I’m composing this email with rather mixed emotions. I am, on the one hand almost lightheaded with relief. I am, on the other hand so incredibly angry I’m almost sick. Let me explain.
Just before Christmas, my Sony Vaio seemed to be having problems charging. I had run the battery down completely the day before, having forgotten my a/c adapter. After suddenly coming out of hibernation in the middle of the night and powering down, it wouldn’t stay on for more than 5 minutes before suddenly shutting completely off (eventually it wouldn’t stay on for more than 15 seconds). After technical support failed to diagnose the problem over the phone, they suggested I send it to San Diego to be serviced.
The laptop’s only 9 months old, and still under warranty, so I thought nothing of it. But being just before Christmas, and just a little busy, I kept putting off sending it. I also left it plugged in just to see if some good might come of it. Thank God for both. The morning I planned to go down to FedEx, I tried turning the computer on, just for grins, and to my surprise, it worked. Almost. Everything was working beautifully except that even plugged in, the computer was continuously losing it’s charge.
A quick experiment proved that the computer would charge itself after it was turned off, but couldn’t charge and would steadily lose power when turned on (as if it was only running on battery.) Hurray! Perhaps it wasn’t the disaster it appeared to be. Excited, I called the Sony Technical support line again, telling them that it looked like it might just be a battery that wouldn’t charge properly, or something that simple. Every thing’s working but that I told them, could they maybe just send me a new battery? They couldn’t. I needed to ship the computer so they could run a full diagnostic. Fine.
They were paying for FedEx overnight to and from, and just in case the problem was something more complicated, it seemed like the best option. So I sent it.
A few days later, when I logged on their site to check on my work order, I was met with a message that an estimate was ready for my repair. Estimate? My computer was under warranty. I called them immediately and was told that the cause of my trouble was liquid damage.
Impossible I told him. He transferred me to a technician. Robert (the technician) told me they had found a ‘pink liquid’ all over the interior of the laptop. I was careful with my laptop. I hadn’t spilled on it, much less doused it with pink liquid. I was furious and instantly suspicious. After a lot of protesting about that, I asked what would it cost to repair?
‘We consider it uneconomical to repair,’ dear Robert answered.
‘Excuse me,’ I replied. ‘How is that possible? When I sent to computer to you the only problem with that it wouldn’t charge!’ Ma’am, he replied, it has liquid damage and would cost more than the computer originally cost to repair.
How is that possible? (I’ll admit I’m beginning to raise my voice at this point.) I ask, ‘when the only thing not working is the charge?’
‘We’re sorry, after market parts cost more than when it was built’. So how much are we talking here? (I’m shaking with rage at this point).
‘$2414.19’ he replied. (It’s possible I passed out at this point). I believe I said ‘I beg your pardon?’
He offered no solution, no alternative. Just, ‘I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do, it’s ruined.’
What the hell did they expect me to do? Ask them to transfer me to the sales department so could slap down more money for their outstanding product and top notch service ?
‘Send it back to me then’ was the only thing I could say. At least I knew it would work for short periods of time. I’d just have to type really fast. Faced with a $2400 bill or the cost of another computer, I didn’t have much choice. The laptop came back 2 days later, complete with a list of the parts that were damaged by liquid and had to be replaced. Out of curiosity, I stared googling the various part numbers. They included the motherboard, CPU, another, yet unidentified Intel part, and my keyboard.
So just for fun, I plugged it in again, left if for an hour just to be sure, and turned it on. And it worked. Perfectly. Except for the one thing I sent it off for. It still wasn’t charging when it was plugged in. But wait a minute. According to Sony, my motherboard and CPU needed to be replaced. Now I don’t know much about computers, but I do know they don’t generally work without a functioning motherboard and CPU. And yet mine was working like a charm, minus the battery trouble. And my keyboard was just fine too (I’ve typed this entire email on it, so I really have to question whether it needs to be replaced.)
And last night, I left it to charge again and this time when I turned it on, everything was fine. No problems with the battery, with it charging. Nothing. I don’t know what’s been going on for the last 2 1/2 weeks but everything works perfectly. I’m ecstatic, almost in a state of shock. I realize it’s peanuts compared to some of your readers messes with houses, cars and credit card companies, but with my income, paying for even a cheap computer at the moment would be impossible. But then a scary thought hit me. What if I hadn’t, by chance, tried turning it on one last time before I sent it to them. What if I hadn’t known it was working when that technician told me it was a complete loss, thanks to a still mysterious pink liquid?
What if out of desperation or a moment”s insanity I had told them to fix it anyway and gave them $2400 for absolutely nothing (not even a malfunctioning battery) . Was this some kind of sick joke? Was Sony so dishonest they were trying to screw the cost of another computer out of me? Could any technician be so incompetent they didn’t even bother trying to push the power button. I’m reluctant to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I can’t shake a very sickening thought. What if I had believed them? I’m still struggling to put into words how I’m feeling both complete relief and total outrage. It’s like I took a new car that wouldn’t start into a dealership, was told the engine was shot and the car was worthless, only to discover it just needed a jump start. I feel like an email to a the executive in charge of the Sony Computer Division is in order. I just can’t find any contact info for anything but the general help line. I don’t suppose you might be able to help?
(And composed and sent entirely from my recently diagnosed complete loss of a laptop)
We don’t really know anything about repairing computers, but it does seem sort of hard to believe that your computer works perfectly fine except for the small detail of having to be completely replaced. Maybe there was some sort of mix up?
Does anyone have any contact information for Sony’s computer division that they’d like to share with Rosemary so she can unleash the EECB?