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Shocking customer service - open letter to Sony management


Jim0203
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My new VAIO laptop malfunctioned after less than a week. I've sent it back to Sony to be repaired under warranty by a company called Teleplan. After three weeks neither Sony nor Teleplan can even tell me when to expect the laptop back, despite initially telling me it should be back in five days.

 

I've had the case escalated by the Sony customer service team a number of times and nothing's happened, so I've emailed the Managing Directors of Sony UK and Teleplan. Here's the email I sent - I'll report back when I get a response.

 

Dear Mr Dowdle and Mr Twallfhoven,

 

I am a Sony customer. My Vaio laptop is currently being repaired, under warranty, by Teleplan in Colchester, England. I am writing to you because I have been unable to achieve any satisfaction from the customer service departments of either Sony or Teleplan. This is an open letter that I have published to several popular web forums, the details for which can be found at the end of this email. I will be keeping the forums up-to-date with any response I receive from you. I have also sent copies of this email to various directors, managers and staff members of Sony UK and Teleplan.

 

I purchased my Vaio laptop over the internet and received it on August 9th. On the evening of the following Tuesday, August 14th, the screen malfunctioned. I contacted Sony the next day and the arranged to collect the laptop on Thursday, August 16th. The laptop was collected and I received a text message on Monday, August 20th telling me that the laptop had been received by Teleplan in Colchester.

 

I called Sony on August 20th and was told that someone had looked at my laptop, but since they could not diagnose the fault the laptop would be looked at by someone else the next day. I called again on the evening of that day but there was not further news.

 

Since then, I have called Sony at least once, and sometimes twice, every day, to try and get some more information on when I can expect to get my laptop back. I have also called Teleplan direct once, yesterday. My case has been escalated by Sony's staff, and has been discussed (I am told) by Sony management with Teleplan management. But I have still not received any information about when I can expect to get my laptop back.

 

I have lost hope that this situation will be resolved in the near future without some form of intervention. I would greatly appreciate it if you could do whatever you can to make sure the situation is resolved as soon as possible.

 

I rely on my laptop for my work. I run a charity in Edinburgh which teaches people with disabilities how to use computers. There are now two of us sharing one laptop, which is far from ideal and is greatly hindering our work. I appreciate that sometimes repairs can take a little longer than initially expected (I was originally told my laptop would be repaired and returned within five working days), but I find it unnaceptable that noone can tell me when to expect my laptop to be returned.

 

I look forward to hearing from you soon. If I have not received a response by the end of next week I intend to stand outside my local Sony Centre and inform any customers entering the store of the poor level of service they can expect if their Sony laptop malfunctions. I hope, however, that I don't have to do this, and that this situation can be resolved as soon as possible.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

James Benstead

 

Copies to:

 

[email protected]

Mark Banner, Teleplan Colchester

Paul Hide, General Manager, Sony UK

Carl Rose, Marketing Director, Sony UK

Sony Centre, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

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As it is only 11 days since they received it I don't understand why you are posting this letter on an open forum rather than direct to the company?

Poppynurse :)

 

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Copies to:

 

[email protected]

Mark Banner, Teleplan Colchester

Paul Hide, General Manager, Sony UK

Carl Rose, Marketing Director, Sony UK

Sony Centre, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

 

Would you not be better rejecting the laptop under the Sale of Goods Act and requesting a replacement?

 

They can't diagnose the fault, which could mean further problems down the road, not sure whether you can do this however, due to the fact that you've returned it under warranty now. Perhaps someone else could clarify this?

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You say you bought it on the Internet. Unless it was from Sony themselves, your contract is with the company from whom your purchased it, and they are the people you should have contacted to solve your issues.

 

JJS, OP can't reject the goods with Sony (unless bought from Sony directly), only with retailer from whom he bought the laptop. And I don't think he can reject the goods while they're with Sony, or wherever it is at the moment. :-(

 

All in all, I feel OP would have been better off sticking to SOGA.

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As it is only 11 days since they received it I don't understand why you are posting this letter on an open forum rather than direct to the company?

