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Sony Electronics Inc Cybershot Cameras

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Sony - Poor Customer Service - T200 Camera
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My letter to Sony (after 4 phone calls that produced no result) is below.

The bottom line as I see it is:
- Sony provides very poor Customer Service
- The new Sony Cybershot DSCT200 Camera breaks very easily and is very costly to repair

I received a phone call in response to the letter below - and while it was good that someone called, and the person calling was certainly polite, he asked me questions that I had already addressed in the letter, he did not respond to the concerns about Customer Service, and he quote again that "physical damage" is not covered by warranty with no regard for the circumstances.

While I have provided a "Customer Service" email below from Sony - that email address is of no use if you need something beyond the policy being stated - to go any further you have to send a letter (not an email, not a phone call - only a letter)


TO: SONY – EXECUTIVE REVIEW COMMITTEE
FROM: LINDA COHN
SUBJECT: DSCT200 Camera and Customer Service
DATE: 11/5/2007

I want to begin by apologizing for the length of this communication. This is the first letter of this type I have ever had to write and I definitely would not use my time or your time this way if there was another means to communicate my concerns to you.

I bought my DSCT200 camera (shipped direct from Sony.com on Sept 11, 2007), with Great Expectations and anticipation immediately after reading a review in the San Francisco Chronicle technical/business section. When I received the camera and began using it, I found that I absolutely loved it…simple and intuitive to use, good quality pictures. I was a happy and vocal customer/Sony T200 camera advocate.

In October, we went to friends’ wedding in Mexico where the camera was a bit of a hit. It seemed everyone was looking for their next digital camera update.
Three days into the wedding party, a friend who was looking to buy a new camera asked if he could take a shot with it to see how he liked it. He knelt down to take a shot across the dinner table … and dropped the camera from just above table level and …the screen on my brand new camera was broken.
I want to be clear at the outset (as I have read it myself and heard it repeatedly from your employees), I know what I am dealing with is not covered by warranty/policy – I am asking for an exception based on the following -
Here are my concerns and where my expectations were not met:

- This is a point and shoot, pocket-sized camera designed to go everywhere, to be convenient and, I would have expected, at least minimally resilient. Is there a design weakness with this model that had it break or was it just a very unlucky landing?
o I have had digital cameras since whenever digital cameras became available, and while I am definitely not someone who is particularly rough on my cameras, over the years they do invariable suffer some sort of fall or impact – and never before has one broken
o The camera was dropped from about 3 feet onto a wood floor
o As we know from experience (and advertising), cameras, phones, laptops, mp3 players, etc. will get dropped at some point. As a customer I expected at least some minimal degree of hardiness
- The cost to repair the camera was high
o $211 to repair a camera for which had just paid $399 ($482 with memory stick, shipping etc)
- When I spoke with Sony Repair, my choices were the proverbial rock or hard place:
o Pay $211 and get my camera fixed so the camera now cost me about $700 (with shipping)
o Don’t pay $211 and get back a broken camera that I paid $482 for
 I approved the $211 as owning a $500 broken camera seemed like the worst of the two bad options
- Customer Service seems not to be designed to serve the customer
o Repair personnel stated that were not authorized to do anything other than provide the two options above, I had to call Customer Service
o When I spoke to Customer Service – they were consistently polite, but of no service
o One person took all my information and then said they could not help me, that they would transfer me to another person how could
o The second person retook all the same information and then told me he could not help me
o When I asked who I could speak with to resolve this, the second person said there was no manager or higher authority to speak to and when I asked how to reach the president of the company – he said to write a letter to this committee
o There was no one I spoke who had the wherewithal/authority to do anything other than cite policy. No one had the authority to resolve my concerns on the spot
o Finally, in a high-tech world, that I need to write to you via snail mail (no email option, no online chat option for this, no phone number) and that I need to send you copies of all the documents (documents that are issued by your company thus already on record there) seems to be saying that you don’t really want to hear from the me, the customer


All this said, I have a request and a recommendation:
My request is that you:
1) Refund the $211 repair charge
2) Let me know if this particular camera is especially fragile/prone to breaking or if I was just the victim of an unlucky hit. If it is prone to breaking, I would like to return it for a full refund and get another camera without this weakness
My recommendation is:
1) Push down the decision making so that every one of your customer contact and Customer Service frontline people are empowered to make decisions to leave customers satisfied, most of us customers are not out to take advantage of you – the positive impression of your customer service will pay for itself
2) Provide easy access to the Executive Review Committee in the case that there are very expensive decisions you don’t want your frontline employees to make (I would not think $211 would fit in this category)
3) Make customer records readily available on all levels so that customers only have to give you information once


