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I will NEVER Buy a Sony Product Again. I Hope You Do The Same.

December 22, 2009

I have been a lifelong Sony customer and have been very pleased with their products.  I have purchased computers from Sony – cameras, walkman’s, alarm clocks, stereos, headphones, and televisions.  You name it I purchased it.

So in May of last year when I decided to upgrade my Sony XBR 40″ tube television, I didn’t hesitate, I bought a Sony 46″ LCD television, a KDL-46XBR to be exact.  Sony never did wrong by me and my almost 10 year old 40″ tube is still working great to this day.  Up to this point, I would recommend to all of my family, friends and readers.

Well, over the last few months, the Sony LCD panel has run into some issues.  Whenever I turn it on, the right side of the screen produces mirrored, mis-colored and black images.  The problem goes away after about 10 minutes but since I paid just under $3,000 for this tv, this type of behavior is unacceptable.  A few pictures are attached.

I understand that the Sony warranty is 1 year; however, when someone pays close to $3,000 for a piece a television, one would expect it would last for more than a couple of years.  This one didn’t even last 2 years.

So I called Sony Customer Relations yesterday.  They told me that they could possibly help me, even though I was out of warranty and that they needed me to pay a Sony Technician to come out and provide a written estimate before they could determine if they were willing to fix the problem.

Acting as diligently as possible, I contacted the local Sony Technician right after that call.  The technician came out yesterday afternoon and provided me with a written estimate of $1,911.00.  After paying the technician $70 to provide a written estimate Sony requested, I called Sony Customer Relations this morning.

This time, I spoke to “Fran” (employee ID “CXTF”).  After reviewing my file (but without looking at the written estimate I had in my hand that I had not yet faxed to her), she said the television was out of warranty and that there was nothing she could do.  She said that televisions are subject to wear and tear.  WEAR AND TEAR?  I don’t take it mountain biking with me.  It just sits in my living room, just like that 40″ XBR did.

I asked her if there was any supervisor I could speak to.  She said no.  I then asked her where she was, she told me that the Customer Relations Department is in Florida.  I again asked her where she was, she said she was in the Philippines.

Peculiar, there is no supervisor or any one else to speak to other than a customer service rep in the Philippines.

Money is not the issue, but as an attorney by trade (as well as an internet blogger and international magazine article contributor) I stand up for people that have been wronged.  In this situation, I feel that I have been wronged.  If I had that tv on for every minute of the 17 months it worked, I still would not have gotten the benefit of the bargain.  Sony, I expected more from you and your product – much, much more.

Over my life, I estimate I have spent about $50,000 on Sony equipment.  No more.  I’m going to take my business elsewhere if I cannot get a satisfactory resolution to this matter.

How do you think I should go about resolving this issue?
UPDATE: a few hours after posting the above entry, I received a call from Sony’s International Customer Relations.  He requested that I fax my receipt to him and that I would hear back from him later today or tomorrow.  I am hopeful we can resolve this matter in an amicable fashion.  I will keep everyone updated.

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43 Comments leave one →
  1. chuck permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:47 am

    I highly doubt there’s no supervisor you can talk to. I think she’s just lying to you. Maybe call back again? I wonder if you can take this up with sites like Gizmodo or Engadget.

  2. Troy F. permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:54 am

    You could try an “EECB” or send your story to consumerist.com .

    There is a list of executive contacts and a phone number for Sony here:
    http://consumerist.com/2008/03/sony-doesnt-repair-your-laptop-for-3-months-accuses-you-of-warranty-fraud.html

  3. Simply_bill permalink
    December 22, 2009 1:55 pm

    Sorry to hear you have a defective Sony TV. Their customer service is locate in Fort Myers, Florida but oddly enough it closed for a week this year when a Typhoon hit the Philippines. I know you are pissed right now, but you are not alone. There are tens of thousands of Sony owners that have been, are or will be victims of their defective televisions. The sad fact, they don’t care. In a world of 9 billion people you can lose a million or more customers and still remain in business.

    We have a pages on Facebook and Google sites that may be able to give yo some direction. As far as Sony, they have a time tested system of deny, delay and distract. The script is designed to wear you down and make you just walk away.

    You were lucky to be able to have posted anything on the Sony Facebook page. Over the last month they have deleted thousands of negative comments. If you look on their page there are less then 10 “fan” posts in the last month.

