How My Credit Card Company Helped Save My Broken PS4 When Sony Wouldn’t

Image courtesy of Jon Fingas

It’s been 11 months since Michael’s brother PS4 failed, months he’s spent trying to get Sony to fix what should have been covered by the gaming console’s one-year warranty. But because there was no proof of his efforts to have the PlayStation 4 repaired under warranty, prompting Sony to basically shrug and wipe its hands of the situation, Michael had to take another route to victory.

Michael’s brother “Brian” purchased his PS4 in Dec. 2013, and when the device broke 11 months later in Nov. 2014, he contacted Sony right away because the console was still under warranty.

Looking For Help From Sony

Image courtesy of Ninja Pumpkin Pizza Balls

When he first called Sony support to report that his PS4 wasn’t powering on, Brian says he was told that a faulty power cable was the problem. The rep told him a new cord would be on its way in the next couple weeks, and that should fix things.

Brian waited two weeks and no power cord showed up. He called Sony again and was told that there was no record of his previous call. If he would just wait another two weeks, the customer service representative said, Sony would send him another power cord.

Guess what? No power cord, and by this time, the thumb stick son his controller began peeling as well. By the time he called Sony support a third time, it was December, and the company refused to help, as he was now out of warranty. It had expired while he was waiting for a power cord the second time around.

Soon after, Brian was in the midst of a serious health situation. He gave it one last effort in January, reaching out to Sony’s Twitter support, with no results.

In the meantime, his brother Michael used another power cord with the PS4, and says it still didn’t work, so that wasn’t the issue. He took up the mantle for his brother and tried repeatedly to get someone at Sony to help out — on Twitter in April and May, multiple times, before sending an Executive Email Carpet Bomb at the end of May.

A Glimmer Of Hope

That got Sony’s attention, at least for a little while, as an investigator pledged to investigate the issue and Michael answered a bunch of questions.

“When I spoke with him, he eventually confirmed that their records show that my brother’s PS4 has not been used at all since the time period in which it broke (surprising, I know),” Michael wrote. But because Sony couldn’t locate records for his brother’s original phone calls, they initially refused to do anything about it, “even though we have the broken PS4, with the serial number matching the one linked to his account, in our possession.”

Michael never heard from the investigator after June 10, when the Sony staffer said he would file a report and make a recommendation to their executive team, who would then make a decision and maybe contact Michael if they decided to help.

Dealing With A Dead End

Image courtesy of chickee510

Finally, Michael reached out to Consumerist, and we in turn got in touch with Sony. A spokeswoman confirmed Sony’s side of the story, saying there was no record of Brian’s initial calls to Sony support while the product was still within warranty, only the January social media effort, which meant there was nothing Sony was going to do.

“We strive to provide our customers with the best service possible at PlayStation, and we carefully review every request we receive,” the spokeswoman told Consumerist, adding that Sony “offered every opportunity” for Brian to provide information regarding his warranty request.

“Unfortunately, based on the information provided, we were unable to verify a warranty request during the warranty period,” Sony said.

Unfortunately, Brian is unable to prove that he made the call in Nov. 2014. He was in the process of switching carriers at the time and says he used the phone of someone he was dating at the time.

Regardless, why would Sony’s records of these support calls only be traceable via a customer’s phone number? Surely there were other instances where a customer might have to call using another phone number, and give verifiable information during that call that would identify them. Sony didn’t answer that question when we asked. Should Brian have asked for a confirmation number or reference number at the end of those support calls? Yes, that’s always a good idea.

But good ideas don’t result in a working PS4, and Michael didn’t know what else to do.

“I don’t know what kind of bizarre, Kafkaesque scam Sony thinks we’re running, but the way they have treated my brother and me over very simple warranty service is unreal,” he wrote.

The Solution, At Last

Because Sony wasn’t being helpful, we asked Michael if his brother’s PS4 had been purchased with a credit card. Often, even if a consumer doesn’t know their credit card comes with extended warranty protection for electronics, it might — and therefore, it never hurts to ask.

Michael said early on when we asked that he didn’t think the credit card used to buy the console had carried any extended warranty protection, but when we’d finally hit the brick wall with Sony, we asked him to check it out one more time… just in case.

That did the trick, as Michael reported happily that though the information was hard to find, the MasterCard involved did include warranty protection. Michael submitted the request to the credit card issuer and waited for a few more weeks.

Then, late late last week, more than three months into our back-and-forth with Sony and almost a year after Brian’s PS4 failed, Michael wrote to tell Consumerist the good news — they’d received a check from MasterCard for $218 — the amount quoted in the independent repair estimate Michael had to send — which he says should be just enough to get his brother a working PS4 and controller.

“While this still leaves things between us and Sony very much unresolved, I’m thrilled to get my brother the service he deserves,” Michael wrote.

The lesson here: If at first the company making your product fails you, claiming it has no record of your attempts to get something fixed — it can pay off to check with your credit card company and find out what added protections you might not even know you have.