Irate consumers say Sony is taking a hard line on PlayStation 3 warranty repairs, in one case refusing to honor the warranty of a consumer whose PlayStation 3 is too dusty.
Digging in its heels, Sony refused to share the photos of the dusty machine with the consumer and said he would have to file a subpoena to get them.
According to "Ive," who filed a complaint on The Consumerist, a consumer blog, his PlayStation 3 would not read a disc he inserted and then would not eject it.
Despite the fact that Ive no longer had the receipt, Sony customer care said the product would still be under warranty and gave him instructions on how to return the defective product.
Five days later he received a call from "Neil" at Sony who says they had taken pictures of the inside and outside of the case and that it is too dusty to be eligible for repair or replacement.
Ive explained to Neil that in the eight months he has owned his PlayStation 3 it has never moved from his entertainment center, which holds other functioning electronic devices, and that he wiped clean the exterior before he shipped it.
"I told him that someone needed to double check because I really took care of my PS3 and there was no way it was so dirty that they wouldn't replace it," Ive wrote on The Consumerist.
Neil said he would look into it and he called the next day to inform Ive that there was no error and that after reviewing photos of the excessive loads of dust on the exterior and interior of his console, he would have to pay a $150 out-of-warranty replacement fee.
When Ive asked to see the photos, he was transferred to a supervisor, "Daria Wu," who told him he would have to subpoena Sony for them. She said that his warranty was voided under the "Acts of God/Customer Abuse" clause of his warranty.
Ive asked Wu if he could record the conversation so he could educate other consumers and Wu "snapped" back at him that he could not and that his only options were to pay the $150, have his defective machine sent back or to do do nothing and Sony would automatically ship it back in 10 days.
"I'm not paying $150 for someone to use an air compressor to dust off my PS3 re-test it and send it back," Ive wrote. "Maybe Sony should let their customers know that excessive dust voids the warranty so that people can start selling air filter sets for it and air-sealed boxes for the PS3 to sit in."
Ive told Wu to keep the console so that he could build a defense by sending e-mails and making phone calls until his unit is fixed. She responded that all phone calls and e-mails go through her and that she'd make sure it doesn't get fixed.
Wu did not return two phone calls by ConsumerAffairs.com and Sony's press office did not return a phone call and an e-mail.
In a later phone call to Sony's customer service department, Ive recorded a customer service representative saying excessive dust does not void the warranty. The recording can be heard on The Consumerist and here is the transcript:
Ive: I'm calling just to pretty much clarify the PS3's warranty, if there's any clause in the warranty that makes it so that if the PS3 is too dusty that the warranty is void.
CSR: No. The only way that it, um, voided is if it was neglected, um, abused, dropped or anything like, modificated like if you opened it up, modification, if you didn't have your receipt, um, any power failures like mother nature or anything like that then that actually does void the warranty. Other than that any defective PS3s or anything like that is still, um, still under the warranty.
As of this writing, ConsumerAffairs.com has received no complaints regarding the PlayStation 3's warranty. However, we have received 1,049 complaints from consumers whose Microsoft Xbox 360 suffered from the famed red rings of death just before the 90-day warranty expired. Microsoft extended that warranty to one year Dec. 26, 2006 and on July 6, 2007 Microsoft promised to spend $1 billion fixing the machines, but still ConsumerAffairs.com receives almost daily complaints from consumers whose Xbox 360s continue to fail, often multiple times, during and after the one-year warranty.
ConsumerAffairs.com has received no complaints regarding Nintendo Wii's warranty and many industry professionals have heralded Nintendo's warranty program as one of the best in the business.