Sony Replaces Customer's Broken Reader

Earlier this week, I posted about Kate’s bad experience getting her Sony Reader upgraded. She hadn’t asked for an update, but was told by Sony to send it in, she says. What she got back was a busted Reader that wouldn’t work, and a demand from Sony to pay for any repairs.

Happily, over the past two days Sony reps have been in contact with Kate and made things whole again.

First, after commenters suggested a device mix-up, I asked Kate to verify that the Reader she was sent back had the same serial number as the one she sent in. She confirmed it did. She also provided more information about what transpired between when she received the broken Reader and when she wrote us. I’ve edited some of her email into a summary below:

[Monday, December 28th]

It was the original Reader, the serial number is on the back and it is exact. It is a PRS505 model.

When I took it into a Sony Store last Thursday, the store basically replied with a big ole “sucks to be you.”

Then I called a 1-800 number and was connected to a very nice gentleman who was extremely sympathetic and PROMISED me that when the Texas office opened this morning all I would have to do is call them with my work order info and they would ship me a refurbished model immediately.

[When I called Texas this morning, the woman] all but accused me of lying and breaking the machine myself. She told me she would need my credit card info before going any further b/c in order to fix it, they would have to charge me in excess of 100 dollars.

I exploded. Then she gave me another number. I called and after staying on hold for 45 minutes, gave up. I got online and tried some chat assistance. It got me nowhere even quicker.

Basically, it ended up being that they were sorry. That’s it. No offer to fix the old Reader; nothing but a weak apology.

Frustrated and wanting to read her books, Kate went to Best Buy and bought a newer model Reader. Her reasoning was that if nobody at Sony would help her, at least she would have a model under warranty.

Important Sidenote About Why DRM Sucks For Customers!

If you’re like me, you did a facepalm at this news and asked your gods why she would give more money to Sony at this point. But in a separate message, Kate noted that she would have gladly purchased a Kindle or nook but would have lost access to the library she’s spent hundreds of dollars building up. And THAT is a perfect example of what DRM really does–it locks in customers far worse than any cellphone contract with a high ETF. It holds your content hostage.

Back to the update…

Fortunately, there are plenty of people at Sony who seem to want to make their (DRM-trapped) customers happy. This is what Kate sent us yesterday–and it looks like we have Reddit to thank for sending Kate here in the first place, so thanks, Reddit!

Just wanted to let you know there was a happy ending. I woke up this morning to two emails and a phone call and the whole situation was taken care of by 1:30 this afternoon. I got an apology straight from the VP of Customer Relations himself, while he was on vacation at the Grand Canyon.

Tonight I will be faxing a copy of my Best Buy receipt to the Sony Corporation. They will be cutting me a check for the full reimbursement [of the replacement Reader I bought].

None of this would have happened without The Consumerist, nor for the suggestion to contact you by the good folks at Thanks again for everything. You have made the beginning of 2010 a very good start.

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