    Join our page – I have a defective Sony Tv.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/I-Have-a-Defective-Sony-TV/182875766612?ref=nf

  4. paddlesports permalink*
    December 22, 2009 2:52 pm

    @Chuck & @Troy, thanks for the suggestions, I have already forwarded the email to consumerist.com but I’m hopeful that this matter can be resolved amicably (see the update to the post). I’ll keep everyone posted!

  5. January 31, 2010 6:57 pm

    Congrats on getting a new TV from Sony (saw your results on Consumerist)!

    Sad to think one has to leverage social pressure to get a major corporation to do the right thing and stand behind their products, but these days, that’s apparently what it takes to get things done.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      February 1, 2010 8:13 am

      Thanks, Matt. I actually didn’t know that Consumerist.com wrote an article about my problem until you posted your comment. Thanks for the headsup!

  6. January 31, 2010 7:11 pm

    It was your own fault for not having a warranty. Things break, you can’t expect things to last forever.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      January 31, 2010 11:44 pm

      Yup, it’s my fault for not having a warranty…. ***scratching head furiously***

  7. Ryan permalink
    February 1, 2010 10:47 am

    Im glad to hear things worked out for you man, you’ve inspiried me to complain on the internet if I am in need of anything lol.

  8. Seth R. permalink
    February 2, 2010 3:26 pm

    I have had the exact same problem with my 46″ Sony KDL-46XBR4 LCD TV.
    I’ve had it barely over 2 years and the right side is going out. It’s dark most of the time and the image is very blurry/slow to update. I realize this sounds like a copout but I have been an extremely loyal Sony user. My first CD Boombox was a Sony, the first portable CD player, all 3 Playstation models, first TV I ever purchase myself (27″ Trinatron), first flat panel LCD (before this broken one), etc.
    Needless to say, I am much more open to other brands of electronics.

    • paddlesports permalink*
      February 3, 2010 11:04 am

      I feel for you, Seth. Sony does have good customer service but, at least in my experience, you have to work to get to the people that are truly in a position to help.

    • parm permalink
      October 29, 2012 2:59 pm

      Not sure if sony resolved your problem if not and If you ever get the chance read this article and keep us posted with your results: http://news.consumerreports.org/electronics/2010/03/sony-warranty-46inch-xbr4-xbr5-bravia-lcd-tvs.html

  9. Ricardo permalink
    February 3, 2010 10:45 am

    I own this TV and I have the same problem I guess is time for me to start calling higher ups to get this resolve

    • paddlesports permalink*
      February 3, 2010 11:03 am

      How long have you had the problem, Ricardo? I assume you are out of warranty?

  10. February 27, 2010 9:00 am

    There are now nearly 800 “fans” on the “I Have a Defective Sony TV” Facebook page. Virtually all of them have defective Sony Rear Projection models and most of those have bad optical blocks.

    I wrote to The Consumerist a couple of months ago describing the problem…twice. (I Have a defective Grand Wega KDF-60XS955 with a second failing optical block that I purchased for nearly $4000 in Nov., 2004.) I heard from a “weekend” editor that she would “look into” the problem. Never heard back. I know that MANY other defective Sony TV owners–who have spent literally hours on the phone with Sony reps seeking fair treatment–did the same (as well as contacting Brian Ross, local TV stations, their states’ Attorney General’s offices, the Consumer Affairs website and the BBB). You were one of the very, very few, paddlesports, that got any “satisfaction”. I assume it is because you are an attorney who is adept at using social media, which resulted in your gaining the attention of the “right” people. Good for you!
    Sony is currently requiring owners to *pay* for replacement sets…asking up to $1500 in some cases to
    “compensate” them for defective sets that are less than two years old! Because of Sony’s abysmal customer service, Wega owners are now filing lawsuits in their local small claims courts and are either winning (one received over $2300) or settling for undisclosed amounts before the cases come to court.

    For the full story–including the class action and small claims court lawsuits–go to Steve’s Linke’s excellent website: http://sites.google.com/site/sonylcdrptvproblems/

  11. paddlesports permalink*
    February 28, 2010 1:01 pm

    Barb, I feel for you and all those that feel they aren’t getting the proper treatment from Sony.

    My situation was a tad different as my Sony was an LCD purchased within 2 years. But I like you, we all paid a considerable amount of money for our tv’s and expect the tv’s to last (my previous xbr is over 10 years old and still working like a champ).

    I encourage you and all those to do what you can to get the attention you deserve.

