Sony Electronics Inc Informative - Sony - Poor Customer Service - T200 Camera
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
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