Thank you for your patience and your consideration,

     
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Anonymous on 2007-11-05:
If you have homeowners insurance it might be covered. I doubt it but check with your agent anyway. However, I have to take Sony's side because the camera was dropped. Because the screen is almost as big as the back of the camera I'd say it's very prone to be easily broken if dropped on any hard surface.
msnanny on 2007-11-05:
They said no to your ridiculous request and for that you accuse them of poor customer service? Feeling entitled are we? Your friend who dropped the camera should be the one to replace it, not Sony.
Principissa on 2007-11-06:
Aww you guys!!You all get brownies. I made them this morning.
tyddyn on 2007-11-27:
The EXACT same thing happened to me,only I caught my camera before it hit the ground and only mildly caught it against my chair.Thus the screen had a slight blimp in it which later grew to a huge cracked screen.The camera was only 2 days old,and funny enough it also happened in Mexico on my honeymoon in October.I paid £305 for it and now they want £144 to repair it!! I can actually buy a brand new one for £200! There must be some kind of weakness in this camera as I also have had many camera's and they do sometimes have a knock or two but mine was merely a slight scrape so minor that I never thought anything of it!
Sony should seriously think about recalling some of these camera's back in order to fix this issue,as I'm now in a position of either I have a £300 camera which is useless or pay another £144 to get back working or forget the whole thing!!!To which I've just given Sony £300 of my hard earned money.To top it all off ironically, I had to fork out for a disposable camera of a mere £8 in Mexico which gave us at least some pictures and memories on our honeymoon.
jerry on 2011-12-01:
My wife and I, after careful research in March of this year (read: 9 months ago), bought a Sony digital camera. $350. A little over the price of the nearest competitor, but after 40 years of buying Sony products I figured if anything went wrong they would be there for me. Bullshit. Not only were they not "there" for me, but their product had an issue from the beginning: had corrosion. We tried a few different new Sony batteries, even battery chargers. Finally, the damn thing just stopped working. Sony refused to repair it under warranty, told us it would cost $160 to repair. I reiterated to them it was bad from the start, and their response was we should have let them know before...! NEVER EVER PURCHASE ANY SONY PRODUCT UNLESS YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT THE WARRANTY.
jktshff1 on 2007-11-05:
suppose if you took it scuba diving that would be their fault also?
msnanny hit it on the money
moneybags on 2007-11-05:
The person who actually dropped the camera should be asked to pay for the repair, and it was extremely bad manners for him not to offer to do so. The is not Sony's problem. Your "friend" made it a problem when he dropped it, even by accident.
Principissa on 2007-11-06:
I agree with everyone here. Sony has a policy and they have to stick to it. If they make an exception for you then they will have to make an exception to everyone else. I would be upset if my camera broke but I would go after the person responsible for breaking it.
Anonymous on 2007-11-06:
I agree with Principissa!
Anonymous on 2007-11-06:
I agree with her more!
Anonymous on 2007-11-06:
NO way Stew! I agree with her more than you do.
jktshff1 on 2007-11-06:
Yall missed it...I agreed with her more earlier this morning on another post! lol
DigitalCommando on 2007-11-06:
Linda, sorry about your experience. There are people who actually step on their cameras (accidentally), leave them on the dashbord in the direct sun all day, etc. all causing screen cracks or breakage. Sony really has no way of knowing if the consumers version of how it broke is really what happened, thus, the no physical damage clause. I do agree with you that a camera dropped from only 3 feet should be more resilient than it was. I would suggest using the lanyard that came with the camera (or buy one if it didn't) and wear it around your neck when shooting. When removing the camera from your neck, it should go directly into a protective camera carrying case (this is how the pros handle their 3-5 thousand dollar cameras) and should help you as well. Good luck!
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Untrained Sony Service Center Staff in Pakistan
Posted by on
First time I had opportunity to visit Sony Service Center in Cavalry Ground Lahore, Pakistan on 22nd April around 5:15 pm, with the problem of stuck shutter of my W-35 Sony Cybershot Digital Camera ( Model Number 8625345). The front desk lady initially did not agree to even get my camera checked at spot due to busy schedule of technicians, later she agreed to get that checked in return of 300 rupee non refundable and came up with diagnosis that old lens needs to be replaced with new one and it will cost me around 7 thousand 2 hounded rupees in total.

Sony technical staff kept asserting that old camera lens cannot be repaired at all and even if they try to repair it, camera will malfunction and replacement of lens is only solution. After getting my camera back, later I went to local camera technician in Nisbat Road Camera’s Market Lahore, and guy just repaired my camera lens in front of me in return of just 1000 rupee and camera is fully functional and working fine in every respect now.

I would like to comment the non competitive, highly irresponsible behavior of Sony Service Center technicians and unfriendly behavior of Service representatives. The Street Camera Repair man can repair the minor problem in camera but not Service Center Highly Qualified Technicians. I had been very brand loyal with Sony Previously but the untruthful staff of Sony Authorized Service Center in Pakistan has changed my image towards Sony completely.

Being student of Pakistan’s Most Highly Ranked Business School (Lahore University of Management Sciences LUMS), I can understand that aftersale services constitute the major revenue of these distributors and wholesalers. But misguiding consumers and exaggerating the technical problems of their gadgets / electrical appliances comes under the issue of Ethics and Social Responsibility and I think Sony global team should take proactive role in ensuring the services quality in Pakistan.

