Sony's Repair Service Has Left My Coworker Computerless Since August

Back in August, Michael tried to do his co-worker a favor by guiding him through Sony’s warranty repair, but did him no favors because the the repair attempt ended up breaking the computer in a different way. The computer has since fallen out of the warranty window but apparently is still in the long, winding path toward redemption.

He writes:

I wish the subject were true. Back in August, one of my co-workers has a Sony laptop and I tried to help him take advantage of Sony’s warranty and created a claim to replace speakers that haven’t worked on his computer since he bought it. This was back in august. The technician arrived to replace the speakers a week later, and when she did, she only had one speaker, not both.

She was happy to replace the one she had, but when she was disassembling the computer, she inadvertently severed the hard drive cable. I understood that she simply made a mistake and just asked her to create a new ticket for the part that was broken. She did, and I was given a new reference number for the claim.

Weeks passed, and as I checked with the technician, I was always told the part hadn’t shipped yet. I had also contacted Sony several times with their online chat and was continually told that it was on backorder. I decided to call.

When I actually spoke to someone, I was told that the warranty on the laptop has expired (and it had by this point) and I would have to send the laptop off for a repair quote. At this point it was just getting ridiculous so I asked for a manager. The person I spoke with was finally professional and courteous, and was happy to fix the situation, assured me that it would get repaired properly, but requested that I send the laptop off to get expedited service. I was happy to oblige. That was nearly two months ago and I called back recently to check on the status of the repair. Guess what? The parts are on backorder again.

What’s the longest you’ve waited for a computer repair?


Edit Your Comment

  1. PunditGuy says:

    Ask for the laptop back. The cable is like a $30 part at retail, depending on the exact laptop model — and a used one can probably be found for much cheaper. Definitely better than waiting for Sony to get its act together. You can even bill the technician for it.

    • consumerized says:

      OP here. I’ve looked at the cable myself, it’s a proprietary connection. Before I shipped it off, I did recover the data because Im sure it would get wiped. I’ve never seen the adapter or I would try that. The technician was from a 3rd party. I have to say that I’m extremely disappointed in the level of service I’ve seen so far from Sony. Normally you’d expect a better level of service from a company who you pay such a premium price for.

      If I hadn’t wasted so many hours already on customer service I would try again, but I only see myself getting the run around.

      • PunditGuy says:

        I’m sure the cable has a proprietary connection, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find one before Sony does. Which Vaio is it?

  2. bethanyboo says:

    The longest I’ve waited is less than a day. You may pay a premium on macs but I find it worth it. A lot of repairs can be done right at the Apple store.

    • GoodBytes says:

      Well me it’s few hours. I have Dell technician come and fix my system in front of me, at the time I want, and where exactly I want. Do you have such great service with you über expensive laptop?

      • GoodBytes says:

        Oh and the warranty is a few years longer than your Mac. I have similar specs, including the backlit keyboard, non-glossy screen, metal body, and the rest. Without paying Apple premium price.

        • DurkaDurkaDurka says:

          Apple only gives a damn if you purchase their AppleCare. Otherwise they tell you to get fucked. Sounds like a premium to me as well.

    • Chaotic Evil says:

      It’s a good thing they can be done right in the store, because you sure as heck can’t do them yourself.

    • Scully says:

      There’s no premium for Macs; that’s a myth that ignorant PC users like to perpetuate because they’re too cheap to buy a quality product to begin with. Their only criteria is lowest price, and that’s not an indicator of quality.

      • diagoro says:

        Unless you have the money to pay for an overpriced device. While it works well, it also comes with a nice dose of cool-aid…..surprised there wasn’t a mention of macs not getting viruses as well!

        • Scully says:

          There’s nothing overpriced about a Mac. You can compare two identical computers, one Mac and one PC with identical or nearly identical specs, and the Mac will be the same or less than the PC. The fact that you can buy a PC for less than a Mac means that your criteria is the cheapest price, and that is a market that Apple has not, and will not participate in, since nobody makes money.

          You’re simply part of the race to the bottom. If you like being at the bottom, stay there; nobody will miss you.

      • macruadhi says:

        Actually, I find Mac owners to be the ones who are ignorant, usually. A large majority of them have little understanding of how a computer works, much less how to repair one themselves. And since the Intel Macs, with the exception of Apple’s bios, there is little difference between Macs and PCs.
        as for myself, I am my own Tech support, and I’d have it no other way.

        • jeepguy57 says:

          I have owned PCs for years and used to build my own. Once laptops started replacing desktops I started buying PC laptops. I quickly learned that a $1200 PC is not the same as a $600 PC. I also learned that a $1200 Mac is far superior than any PC.

