First Contact with Sony Customer Support
So, my Sony Xperia Z died when it came into contact with water at my local swimming pool where I took it to photograph my baby daughter during one of her first swimming classes. If you want to read more about it you can do so in my first blog post here.
So, now that I have had a reason to search the internet for the experiences of others and their water-resistant Xperia phones, it would seem that I am not alone in having suffered a failure in this manner. A quick Google search will show results for many forums and blog posts which recount similar woes across various Sony models. Of course, I now wish that I’d investigated this before I went swimming because I would have thought twice about taking my handset with me.
So, although now out of warranty, I thought that I would make use of Sony’s Xperia UK customer support to see if my phone could be repaired. After logging in to my account that I created immediately after i purchased my phone, I navigated to the part of their website that offers three support options: chat, phone and email. Uncertain about whether I needed to send it for a repair (another link at the foot of the web page), given that I suspected water damage may have written off multiple components, probably necessitating a full replacement, first I sent a general message asking if water damage is possible to repair. The reply I received simply instructed me to send my phone in via the repair service. Nothing more. Actually, I’ve abbreviated slightly as the message was a standardised template directing me to the service I already knew about and instructing me on how to use it. It was not personalised in direct response to my original enquiry and it was therefore not terribly helpful but I didn’t really expect much more when I was trying to take a bit of a shortcut. Perhaps unsurprisingly, sending the handset in for their engineers to review also seems to make a few extra pennies for Sony and it wouldn’t really be fair of me to expect them to say whether my handset was repairable or not without allowing them to see it for themselves, but I got the feeling that I was beginning to see the potential colours of this multi – national although it didn’t put me off at this stage.
So, in order to request the repair, I proceeded to fill in the online forms as instructed, stating that my device had suffered water damage. Incidentally, in case you are unaware, as I was until I found some information elsewhere on the internet, each port has a little white tab alongside it under the sealing flap that turns pink if it comes into contact with water. Well, I already knew that water was responsible for the failure due to the circumstances that I was in when it occurred, but it’s handy to know so I’ve included a picture.
Upon completing the form, I also noted that to send my mobile phone to the Sony contract engineers (like many other manufacturers they don’t use their own engineers) would be free of charge but to have it returned would cost me a small amount (~£20). Alternatively my device could be re-cycled at no cost to me. So I packaged it up and sent it on its way.
A few days later my account was updated to reflect that my handset had been received and reviewed. Excellent. Seeing as I wasn’t at fault I was certain that I would have an apology and a replacement in no time! In fact, after logging in to my account I discovered that I had the following:
Your handset is uneconomical to repair. We offer you a functionally equivalent device.
Oh and I almost forgot, along with the offer of “a functionally equivalent device” was a quote for ~£266.
That was it. No further explanation.
I was a little confused and thoroughly livid.