Sony's Firmware Updates Kill My PS3, Sony Wants Repair Fee

Alex says a firmware update downgraded his PlayStation 3 into an expensive paperweight, and when he asked Sony to repair his console, he was told he’d have to pay a repair fee.

A similar problem befell Alex’s brother, so he forwarded us a letter he wrote to Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton.

An excerpt:

First off I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your undoubtedly busy day to read this email. I’ve been a Sony customer since the PS1 days, and have enjoyed your products since then, and spent thousands of dollars on them. I purchased an 80 gig PS3 towards the end of ’07, and have also purchased a 40 gig PS3 for my brother after that. I read about the many blu-Ray drive failures due to firmware updates, and therefore have delayed updating my PS3 as much as humanly possible. Most of my gaming was offline, so it didn’t matter. My brother, however, wasn’t so lucky.

He updated his PS3 to whatever the new firmware was at the time, because he wanted to play something online and it was insisting on it, and it killed the drive within minutes. My PS3 has continued to be ok until yesterday. I purchased Gran Turismo 5, and was forced to upgrade my software to 3.5 i believe. I was very wary of this but I figured that since the issue had occurred originally around 08, i was in the clear. I was very wrong. Not even 20 minutes later, my blu-Ray drive died. Sony refuses to admit this is a known issue, even though scathing angry threads are plastered all over your official support forums about it.

I called customer care, fully expecting them to be willing to repair my unit free of charge, due to your firmware update being the cause of the failure. They flat-out refused, even when i escalated, to waive the repair fee; apparently there is a secret order not to waive repair fees for this issue. I called every number I could find and got a dead end everywhere. Finally after speaking with someone at corporate he admitted to me it IS an issue, but only a 2% failure rate (50,000 units worth he said), and that Sony wasn’t gonna do anything about it, because they didn’t want to have to pay to repair all of them. He suggested I email customer relations. I decided to do one better and email you.

If you’ve owned a PS3 that was broken down by an update, what did you pay for a repair?

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.