  12. Charlie permalink
    March 12, 2010 6:14 pm

    Thanks for posting about this, I have had an identical issue with my KDL-46VL130 Bravia since February of this year, and I purchased the set in December of 2007. I found your post through the Consumerist article.

    Sony offered me a $900 “allowance” on a $1840 repair bill.
    $1640 of this estimate was for the replacement panel. If a 46″ Sony LCD with the same features can be purchased for $900-$1000, why are they charging $1600 for the replacement panel?

    They may as well be saying “go buy another TV and go away”. If I do I won’t be buying a Sony!

    Also, congratulations on getting your issue resolved to your satisfaction. I hope I’m as lucky in my pursuit of customer satisfaction. I won’t let the trolls who say “your warranty expired, quit whining” get me down.

    • Joanne permalink
      October 4, 2010 5:19 pm

      Did you get anything resolved? My KDL-46VL130 is doing the same thing and it is no longer in warranty. I was hoping Costco would help me out, but so far no luck. Sony won’t cover because it is not one of their defined “affected models”. Only the XBR4 and XBR5 have extended warranties related to this problem.

      Purchased the tv in Sept 07.

      • effectivepull permalink*
        October 4, 2010 10:35 pm

        Yes, Sony replaced my television.

  13. paddlesports permalink*
    March 12, 2010 6:24 pm

    I feel you, Charlie. Good luck!

    • Jorge permalink
      March 12, 2010 7:44 pm

      I have the same problem with a Sony KDL-52XBR4 LCD TV. Around January the lcd tv started acting up, after contacting Sony customer service and following all their instructions come to find out the LCD panel is defective with a cost of $3000 to replace and that Sony will only cover $900 of the cost. Why would I want to spend $2100 of my hard earned money to repair this tv when new sony 52″ tv can be purchased for $1600. The least Sony could offer is a replacement tv which probably at their cost would be less than the $900.
      This LCD TV was purchased in January 2008, it just barely 2 years old. Maybe if the TV was 5 or 6 years old you could say oh well, but only 2 years old, unacceptable.
      I am in the electronics manufacturing business where QUALITY is JOB 1 and customer service is of the upmost importance.
      I used to believe when you wanted Quality, Sony was the way to go. Now i do not know what to think.

      • paddlesports permalink*
        March 12, 2010 8:10 pm

        Sorry to hear about your problems, Jorge. I hope you can eventually get a suitable outcome.

  14. March 18, 2010 3:07 am

    nice and very informative writeup keep it up.

  15. Carole Zikowski permalink
    May 1, 2010 7:35 am

    We bought a KCL 52XBR LCD TV in Feb 2008. As previously reported by others, in Aug 2009 we experienced lines progressing to a black screen. At that time we were told by a tech that it was a due to a bad LCD panel. Worse, when our installer contacted Sony he was told there was only a 12 month warranty (when Sony had extended to 18 months). Recall that Sony has you register your purchase so that you could be notified of issues like a warranty extension, but of course this is only likely a ploy to sell your name. Since the cost of repairs approached that of a replacement we passed on the repair. In researching a new TV, we learned of the special extended warranty on the 46 in models and of numerous reports of similar problems in the 52 inch products. Breaking through customer support, we got to consumer affairs. They insisted on a report from a Sony approved repair shop and proof of purchase. 110.00 dollars later once again we we informed that the problem was a defective panel. Two levels of customer affairs later Sony’s response was “we’ll assist you with covering 25% of the parts”. Sony will not even refund the wasted $ 110.00 on the service call they insisted on. The Sony approved repair tech and our installer both have said they have experienced similar responses from Sony, but that a few customers have their entire repair cost on these 52 inch TV’s covered fully. Needless to say, Sony is not a honorable company.

    FYI There is also a problem with an electronic module at the top of the these KDL XBR’s. The problem source can be differentiated by the fact that if the module is responsible, the Sony menus are unaffected.

  16. Nick Picone permalink
    May 11, 2010 12:06 pm

    hey, so what Twitter address did you tweet to?? My KDL-46W4100 has made me fed up enough and I won’t rest until Sony does something about it! I am so furious to be finding out that they know about this problem and how it effected so many models, but won’t come out and be honest and help fix it! I really don’t want to give up on Sony products b/c I truly love them and always have, but this will be the breaking point. This isn’t some $20 clock radio we’re talking about..when its a $2000 TV that isn’t even paid off for (or would be roughly the average family income for a month) this is a little out of hand!!

