Aon Corporation - Sony's Service Port Complaint - Sony's Service Port - Inept Techs and Staff

Review by Bobby on 2006-10-06
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA -- Welcome to the Service Port’s ‘Two Choice Plan.’ Choice #1 would allow me to re-send the brand new $3,500 tricked-out Sony Vaio notebook so they could repair their repairs (yes…they botched the first go-round), and I would be minus one computer for possibly six months. Choice #2 would allow me unfettered access to the barely usable notebook and, hopefully, I could remove my data (the technician suggested this, stating he would likely remove and replace my hard drives.).

The Vaio was in such bad shape, it was necessary to invest in another computer (definitely NOT a Sony). I was unable to retrieve my data.

Months later, when the promised shipping box did not arrive, I wrote to the company and asked for a follow up. I received a defensive and unpleasant letter that was needlessly condescending. Yet another reason to believe that Service Port operates at a less-than-professional level, with little regard for ethical business practices or the letter and spirit of its warranty contracts.

It has been a comedy of errors from the very beginning.

The original communication with Aon Corporation/Service Port arrived the day my Sony warranty was to expire. Attempts to renew the warranty resulted in multiple transferred phone calls and, at one point, being placed on hold for about three hours, before being disconnected at midnight (the renewal deadline). The next day, a supervisor named Lisa was able to renew the contract. When repairs were needed three months later, I was told the warranty was not in effect. Again, multiple transferred calls before a customer service representative named Eric was able to verify the contract was, indeed, in effect. Another series of calls, with helpful information from Eric, finally put a service order into action.

When the delivery driver arrived, he missed the driveway and attempted a three-point turn that landed him in the drainage ditch alongside our rural highway. The DHL van would probably be rusting there now if I had not shown the driver and his equally inept helper how to jack up the vehicle to make his recovery. They were not sure the company vehicle had a jack, let alone how to operate such a contraption. After a little training, they freed the van and asked for the computer. Although reluctant, I entrusted my tricked-out $3,500 Sony Vaio laptop to the care of these inexperienced youngsters (Sony’s business partners). I should have listened to my instincts. As it turned out, ‘Laurel and Hardy’ were, by far, the most talented of the group.

A few weeks later, that same $3,500 Vaio notebook returned with incomplete repairs, a new screen and a few surprising new ‘features’:
*the CD/DVD burner operates intermittently and inconsistently,
*the unit does not open smoothly,
*the hinges creak so loudly it draws attention and
*the screen will not illuminate without a sharp rap to the outside surface.

Considering the delicate nature of laptop screens in general, clobbering one seems ill advised; yet, the technician gave it as my only option until the repair center’s holiday workload became more manageable.

The promised shipping box did not arrive in spring; now, Service Port’s call records are incomplete or unavailable and an office underling infers the situation is entirely my fault. Not receiving a courtesy notice of my warranty’s expiration is anti-climactic by comparison.

My Sony Vaio laptop is an exercise in frustration and a red-faced embarrassment to use in public. Adding insult to injury, those responsible for the defects will not be held accountable.

As a member of the United States Navy, I served as an Aviation Anti-Submarine Warfare Electronics Technician, C-Level Micro-Miniature Repair Instructor and Quality Assurance Inspector for all Navy avionics. As a civilian, I worked for NASA’s Space Shuttle Recovery Program and Hughes Aircraft, in addition to managing every aspect of my family’s business, including public relations, commercial and rental properties and equipment sales, rental and repair. Having said that, you should realize I understand electronic repair down to the microscopic level, just as I understand exhausting workloads and the concepts of quality assurance, professionalism and ethical business practices.

The Service Port has failed to meet minimal levels of competency in every regard. It is, therefore, no surprise that Service Port does not intent to honor my warranty in letter or spirit, and damage inflicted by maladroit technicians is considered irrelevant. I am resigned to that unhappy circumstance.

While I was not amused by an amateurish attempt to convert Service Port’s failures into a disproportionate question of my competence, I answered the office underling’s question as to how I’ve passed my time, that I might redeem a modicum of my slandered character:
I have breast cancer. I have been devoting all of my time and energy to recovery from breast cancer surgery, extensive radiation treatments, prolonged chemotherapy and its inherent side effects. In the midst of this character-enrichment experience, I buried my sister-in-law and my Dad. I accept responsibility for my chemo-fog; I concede those circumstances may have bumped computer repair, regardless of financial loss, to near-bottom on my priority short list.

So what, exactly, is their excuse, I asked?

The office underling responded with a brief note, many days later. It translates to : “Gee, since you forgot to call and check up on us for six months (I gave up after three), we will not be able to fix the original problem or the multitude of problems created by our inept technicians because the (very expensive) warranty conveniently expired and oh! did we forget to send you a renewal notice? Awww.”

It is unfortunate that a fine company like Sony has contracted with this vaudeville-throwback known as Aon Corporation. Their clerical staff, in my experience, is uncommonly rude and unprofessional and their maladroit technicians are not held accountable for their failures.

Quality Assurance is an unknown concept in Aon Corporation (aka Service Port). I recommend avoidance, if at all possible.

LESS THAN ONE DAY after receipt of my email, Daniel J. Botz, Manager, Quality Programs, Aon Innovative Solutions, arranged for my computer to be repaired at a different facility. He has graciously maintained contact during the repair process and even days after, to ensure the computer works to my satisfaction.

Mr. Botz' professionalism and attention to detail is a credit to Aon Corporation. Indeed, his thorough, hands-on approach to quality assurance sets a standard for other businesses to study and implement within their ranks.

Bravo Zulu, Mr. Botz. Well Done.
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2006-10-10
Posted by Bell on 2006-10-06:
Any company who uses DHL service is cheap, as I'm sure you know. When I was having something delivered to me some time back, the DHL driver asked me to MEET HIM SOMEWHERE to get my package!!! What was that about?? Also, I've only ever had negative experiences with Aon. So sorry you had to go through all of this insanity.
Posted by Bobby on 2006-10-10:
Meet him somewhere?!? >grin< I wonder if you had the drivers assigned to my package; could be, after they were freed from the ditch, the two young'ns were a bit leery about going to anyone's house?

Thank you so much for your validation, though I am truly sorry you shared the same unhappy experiences. Both Aon and DHL disregard their respective mission statements (laughingly posted on their websites) and the basic tenets of customer service.

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