Sony Service and my NW-E507

Many of you want to know the final outcome of my NW-E507 service experience. Basically, it sucked and left a very bad taste in my mouth. My previous experiences with Sony Service started off very well; however, it has steadily declined in quality ever since. Most of my experience has been with the service center (in San Diego, CA) that fixes notebooks.

My Sony Service Experience Thus Far

1st experience – My VGN-S170P notebook battery latch breaks. I call Sony Service and the representative overnights a brand new battery and tells me to dump the bad one. Awesome. A+

2nd experience – My VGN-S170P notebook’s hard disk dies a horrible clicking death. I call Sony, they ship me a special box and instructions and I send it in. The repair takes two weeks since it’s around Christmas time. Unfortunately, a service person decides to put in a 4200RPM hard disk instead of the 5400RPM hard disk that I had paid for. I again have to ship it in but the turn around is 4 days. Somewhat annoying. B.

3rd experience – Only a few months after receiving the VGN-S170P back, the HDD dies again. I have to ship it in again with their box. The fix is fast with 4 day turn around. However, they neglect to ship my AC adapter back to me. After numerous calls, they decide to ship me an AC adapter right away. Unfortunately, it’s the wrong one for a completely different model. After more angry calls, they finally ship me a correct brand new AC adapter. I had to wait nearly 2 weeks for this to be resolved. This could have been an A or A-. Instead, they get a C for service negligence and sending me the wrong thing despite me telling them which model to send.

4th experience – Now for the meat of the story…The NW-E507 saga. After having my NW-E507 for a little over a month, it died while I was out exercising. After notifying Sony about this, I was asked to ship it in (on my own expense) and that it would be replaced with another unit. I figured that would be ok although they mentioned that it would likely be refurbished and may have cosmetic damage. I wasn’t too happy about that but I had no other options. So, from before, here’s how it went down…

NW-E507 Recap

07/19 - The NW-E507 dies on me unexpectedly. I am told by service to send it in and I will be sent a replacement unit (not a new one though).
07/20 - Fedex’d to Sony Service in Texas
07/25 - Signed for by a M. LOPEZ at Sony Service
08/03 - Officially entered into the Sony Service System as “Received” (YES, 7 BUSINESS DAYS LATER)
08/04 - I call to ask about how soon the replacement will ship. I am told that it takes 14 business days. That doesn’t sound like a replacement. It sounds like they’re going to fix it.
08/18 - I call again to ask about what’s going on. No known work done on the unit according to service records. I ask how long it will take and they tell me that “they don’t know at this time”. I ask, “Next week? Because otherwise you guys are pushing 1 month since you’ve received it and that’s unacceptable.” They say they will call me within 24 hours to give me an update.
08/22 – I still haven’t received my 24 hour call back. I call again and am assured yet again that I will receive a 24 hour call back.
08/23 – I actually get the call back and am told my unit will ship out the next day and I should receive it on the 25th.
08/25 – I actually receive my NW-E507 back.

One month later…

Ok, so, that’s not the whole story. Upon receiving the package, I open it eagerly to see what’s been done with the unit. Immediately, to my dismay, the contents are simply put in a plastic bag. It’s not a huge deal but I sent them all of the packaging and contents (as if it were a new item) and it returned in a bag.

The unit itself was my original unit so I’m happy about that. I was afraid of getting a refurbished unit that had scratches or other cosmetic defects. The device also works like a charm now and I can use it but having to be apart from it for a month is unacceptable.

I was upset that it took the service department so long to fix the unit. I suspect that they had to order parts for the unit and I’m fine with that. If they told me that in the first place, then I would have been more patient. Instead, all I was told was “I don’t know” or “I don’t know where your unit is” or “we haven’t entered it into our system”. A simple e-mail from them could have said, “Your unit has been received and we are awaiting a part that’s expected to arrive on [this] date.” This would have saved me (and them) a lot of time. The Laredo, TX service department was definitely much less organized than the San Diego, CA service department. I’m hoping Sony is taking steps towards making their service centers better because they’re currently doing a very poor job.

Final Thoughts and My Theory

One last thing that I’ve been thinking about is this theory I have about Sony products. My theory is that Sony products still made in Japan are superior to Sony products made elsewhere. Why do I say this? I simply have to look at the numerous Sony devices that I own and it makes a lot of sense.

For instance, all of the problems I’ve had with my Sony devices are ones that were not made in Japan. My VGN-S170P Build-To-Order notebook was made in the USA. My NW-E507 was built in China. Even my latest MZ-RH10 MiniDisc unit, which was made in Malaysia, doesn’t seem to be made as well as my previous MiniDisc units. There are no problems yet but the servo motor is noticeably louder than my previous units.

In contrast, all of my Japanese made Sony products have not had any problems whatsoever. Even the products that I bought in 2000-2001 like my DCR-PC5 MiniDV cam and my Sony MusicClip all still work. All of my digital cameras (DSC-T1, DSC-F707 and DSC-F828) and laptops (PCG-SR7K and VAIO TR) have also been trouble free.

Pure coincidence? Possibly but it certainly makes you wonder.








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