Furthermore, I am raising this issue in my University Portal so that consumers may not be misguided from deceitful behavior of Sony Service Center Staff in Pakistan.

Regards
Salman Zafar


     
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rizwan on 2012-05-25:
all agreed with one correction want to change LUMS-Most highly ranked business school as Good for Nothing :)
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Free repair for failed CCD
Posted by on
A couple of years ago at Christmas, I received a Sony Cybershot DSCV1 digital camera. At the time, it was rather state-of-the-art and at $500.00, not exactly inexpensive. A great point-and-shoot camera overall.

I used this camera over the course of two years, shooting a lot of photos - mostly of my son to upload to digital photo viewers at his grandparents homes. Because we live so far from them, it helps them keep up with our lives.

As I said, great camera, I even won a couple of amateur photo contests with some of the images. Great camera, until this spring when it stopped taking pictures. Well, I guess it would take photographs, but the images appeared to be blurry or "smeared." They appeared like a "watercolor in the rain" - thank you Al Stewart.

I tried "resetting" the camera, turning it off and on - a tried and true electronics "fix." I googled trouble shoots and tried everything, to no avail. As anyone who knows anything about electronics, particularly cameras, I realized that by now, the thing was worth only a fraction of it's original value and certainly not worth putting in a shop to repair. As my former hated boss once said, "don't put new money into old electronics."

Fast forward to this week. I'd just left the Sony camera sitting on a shelf and had upgraded to the nifty Nikon D70s, also a great camera, and a DSLR to boot. I'd considered opening the Sony up, jiggling some stuff and hoping something would happen. Then, I happened upon a website that depicted the EXACT problem I'm having and a problem that is not germane only to this make and model.

Evidently, SONY was the manufacturer for many brands CCD chip, still and video cameras, consumer and professional alike. Many suffered the same chip failure as my little point and shoot and Sony has agreed to repair them FREE!

Therefore, if you've got a still or video camera, and you believe through no obvious fault of your own that the thing has died i.e. blurred images or no images at all, you should google up your camera and see if it's involved in this recall. From what I can tell, their make-good offer expires in October of '07.

Good luck and happy shooting! - pwp

Here's the website for the SONYs

http://www.imaging-resource.com/NEWS/1128703521.html
     
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Anonymous on 2006-12-31:
I have a Sony camcorder and I will agree they do make some good Electronics. The CCD chips are grown in the reactor I build and sell (part of the process) so most of these chips are the same in any camera, which means it is how they put them together.
Anonymous on 2006-12-31:
I believe Sony has lost some of the reliability reputation I came to know in the 80s and 90s. I read something about this bad batch of chips were produced in or with plastic rather than ceramic something or other, I do not recall.
Anonymous on 2006-12-31:
You don't recall, but fortunately Sony does!
Anonymous on 2006-12-31:
You're right!
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Ripped off by Sony
Posted by on
I just bought a Sony cyber shot dsc w1 in December of 2004. About a month ago my daughter broke the battery door so I emailed Sony. They gave me instructions where and how to send it off for repair (it was still under warranty). So I sent it off and got the estimate for repairs on line *$774.34*. I was in shock and called them right away, and told them there must be some mistake as you can buy that camera at Best Buy now for $269. When I bought it last year it was about 350.00.
Nope the repair center proceeded to tell me that the camera must have been dropped in water or something as there was a lot of rust and corrosion inside of it and it was a total loss.
I called Sony each day after that, trying to find someone to help me resolve this misunderstanding. Each person I talked to I stated and restated. I never dropped it in any water, and it was working the day I mailed it in (I have dated pictures to prove it). I was told by the Sony tech. that the camera couldn't possibly have been taking pictures when I mailed it in because it was in such bad shape. *SIGH* I told them "For pete sake, the camera was working perfectly except the battery door, why would I send a non working camera in for battery door repair?".

Sony decided, their repair center was right, I was wrong and sent the camera back to me. When I got the camera back it didn't work at all. Grrrr they broke my camera, and refuse to do anything about it.

The bottom line here is, it was working fine when I sent it in, I have pictures w/ dates to prove this, 10 days later when I got it back (the battery door was still broken by the way) and now the camera doesn't work. I was informed by Sonys repair center that my case has been closed and they can't do anything for me.

I don't know what to do about this injustice and feel that Sony is just trying to get out of honoring their warranty. Meanwhile, I am stuck with no camera because they tore it apart and ruined it. (The camera is less than a year old).

I filed a complaint with Sony which may or may not even get read. I feel cheated.
     
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Dirtydave on 2005-10-31:
Thanks for the info! If that's how Sony treats it's customers, then I will not purchase any of their product line. They may have saved a couple of dollars by cheating you, but they will lose a great deal more in future sales!
Sony That's Baloney!
papi on 2005-11-06:
That goes for myself too... from now on will think twice before buying any Sony product. Papi..
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