front would be the same with both models I would think. But the natural answer to your question of why the screen cracked with no visible damage elsewhere points to those sorts of stresses. A drop would've likely left a ding. If it was torsion, that means the case isn't resistant enough to it to protect the screen. If it was pressure from somewhere other than the front, same thing. It's the price we pay in all sorts of portable devices for a sleek form factor. I'd still rather my Kindle looked like the Sony, though. It's a pretty sexy device.
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Old 12-12-2007, 02:11 PM   #11
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I've seen things dropped that had no visible damage on the outside, but the force of the drop did cause something on the inside to break. But really, we don't have access to this 505 to see the damage. I am guessing that Sony is seeing a physical break and that is why they are claiming user error.

I know for a fact I treat my 505 with care. But, Do I know that someone else has not dropped it or put something on top of it? I carry it around sometimes in my bag. Do I know nothing hit it or I did not drop my bag just enough to cause a break? Or did someone in passing hit my bag just right to cause a break? I cannot say what would happen if I can't say why it broke. But that doesn't mean it could not be a physical break.

So all I can sggest is to get Sony to take a picture of the problem and send you the photo so it can be seen just what the problem is.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PHugger View Post

I'm so discouraged, but still angry enough to make this really ugly if they won't budge. Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?

PCH
If you feel that you escalated with Sony Service and still aren't getting a satisfactory answer you can try contacting your local BBB. They should be able to advise if you have a case. I know from working for a service company that this can help resolve disputes.

I'm surprised that they'd take this stand myself because we used to give the customer the benefit of the doubt. It had to be pretty flagrant abuse to reject a warranty claim but I was working for a computer reseller. I suppose with all the high priced plasma displays and such they've had to take a hard stance on what is warranty.

I agree with Alisa's comments though you get conditioned to customers lying to you.
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Old 12-12-2007, 06:02 PM   #13
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Don't take "no" for an answer!

I've been an activist on many fronts for ages, and suggest you fight this to the end.

Don't waste time with the Better Business Bureau; they are absolutely worthless. Businesses pay outrageous fees to them to display their logo; that's about all they are good for. I've never had one single positive result from dozens of complaints filed with BBB offices throughout the nation!

Send a letter (with Signature Confirmation) to the CEO of Sony and raise hell. Threaten to report them to the attorney general/consumer affairs department in the state you live in AND where their corporate office is.

If you purchased your product with a credit card, immediately notify your credit card company and tell them you are having a dispute regarding the purchase and Sony is ripping you off. Many credit card companies will stand behind the consumer in a situation such as this.

You should also state in your letter to the Sony CEO that you will file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which sometimes does monitor these types of problems.

I also recommend to others that they tell the company they are having problems with that they will submit their case to Judge Judy, and will tell all their friends and colleagues to think twice before buying a Sony Reader.

You can also tell the CEO you will contact journalists who write about technical issues if Sony doesn't resolve your problem immediately!

I am so careful with my Sony Reader (and other expensive devices) because I (as I am sure you do) work too hard for my money. Sony needs to stand behind their product, unless it's obvious you dropped your Reader in a toilet or ran over it with your car.

Check out my blog which has some consumer posts on it. My contact info is there too, and I am happy to offer consumer advice free of charge; been doing it for years.

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Old 12-12-2007, 06:40 PM   #14
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I've been an activist on many fronts for ages, and suggest you fight this to the end.
Wow, crusader666, remind me never to cross you!

Absolutely excellent advice. Over the years I have had surprisingly good luck writing to the CEOs of offending companies. Rarely hear from them, but always get action from some "administrative assistant" or other flunky.

Good luck, PHugger, expect you might have some success if you're willing to fight them, as you should.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:12 PM   #15
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Did you use a credit card to buy it? Some cc's offer extra warranty stuff, so maybe check into that?
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