I love Sony products. My entire audio/video production suite consists of Sony’s professional software. Over the past 20 years I’ve purchased three Sony televisions, a couple of computers, four or five monitors, and four camcorders–going back to a bulky, two-piece BETAMAX camera/recorder. Sony makes great stuff…or so I thought…right up until my seven year old, 55-inch, rear-projection LCD HDTV began developing a blue “smudge” on its display. Let me show you.
This is what the screen is supposed to look like:
This is what it looks like on my Sony HDTV:
The smudge started out small and has expanded over the past few weeks. A quick Google search directed me to Sony LCD Rear Projection TV Problems–a very detailed page that described a good news/bad news situation.
- The good news: a known “optical block” issue caused my blue smudge.
- The bad news: The problem has no permanent fix. Not only is the optical block problem costly to repair, but the problem will likely recur due to a design flaw.
The article lead me to the I have a Defective Sony TV Facebook page, where I learned that Sony was offering discounts on new televisions to replace those with the optical block problem. I made contact and got a quick email response from Amanda of Sony’s “Social Media Advanced Resolution Team.” The email suggested that I call a special number where I could purchase a new television at a “significant discount.”
That sounded fair to me. A “significant discount” on a new TV to replace an out-of-warranty defective one. I called and was offered 25% off a 46″ (smaller) TV and 30% off of a 55″ (larger) TV. The offer had two stipulations:
- it was only valid for one week
- in consideration for accepting this “significant discount,” I had to sign a “…release and hold harmless…” waiver.
The math didn’t make sense to me. If I needed to spend that much money to replace my HDTV anyways, shouldn’t I also consider Sony competitors? I found many competitive choices within that price range, so I explained my dilemma to Amanda in an email. Her politely worded response officially ended my multiple decade love affair with the Sony brand: “…the prices aren’t negotiable…”
Game over. Thanks for playing.
I get it. From a business perspective, what is Sony supposed to do? According to the Sony LCD Rear Projection TV Problems article, the company had sold over 3.5 million of these sets, generating approximately $8 billion in revenues. Since most of these sets are out of warranty, I totally understand its decision. Sony doesn’t have to do anything.
So, I’m going to watch my defective Sony HDTV set until I’m blue in the face. During this period, I’ll likely develop a deepening distaste for Sony televisions. When I can’t take it anymore, I’ll replace it with a competitor’s. Will my actions affect Sony? Probably not. Will I feel better? Probably not. But we all have choices to make. Sony made its and I’ve made mine. And without upper management’s support, there’s nothing that the company’s “social media” team can do about it.
BTW, anyone have suggestions for my new, non-Sony TV?