 

I did send the letter to various management at both Sony and Teleplan, the company who are meant to be carrying out the repair. I also posted the letter here (and to a couple of other forums) to see what other people thought, and to publicise how bad the service has been in this instance.

 

I would be absolutely fine with the repair taking 11 days (even though I was originally quote five working days). However, during these eleven days no-one has been able to tell me what is wrong with my laptop or when I can expect it back. They can't (or won't) even tell me if anyone's looked at the laptop. I am happy to accept that repairs sometimes take longer than quoted, but what I find unacceptable is the fact that I've been given absolutely no information regarding when my laptop will be back with me. I have even explicitly asked the people who are repairing it to tell me if it's likely to be a month or two, so I can hire or borrow a laptop. But they wouldn't answer my question.

 

Would you not be better rejecting the laptop under the Sale of Goods Act and requesting a replacement?

 

I did consider this. I phoned the company that originally supplied the laptop to me, and they told me I would need to contact Sony. I had a feeling this wasn't right (having read an article a while back about SOGA) but since the company that sold me the laptop had already messed me around, I thought I would be better going with Sony and getting the laptop repaired under warranty - especially since I was told it should only take five days.

 

They can't diagnose the fault, which could mean further problems down the road, not sure whether you can do this however, due to the fact that you've returned it under warranty now. Perhaps someone else could clarify this?

 

The first engineer who looked at the computer couldn't diagnose the fault. There's been no news since then. And even if they couldn't diagnose the fault, they should tell me and then fit a new motherboard pronto.

 

Maybe I should have stuck with SOGA, but as I explained above I didn't want to get into this with a supplier who had already messed me around.

 

I'll post again when I get a reply from Sony, or when I get my laptop back... :-?

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The problem is that apart from the PR point of view, you have nothing you can hold against Sony, and while you're battling with them, the retailer is getting away with your statutory rights.

 

If I were you, I would write to them (the retailer) immediately, setting out what they said to you (which is a lie, and a deliberate attempt to circumvent your statutory rights), and stating that you KNOW that the contract is with them, not Sony.

 

I think you have a problem, in that by accepting to send it to Sony instead of holding the retailer to their obligations, you could be deemed to have in fact accepted the laptop, so you have probably closed the "rejecting the goods" door.

 

I wish you luck. I hope things turn out ok, and that Sony comes up trumps, but since they have no actual legal obligation to you, I would strongly recommend you be very nice to them from now on, tbh, as you are going to have to rely on their goodwill a LOT.

 

I would also recommend that you report the company that sold you the laptop to TS, as they have broken the law by denying you your statutory rights.

 

Final piece of advice, remember this if you remember nothing else: Your contract is ALWAYS with the retailer, NOT the manufacturer. Any grievance, problem etc, should go through the company that sold you the goods.

 

Please let us know what happens.

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I do have something I can hold against them - the fact that I have a warranty with them. I would have thought they were, therefore, obliged to fix my laptop for me.

 

The problem I've raised here isn't one of legal obligation - I doubt there's anything in my warranty about them having to give me any information about the state of my laptop's repair. It's about businesses getting their staff to do very simple things, such as communicate with the customer. As I've said before, I wouldn't mind if the repair took longer than I was originally quoted. I've worked in customer service before and understand how annoying it is when customers aren't reasonable about things like this. All I want is for someone to actually tell me what's going on. Surely this isn't too much to ask??

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Success!

 

I sent that email on Friday night. When I called Sony on Monday evening, they finally had some news for me - after two weeks of waiting.

 

It turns out that the laptop needed a new motherboard, which I was told had been ordered and would be ready to be installed Tuesday or Wednesday (i.e., yesterday or today). Funnily enough I had told Sony that I suspected the motherboard would need replacing when I first told them the laptop needed repairing.

 

I then got an email today telling me that the new motherboard had been fitted, and the laptop would be despatched today or tomorrow.

 

Strange how, as soon as I got the management involved, I went from getting no information at all about the repair to the repair being completed in three working days...

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  • 5 months later...

James I'm new to this site and have registered having read your thread re: SONY. I'm having a very similar problem with a sony camcorder. Can you give me the email address of Mr Dowdle. The stress this is causing me is unreal. I'm getting nowhere quick!!

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