Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sony's lousy customer service

In stark contrast to my good experience with Bank of America's customer service, I had a much less pleasant encounter with Sony today.

I had received a Sony Cyber-shot digital camera as a gift, and the box did not contain a copy of the manual. I assumed that I could contact customer service via their website, but no, it turns out that:

"Sony believes that communication regarding such concerns is best conducted through personal interaction with our dedicated customer service teams."

In other words, you have to call their 800 number, no help is available online.

And so I did. The good news is that, after a relatively short menu navigation, they answer the phone very quickly. The bad news is...everything else.

I reached a rep whose command of English was mediocre at best, I had to repeat myself a couple of times, and it ultimately took about 10 minutes on the phone to accomplish the simple task of getting a copy of the relevant manual sent out. And that's not even the bad news; the manual will be sent to me in SEVEN TO TEN BUSINESS DAYS!

You would think that they would overnight or at worst second-day ship the thing, since the (not inexpensive) product's functionality can't be fully utilized without the manual. That it will take two weeks, perhaps more, is inexcusable.

As an added bonus, the rep promised to send me a copy of the manual via e-mail in the interim, but what they sent instead was a coupon good for 15% off the online purchase of accessories, no manual.

I did manage to find it online, but I think I will pass on printing the 165 pages and just wait until the hard copy makes it to me.

As I said, the camera was a gift, so I will not bother the giver with asking for a receipt to return the camera, but rest assured if I had bought it myself I would have returned it today and bought a different brand. And also rest assured that I will steer clear of Sony when the time comes to buy personal electronics for myself or others in the future.

They obviously have no desire for my business. I would urge you to consider alternatives before giving them yours.


At 1/30/2008 11:14 AM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

Somebody commented on this in the wrong post, to the effect that I should have just gotten a receipt from the gifter and returned the item.

As it turns out, the gifter does not live close to me, they would have at the very least had to find and mail the receipt.

But that entirely misses the point. The point is that when one purchases personal electronics they should have a reasonable expectation of competent customer service from the manufacturer of said product. If said company cannot provide competent customer service, the consumer should hold them accountable for their incompetence, which I am here doing.


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