  17. paddlesports permalink*
    May 11, 2010 12:29 pm

    Sorry to hear you are having problems, Nick. I don’t recall the Sony twitter account I sent a message to. If you do a twitter user search, you should be able to find who you’re looking for. Sorry, I couldn’t be more helpful.

  18. September 20, 2011 8:09 am

    I just experience the exact same problem, after paying 2000$ on my Sony KDL52Z5100 the LCD screen is dead after 18 months. I called Sony and got the same story as yours..paid 105$ from my pocket just because Sony wanted to see on paper.. They offered me a tv at a discounted price.. This is crazy, I cannot afford another TV I already spend thousands on this one thinking that a Sony product should last for at least 4 years, I’m still making payments on my Sony tv with a broken LCD since I bought it with a 3 years payment plan.
    I feel like I bought a SONI not a Sony product.. I am very disappointed and never in my life would spend any cent on sony products..

  19. Rob permalink
    November 14, 2011 9:29 am

    I have their 60XBR2 WTF is wrong with you sony stand behind your products the picture was amazing and still is if you dont mind watching everything in green but some stuff is fine tri state moduals some company claims they can fix the opitical block for $300 totally worth it but they dont have any in stock so they claim 90 days to fix it and only a 6 month gaurentee why is sony not fixing these the people who buy these spend a lot on home theater and will not be going back to sony again my 10yo 51″ panosonic still works as good as the day it was delivered I have seen pictures of my sony tv with the backs all melted they should be forced to buy them all back before they burn down someones house they know their is a huge problem with their tvs they just put this ciniva shit in the ps3 so it wont play downloaded movies their speeker

  20. effectivepull permalink*
    November 14, 2011 9:37 am

    UPDATE: My Sony TV (the one that Sony gave me as a replacement) had some issues a few weeks ago. Originally, I was told by the Sony rep that helped me get it replaced that although she couldn’t extend the warranty beyond the regular warranty time, she would make a note of it and if there were any problems she’d take care of it. I was told to contact her if anything went wrong. Well, 3 months outside of the new warranty, the TV started turning off automatically . I shuttered as I knew I had to deal with Sony again. I tried to call the rep that originally helped me. Surprise, surprise, she wasn’t at Sony any more. The rep that did try to help me said the tv was outside of the warranty and there were no notes in my file that indicated the warranty would be extended or that Sony would help me out. I was pretty much screwed – again.

    I was later told by a tech that Sony issued a firmware update for the TV (of course, I didn’t get notice of it) and that should fix the problem. Luckily, it did but if it didn’t, I’d be screwed again along with all of you.

    When this TV dies, there is NO way that I’m going to buy another Sony. Sony once was an amazing company and made amazing products. Too bad, that is no longer the case.

  21. masmax permalink
    December 11, 2011 9:40 am

    Every product that I bought from Sony was not working properly, everything had some problem… never buy sony products!!!! You was really lucky for not having problems until now! This problem that you are saying, I ‘ve got it too with my first Sony Trinitron CRT monitor before 15 years… NEVER TRUST SONY, SHITTY PRODUCTS ONLY!

  22. Bob permalink
    January 3, 2013 2:54 pm

    I just had the exact same problem with my KDL 46BR4 46″ LCD TV. The local Sony Service rep said they’ve seen this problem a lot with this TV. And he thought they actually had a recall on these TVs. I called the Sony Customer Service center 3 times. It is based in the Philippines. I asked for a manager but they only escalated the call up one level. I was told there was no one else I could speak with. My only option was to purchase a refurbished TV for $579.00 plus tax. Why would I buy a TV with a known problem that Sony won’t address. I asked how long a TV a should last, but they wouldn’t comment on that. I asked if I should expect a Sony TV to last more than 2-3 years… 3-4 years, etc. The customer service rep said, yes a tv should last longer than that, but even though this is known problem with this tv, they will not do anything about it. He would only sell me the refurbished tv for $579 and I could buy an extended warranty for almost $400.00. That is my only option.

    • Brian permalink
      January 16, 2013 2:47 pm

      @Bob

      I just had exactly the same experience with exactly the same TV! I enjoyed your post in the way misery loves company.

      I paid nearly $3K for this TV and it didn’t make it to 5 years. It’s clearly a defective model – there is evidence all over the web of this same problem with this same TV.

      A classic business case of a company not standing behind it’s product, probably an indicator of a business in decline. I thought I was making a good decision when choosing Sony in the past. It was an expensive mistake. I will never purchase another Sony product and look forward to buying from one of their competitors.

