Question Bad Sony Customer Service Experience

bhonsberger

Novice Member
We have had a long and drawn out experience with poor quality in Sony's high-end TV's and even worse customer service. I've joined the forum after reading it without participating for some years because I felt the need to share this experience with others. I am doing the same on other forums as well. The full details are below if you are interested in a long read, but the summary is this:


  • We have had the same power failure issue with 3 Sony Bravia TV’s on 4 occasions over the past 6 months.
  • I have taken the proper measurements to be sure that there is no issue with the power being supplied to our TV’s to cause a failure
  • Sony’s customer service has repeatedly over-promised and under-delivered with each service call.
  • With the most recent failure, the original Sony representative who handled my case stated that dealing with the same issue 4 times was too many and that they would contact me with a better solution
  • Sony has not offered a better solution, but only the same replacement process or the “opportunity” to spend more money with them.
  • When I questioned what was being offered I was more or less told I could take it or leave it.

So my larger question is: when enough is enough? How many unit failures should a customer have to be subjected to for Sony (or any company) to do something “above and beyond” the minimum response called for in the warranty? Of all of the bullets above, the part that bothers me most is their consistent over-promising and then not really caring that they don’t follow through on what was offered.


I've read enough to know that others have experienced similar situations. I am interested both in the responses of the people here who may have had similar experiences and I have hopes that Sony representatives will do something to improve their customers’ experiences in the future.


———————


Here’s the full story… Fair warning, it’s a long read:


Last September, our 65” Bravia 930d TV suffered the same failed power issue as many others, leaving it dead. Sony first repaired the unit, which went smoothly enough and was relatively easy to arrange. However, when it died again at the end of December they offered a replacement (refurbished) 930d with a 2-year warranty rather than opting for another repair. Again, we felt this was a fair compromise as this known-issue would have hopefully been fixed during refurbishment and the unit would have twice the typical warranty.


Our Customer Service problems started when that unit never shipped; instead I was contacted a few days later by a repair technician to arrange a repair. When I contacted Sony (on 1/4) the rep who handled my call stated that they would NOT replace the unit because they did not have any refurbished 930d’s in stock. After a prolonged amount of back-and-forth on the topic he offered a new 930e with a 90-day warranty. I again had to argue that this was not a fair replacement since I had been offered a unit with a 2 year warranty. The best Sony was willing to offer was a 90-day warranty and a 6-month extended warranty. I agreed to their terms and we took delivery on the replacement unit on 1/15.


On 2/13 the new 930e died in the same way the previous unit had. It was a complete brick without any power whatsoever. I contacted CS at Sony once again and spoke with Charlie who once again offered a certified refurbished unit with a 2-year warranty. I accepted, but before our call was complete he transferred me to Kathy in level 2 support. She informed me that (once again) they would NOT send a refurbished unit with a 2 year warranty, but instead would send another new unit with the BALANCE of the 90-day warranty of the unit that was in my home (in other words I would have less than a 50-day warranty by the time we received it).


Once again, I had to argue that this was not an acceptable offer given that my unit was supposed to have a 270-day warranty and that a new TV shouldn’t be covered by the old TV’s warranty. My call was transferred again and the new rep. Haylee offered the same 270-day total warranty from the date the new 930e would be delivered. We received the 2nd replacement unit on 2/22 and an email with the extended warranty letter the next day.


This unit died the same way on 3/14 and once again I contacted Sony. My phone call took place on 3/18 due to being out of town from the 15th-17th. I spoke to two individuals, one in CS and one in tech support to “complete our troubleshooting” which mostly consisted of me waiting on hold. The CS representative requested that I send them a copy of my proof-of-purchase for the original unit and stated that they would contact me within 24-48 hours after they determined whether they could provide a refund of any type. I think it’s important that I say clearly that I did not REQUEST a refund from this representative… it was their idea since this was the 4th failure of the same nature that we have experienced. I took this as a good sign that Sony was legitimately looking into other solutions than a replacement and patiently waited 2 days for a call back.


On 3/21 I spoke to Carlo in the National Customer Relations department, he stated that Sony would NOT be offering a refund, but instead would offer me a discount to upgrade to another model. Since we have experienced so many issues with these TV’s I am wary of another Sony TV. However, I was willing to entertain the idea so long as the other models Sony has to offer do not share the same parts that are failing in the 930d & e models we have had. To answer that question I was transferred to Sam in Level 5 tech support.