          I have to fix my family’s PCs all the time – usually at least every 6 months one of theirs is due for a reformat. Yet my Mac can go months without rebooting, nevermind reformatting.

          I’ve instituted a new family rule. Everyone is grandfathered in for now, but unless their next computer purchase is a Mac, its not covered by my free services.

        • Scully says:

          And you’ve just illustrated your ignorance by saying there’s little difference between a Mac and a PC. The processor that is used does not define or differentiate one from the other; it’s the OS, the support, and the user experience, none of which can be matched by any PC.

          • Alvis says:

            Hardware is the only thing that makes computers different. Deciding what to get based on software is like deciding what car to buy based on color.

  3. NotEd says:

    Call back and ask for an escalation due to “Delay in Repair.” Many manufacturer’s will upgrade or replace the Computer at this point based on the multiple issues and their inability to repair it.

    Only issue with that is whether the friend had backed up their data on the lamptop prior to the original repair.

    • mulch says:

      I just sent a HP HDX 16 off to HP with a black screen. The check sheet included with the return clearly stated that the problem was a black screen. So they replaced the hard drive, updated the bios and sent it back…with a black screen. The little tech note included with the return stating that they were able to replicate the problem was cute. As far as I can tell they replicated the problem perfectly.

  4. NashuaConsumerist says:

    I’ve had one issue with my mac since having it, a hard drive failure. Brought it to the Apple store and it was fixed with a free OS upgrade to boot. No cost and 30 minute wait time. At that moment I became an Apple customer for life. Doesn’t mean PCs don’t have a place in my home, I have several, but my personal use computer will always be Mac if I have a choice.

    • NashuaConsumerist says:

      Whoops! This was supposed to be a response to Bethanyboo, not a general comment, Sorry folks!

    • skapig says:

      That’s a simple, common issue. Try approaching them with something that they don’t deal with repeatedly every day and your review likely won’t be quite as glowing. While it’s nice getting face-to-face service, it can really suck having to wait through all the dumb issues people have with their Apple toys.

    • DurkaDurkaDurka says:

      Funny, I had the same thing happen with a MacBook Pro 13.” Of course I lost all my information including the back up because my computer would not recognize the Time Machine as the hard drive itself was ‘unmounted.’ I tried calling Apple to see what they could do and I am paraphrasing here but they told me I could buy the AppleCare for 250 dollars for one more year of coverage, pay 60 dollars for a diagnosis (despite the computer STILL BEING UNDER WARRANTY), or get fucked. When you pay 1500 dollars, tax and all, for a laptop, you expect the damn thing to work. Even my old Compaq presario, as shitty a computer as it was, atleast allowed me to retrieve my stuff in safe mode. Screw apple.

    • MrEvil says:

      Not everyone lives within a reasonable drive of an Apple store, friend. I live in Austin now, so there’s one across the road from my office and another 10 minutes from my apartment. But in places like Amarillo Texas where I used to live, the nearest Apple store is in Albuquerque or Oklahoma City. It’s even worse for folk in Lubbock Texas (a large city with a major university) the closest Apple store to them is in Ft Worth which is over 300 miles away.

  5. Boberto says:

    This is exactly why Sony has not seen a dime from me in 10+ years.
    Good work, Sony.

  6. skapig says:

    Crazy and crazier that the company has not handled this in a common-sense way on its own without prompting, especially since their technician broke it. The handling of this ticket has surpassed being embarrassing and is on the Geek Squad level of incompetence.

    It should be a simple replacement of a common cable unless there is some sort of proprietary action happening.

  7. discounteggroll says:

    in defense of all computer manufacturers out there, the macbook pro flex sata/bracked/LED cables need no tech intervention, they manage to break on their own (replaced 2 today and average about 5-6/week)

    /authorized service provider rant

    Moral of the story? buy your applecare (especially for notebooks)!!!

  8. sopmodm14 says:

    holy crapola

    i’m gonna have to reconsider buying a ps3 w/move

  9. cyko79 says:

    I had to wait 3 months while in college. I went a whole quarter without one. The problem was they couldn’t figure out how to fix my DVD ROM, then 2 1/2 months later, decided to replace the computer.

  10. Scully says:

    Why don’t you try sending an email to Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO, and President of Sony? You can reach his office here:

  11. RvLeshrac says:

    I can tell you what the problem is:

    Sony recently performed an “upgrade” of their service CRM software, and they’ve been completely unable to repair units for going on a little more than a month now.

    Our shop is at a standstill on Sony units as well. Sony is even calling our customers directly to apologize for the delays in service, though they aren’t coming clean about *WHY* the service is delayed.

  12. Griking says:

    So which brand do the Consumerist users recommend then? It seems like they hate all brands as I’ve seen somewhat regular posts here bashing HP, Dell, Acer, and now Sony.

