Sony Decides Trade-In Value Of My Computer Is $0



Trade-in programs that promise consumers a discount or cash for their old gadgets benefits everyone. The company–let’s say, for example–Sony–makes a sale. The old gadget gets a new life, or gets recycled. The customer gets a discount, and gets rid of their old device in a way that’s more convenient and safer than placing a Craigslist ad. In theory. That’s not working for Jeff, though. He sent in his old Vaio laptop to swap it for a gift card. He’d get double the listed trade-in value if he bought a new computer. Not bad. Assuming that they acknowledged receiving the computer, and that Sony determined the trade-in value to be more than $0.

I’m writing you today so that maybe you can warn fellow consumerist readers to think twice before participating in sony’s ecotrade-in program, promising gift cards based on device specifications.

I sent them a functional 3 year old gently used sony vaio more than a month ago. They never updated their trade in tracking site until I asked them for an update on December 11the, the day they originally estimated my gift card would be issued. Within a few hours, the site updated and the specifications on my device were changed to “unknown” and revalued at $0. The assessment did agree that my device was in good condition and fully functioning, so it’s mind boggling how they can’t tell it’s got the specs I indicated it did. What’s worse is this was a custom built sony laptop…they have all the specs in my account history.

So I called them on the 11th. The rep agreed it seemed odd and that someone would call or email me. So I waited. December 14th came and with no response, I wrote a letter and emailed it to the vp of sony electronics and a few pr executives. No response. I wrote an updated message on the 18th and sent it again. No response. So late yesterday I filed a better business bureau complaint.

I understand mistakes happen and data can be incorrectly entered, but sony’s failure to acknowledge or respond to any of my requests for help is really upsetting. I was planning on upgrading to one of their new smaller windows 8 netbooks. 5 weeks later and a stolen laptop? Consumerist readers beware!

Here’s that assessment of Jeff’s computer, taken from his complaint to the Better Business Bureau:

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