I have been a super duper Sony fan for mobile phones. And I had this weird perception that whichever phone lasted with me for more than 1 year was a Sony mobile phone. And hence I started talking about the device pretty positively. Here is a blog post I did around a year back.
And I still stick to every word I wrote. But looks like Sony took my blog too seriously ;-)! And started working harder on making money than making fine products. My story with Sony was pretty happy-happy till the time I actually had to visit the service center. So, let’s start from the START! And try to understand what exactly happened. It might hold a lesson for those planning to buy an Xperia.
Around a year and half back, I bought an Xperia Go for my wife. I was really interested to use the waterproof functionality of the device. And at that time I was using an Xperia Mini pro. That’s the time when wrote the above post. Seeing the underwater imaging quality and the advantage of using the Go in rainy days for taking pics and videos. I decided to buy myself a waterproof phone recently. And hence I opted for the Sony Xperia ZR.
Many of my tech friends, even few tech-reviewers told me the waterproof phones are not worth it, as they tend to get faulty if in case you fail to close all the connection points/ports of the phone properly before putting the phone in water/rain. Which is pretty obvious. And I was pretty sure, I will never let that happen.
And I actually didn’t let that happen. But the problem for me was hiding somewhere else. Which I realized just around 2 weeks. Since past 2 months I treated the 29K phone so well that I never let it took a single fall. But one bad evening, I just came out of my car and dropped the phone from my hand. It was around 3.5 feet fall. And to my surprise the phone took a small crack in the top right corner of the display.
But, what was more interesting had to be noticed yet. Suddenly I realized that the phones touch screen has stopped working. I thought the fall has caused a halted OS response. So I rebooted the phone few times. Then suddenly I noticed that, just beneath the screen, the touch panel has taken a long crack across the top left corner originating from the small crack on the screen. And this has caused the entire touchscreen to stop working. So, basically the phone is useless now!!
Then, I realized it’s time to rush to the service center. And I did that first thing, next morning. And that’s where my horror started. The service center team upfront refused any possibility of getting the phone repaired.
On asking why? They mentioned that the phone is waterproof, so we can’t open it. And we don’t even have parts and tools to fix this device.
So, I asked. What’s the solution? And they very clearly replied. You have to pay 50% of the MRP. As a demand draft and you will get a new phone as a replacement. So essentially I am supposed to pay around 15000/- to get the device fixed.
Now, suddenly my logical part of the brain started overcoming the loyalty part of the brain. I would have paid 15000/- for this phone to get it fixed but the only issues I was thinking over and over was.
If this device couldn’t take a single 3.5 Ft drop and bricked itself. How can I be sure, I will be able to survive with the new unit for next probably one year? After all, it’s a phone and will see a few minor drops. Or else why phone companies are boosting their gorilla glasses, etc. I can’t and just can’t guarantee that the phone will never fall again. Exactly the way Sony can’t guarantee a physical damage.
So, basically, if I have to get it fixed once. I also have to do a night job to make sure I can earn 15k more only for every drop my phone sees. And that, my logical part of the brain suggested to be completely illogical.
So, I started the negotiation activity. I called up the costumer care of Sony Xperia. Explained the situation. And told them. Instead of I paying 15k to get the replacement, why don’t you pay me back 15k (or the rest of the MRP) against my damaged phone, so that I can buy some other phone which will not betray me after its first drop.
I even asked the executive on the call. Will in proper senses, you be spending 15k more on a 30k phone, which you bought 2 months back and which stopped working after a single 3.5 ft. fall. The reply I got was hilarious. “It’s a personal choice sir“. Even if it was Katrina herself saying this, I would have disagreed!
But, at this point, I still had some hopes. As they guy talking to me asked me to mail across some images of my damaged phone so that they can talk to the management and see what could be done.
It’s been around one and a half weeks now and probable few dozen tweets, and a couple of email follow-ups. Some sweet and some harsh! Since I sent the images. And till date, all I have got is.
You can find the complete communication between me and Sony Xperia India here. https://twitter.com/SonyXperiaIndia/status/393285453182275585
But, in the meanwhile I got to know few interesting things happenings at Sony. Apparently around 20 odd days back, Sony realized that all the Z/ZR/Z1 series of phone has weak touch sensor and screen and are breaking like anything. And just because these are non-repairable and are replaced at a higher price. They decided to give away free 6-month insurance along with the phone. Though I pity the insurance company. I am unhappy just because of 2 reasons here.
1. Why it was not noticeably mentioned (or for that matter, mentioned at all) on the box/website/manual of the device, that this device is completely non repairable. And the only possible option to get a damaged instrument fixed is by a paid (50% of MRP) replacement?
I have never guessed it myself as, Xperia Go, also being a waterproof phone is completely repairable. So, just coz its waterproof phone, it doesn’t declares, it also has to be non-repairable. I also asked the costumer care executive, the twitter channel of Xperia India and the FB page of Xperia to share with me the official replacement policy and the escalation matrix and contacts. But none of the channels got me a reply. Which really pissed me. And clearly showed me there is no-one actually listening to the costumer issues
2. Are early adapter’s fools? Just because I decided to buy the phone and become the paid guinea pig, I don’t deserve free/modestly priced replacement. Whereas the new buyers are getting free 6 month replacement options. Call me jealous or spoil sport. I give it a damn. I call this unlawful discrimination. Just because all the Z/ZR/Z1 users in the country are right now under same warranty status. And a company should not treat their users differently. If, I was told in the first place that the phone is non-repairable, I would have at least bought an insurance myself along with it.
Well. So, what am I going to do now as I don’t have any choice is this?
1. Spend 20% of that 15000 on promoting this blog on FB and google. So that people know that the Xperia Z/ZR/Z1 series of phones are non-repairable. So if you are getting it with a free insurance, great! Else buy it yourself.
2. File a case in consumer court on the basis of “Hiding crucial information from consumer”. After all Cappuccino is supposed to be hot, but Starbucks and McDonald learned, that’s a crucial information and should be told upfront to the consumer only after the lawsuits. In my case a phone is not even supposed to be irreparable!
And why you should you bother if you are buying an Xperia Z/ZR/Z1 series of Phone
1. Even if you are getting a 6 month free replacement. What happens if the phone breaks after 6th month? Am sure you are not planning to buy a 30k+ phone for 6 months usage
2. The time period for the replacement unit to reach you is 7 working days.
3. And a single crack on the screen makes the phone touchscreen completely none usable.
I know it’s going to be a long fight. But believe me. When love turns enemy, it becomes the worst foe !