    • gman863 says:

      From what I’ve seen moonlighting as a PC tech, Sony is actually one of the better brands, along with ASUS. Dell is also OK, so long as you stick with one of their business-grade (Vostro) units. Toshiba is variable. HP/Compaq and Acer/eMachines/Gateway are the notebook PC buyer’s game of Russian Roulette.

    • Alvis says:

      If you NEEED a laptop, buy a used Thinkbook from the IBM days. Your main computer should be a desktop, which you should build yourself.

  13. gman863 says:

    On anything over two months, I’d start raising Hell and demanding a replacement.

    The keys in tech or electronics customer support are getting up the ladder to a person who is empowered to grant your request. Having worked in retail and now moonlighting as a PC tech, here’s the typical setup. Always keep notes: Date and time of call, name of person, case/ticket # and what (if any) resolution or time frame was given.

    * Level One (the person who answers the phone): Reads off a script. May or may not speak English as a primary language. Likely knows less about the product than you do.

    * Level Two (the person you should keep asking the level one person to transfer you to): Usually has technical training and experience with the product. Should be able to launch an investigation and give you a time frame in which the issue will be resolved.

    If Level Two can’t solve it, let the executive e-mail bombing begin.

  14. dandadan says:

    I’m a laptop tech and I recommend very few brands. Notably, Dell is hands down the best for consumers. I base this on their service network, use of standardized components and general reliability. No one can top Dell on site service.

    Sony Laptops are fine while under warranty. Sony warranty service is a joke. Their parts are outlandishly expensive and in many cases, only available from Sony (I consider most Sony products to be over-engineered and way overpriced). The Sony cache has long since worn off.

    Sony products are the same mass market, Chinese made crap they all are. The difference is, some people at Sony believe they still make a top quality consumer product; wrong! And they have an attitude about it. This attitude emanates throughout their supply/service network.

    I never recommend Sony products because they are average quality and very high priced, and to reiterate, their service, support and warranty are atrocious, arrogant and ineffective.

    Never, ever, ever buy a Sony laptop and expect from it what the company used to be. The same goes for HP. They exported manufacturing and jobs to China now you get crappy laptops that barely last till the warranty expires and both companies treat you like a liar or scammer when you try to get legitimate service for the lousy, poorly made products they dump on you.

    25 Years Experience in computers and it is a sad day for our industry. Cheap throw away garbage is what you usually get.


  15. SenorGrub says:

    Ha funny. I had a Vaio laptop one time (final time). The Hinges were tight and after 8 months of use one broke. When I called on the warrenty, I was told it was a non-essential component and not covered. So, that will be the last Vaio, come to think of it Sony, product I owned.

  16. shadypeeks says:

    If the speakers didn’t work when you bought the computer, why would you have not returned it to the retailer?

  17. Eagle_020 says:

    Par for the course.

    I bought a Sony Vaio about 2 years ago. 10 months in, the DVDR stopped working. I know….it happens. I was a computer tech for he better part of 20 years. Things can run forever or go belly up right out of the box. I’m used to this.

    Thus began my descent into Sony warranty hell. Hours and hours spent on the phone to “Support”, several times to people who seemed to barely understand english, and even 2 hours with someone remoting my machine, dumping and installing drivers, messing with the registry, etc. All this in spite of the fact I told each of the ‘support’ people that the drive isn’t physically spinning up. I’ve replaced God knows how many CD and DVD drives over the years when the drive motors went bad. Not an uncommon occurence. And one not prone to being fixed by trying to convince the computer theres a completely different brand of drive installed.

    This went on until the warranty period expired. So here I sit with a flashy “Mobile Entertainment Powerhouse” that can’t play a DVD. Obviously the last thing with the Sony brand I’ll ever own

  18. Mephron says:

    I had a four month wait due to ‘parts on backorder’ from Toshiba. I sent it to them based on my warrantee – I got the best they had, with what was supposed to be a 36 hour turnaround time on receipt of machine. The part – a video board – was not in stock, and it took almost two months to get it.

    When I received it, the screen was, well… – that was me turning it on.

    I contacted Toshiba and was asked what I did to break it.

    I took it to a local authorized service center, who proceeded to have to wait two months for the new parts to fix it. I was actually in their office at one point, and they let me listen in to their discussion with the center about the parts. Toshiba’s attitude was that I shouldn’t have gotten a top-tier laptop if I didn’t want things to stop working, and I should just wait for them to get the parts in. (The local center’s reply was, in effect, ‘stop fucking around and give us the parts, you jackasses.’)

    When I started escalating on this, the best I could get was a $100 certificate in their online store… which didn’t even sell the battery for my machine anymore. The laughter was loud and long.

    I will not get anything from Toshiba again, ever.