      • effectivepull permalink*
        January 16, 2013 2:50 pm

        Hi Brian,

        I’m bummed to hear about your and the other’s problems. I’m done with Sony and that’s too bad. That being said, I haven’t had any problems with my current Sony tv. Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by!

  23. normaneinstein7 permalink
    February 15, 2013 10:21 am

    I have a 50″ Sony rear-projection that I bought in late 2006 that I’ve spent over $2,000 on. Last year it began forming a yellow/green blob on the screen. It was mild at first so I just lived with it. Now it’s getting very bad. After I did some research, it turns out that virtually every Sony rear-projection TV made from 2002-2007 will eventually have this problem. Sony refuses to recall them. I found a Sony facebook page about defective Sony TVs which led me to contacting Sony, hoping that I could find a solution to the problem since my TV is out of warranty. They simply said they couldn’t do anything about it because of the age of my TV (I guess a TV that’s 5-6 years old is considered ancient these days.) They simply offered me a discount for a new TV.

    Like many, I’ve been a Sony fan for many years. About four years ago I bought a $100 upconverting Sony DVD player that died after one year. I went out and bought another Sony DVD player. However, with my TV slowly turning into a $2,000 paper weight, I’ve never felt so ripped off in my life. I mean, I could live with a problem arising that could be fixed by a TV tech. I wouldn’t mind paying $150-200 bucks for a repair bill; however, the price of fixing it costs more than what some new TVs cost. It’s ridiculous. Oh boy, if I knew then what I know now, I never would’ve even thought about dropping that much money on a TV. I simply thought at the time that it would be like every CRT TV I owned, that lasted 15-20 years. If I could go back, I would’ve just bought one of those widescreen CRTs that Samsung made and sit back awhile before going for a flat panel.

    I will never buy Sony again. That said, I don’t think the grass is always greener on the other side either. I think most companies are not building modern TVs to last like they used to. The old CRT TVs from the past seemed to last forever. I think the average lifespan of these flat panels is probably 4-5 years. Some are “lucky” and have theirs last longer. Others have their TVs go out a month after the one year warranty expires.

    I will never invest more than $500 into a TV again, unless I win the lottery or something. It’s just not worth it because these TVs don’t last like they used to. When I window shop and look at the new LEDs, the newest thing, the picture looks great, but they look so fragile to me. I don’t trust buying one at all. It seems like the slightest thing could just kill it. I would be too paranoid owning it. They just don’t look durable at all.

    Research “Planned Obsolescence”.

  24. puma permalink
    June 7, 2013 3:57 am

    a sony technician confirmed off the record that sony had to extend the warranty on the 46xbr4 but not the 40inch xbr4 as it did not have a high enough failure rate

  25. sajee shan permalink
    June 8, 2013 2:57 pm

    Hey u have a copy of the receipt i have the same issue they are asking for receipt i dont have it plse

  26. Rav Kumar permalink
    June 27, 2013 8:32 pm

    I am kind of in the same situation. All my electronics are Sony. Had a Sony TV over 14 years and still runs. I bought Sony LCD Bravia 46″ KDL – 46xbr four years ago, now it goes off by it self after few seconds. I called tech. and told me that the panel is gone, it’ll cost me about $2,200. Also told me that I shouldn’t be buying Sony anymore because all have defects and are made by some other company and put Sony label. He said old are good but not the new ones. NO MORE SONY!!

    • December 22, 2013 9:01 pm

      As correctly written, echoing millions of Sony buyers, this is not just you, there 1.6 million tvs affected. Sony is not doing what it should do.
      http://donotbuysony.wordpress.com/ visit this site for the complete story and what you can do. End of the day for Sony!

      • December 22, 2013 9:01 pm

        Btw, I posted a link of this page in the blog as well. thanks.

  27. carlos permalink
    February 8, 2014 6:22 pm

    I have same problem with my lcd xbr5 40 and sony didn’t do nothing. I am not buying sony in my entire life. sony doesn’t stand by by its products.

  28. Manoj permalink
    November 17, 2014 7:34 am

    Hi, i am big fan of SONY products. I have my Walkman, Digital song player, DVD player, Mobile. Everything are performing as like new, but to my Shock the LCD tv that i bought of sony turned into disastor. It became dead after 1.6 Yrs. I believe Sony is collaborating with many small companies & just stickeing SONY on the back panel.

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