Of all the people I have dealt with at Sony to date, Sam was the most helpful. She was able to identify what had failed in each of my returned units and called me back within the timeframe she promised with the info I was looking for. We identified two models that did not share any of the same power circuitry with the 930e. The X900f and the A1e (both 65”).


With this information, I spoke again with Nat’l Customer Relations and they provided prices to upgrade to either of these two models. In both cases, the pricing is equal to the difference between the retail price of those units and the current retail price of a 930e. In other words, $200 for the X900f ($2200-$2000) or $1500 for the A1e ($3500-$2000).


There’s several things about those prices that trouble me though. First is the fact that the current retail price of the 930e I have in my living room is less than what the 930d was. So, right off the bat, we’re losing about $500. You can call that depreciation or whatever you like, either way all of Sony’s calculations are based on the retail-price of what in my living room today rather than what I have actually spent with the company.


That aside let’s compare the 930e and the X900f - by all accounts the X900f sits BELOW the 930e in the product lineup. I acknowledge is a model-year newer (which makes it more expensive), but it’s tech specs are nearly the same just in a less “high-end” body. Regardless, why should I spend $200 more for what is, at best, a cross-grade. When you factor what I actually paid originally, I will have shelled out $2700 total for a $2200 TV


In the case of the A1e, once again, it’s as though I’m back in the showroom buying a $2000 TV and being offered the “opportunity” (their word) to buy the A1e for only $1500 more. If I wanted to spend $1500 more I could have done that in the beginning.


The most bothersome thing is that these “opportunities” don’t show me that Sony is doing anything to make up for the level of inconvenience we have had to deal with over the past few months. I have had to speak to Sony no less than 10 times about the same repeated issues. Other than one phone call today, each call has lasted anywhere from 2-3 hours; the majority of that time has been spent being placed repeatedly on hold. In addition, I have had to take multiple days off of work to be home during the delivery and repair windows dictated to me. Since December 30th we have been without a TV for a total of 37 days and counting.


I raised my concerns about the pricing to the representative and stated that I didn’t think they represented an adequate response from Sony from a customer service perspective. Keep in mind that it was a Sony representative that said the 4th failure was too many and that they would consider a refund. When I raised this concern, the rep said they would escalate the call and that I should hear form someone with 24-48 hours.


Today I received a phone call from Rhonda who stated she is a supervisor in the Nat’l Customer Relations department. In a few words, she was calling to say I could take it or leave it. My choices are to accept another replacement of a TV that has now died 2 times (4 times if you count the 930d) or spend more money with Sony to get a different model. What was the most shocking is her complete indifference to the situation. So much so that she actually gave me an ultimatum that these offers would only be valid for 2 weeks.


I’m not a person to ask for something free and, as a business owner myself, I understand that there are terms to warranties and limits to what is and isn’t possible for a company. However, I also understand that sometimes giving good customer service means doing a little extra to take care of a client. What upsets me about this experience with Sony is the constant back and forth that Sony reps have put us through, first offering one thing and then retracting that offering either within days or within minutes.


I would be willing to accept the cross-grade to the X900f if it wasn’t going to cost me anything. I might even spring for the A1e if they were actually offering something that wasn’t a straight upgrade using retail values. As a customer, I want to know that Sony appreciates my business and not just the money in my wallet. I would like to see a gesture that shows our experience with their top-end TV’s is not normal and that the negative opinion I’m forming is not the way they want customers to perceive their brand.


I have always been fond of Sony products, but this experience has shown me that they would rather use their brand reputation as a tool to brow-beat customers rather than as something they once earned from their customers and would like to cherish and hold on to.
 

dr no

Moderator
Sorry for your bad experience
But I think you’ve won the longest post award :thumbsup:
 
Last edited:

bhonsberger

Novice Member
Sorry - I know it was long and, although it's a UK site, it's read around the world.

The question is; what do other consumers think should be done if a they experience 4 failures of the same product in a period of less than 6 months.
 

chealo

Novice Member
Did you buy it from Sony direct or an electronics retailer, I’m not sure on what the retail rights are in North America but here that would be deemed not fit for purpose, you would expect things to last a reasonable amount of time without your continuous service failures. You must have an equivalent of a trading standards or someway of taking it to a small claims court, all said & done it’s a poor show from Sony.
 

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