Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Better Business Bureau Complaint Against Sony's Warranty Contractor

I learned the hard way that Sony contracts out its warranty (non-)service to:

Name: Service Net Solutions, LLC
Address: 650 Missouri Avenue
City: Jeffersonville
State/County: IN
Zip/Postal Code: 47130

Here's a copy of my complaint to the Better Business Bureau. A friend said I should also contact SONY's PR department, which I'll do. I'm still a Sony stockholder I think. I liked their products, but this service nightmare is surely one reason Apple is making money while Sony is losing it:
Please provide a BRIEF, FACTUAL DESCRIPTION of the problem you experienced. If you are notifying the BBB of an advertising claim that you believe is inaccurate or misleading, include the date and location of the advertisement.

1. Primary Classification:
Guarantee Or Warranty Issues

2. Secondary Classification:
Repair Issues

3. Problem:
My XXXXXXX XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX SONY Vaio computer purchased directly from Sony, serial # 28240831-300992 was covered by a Sony extended service plan # 7959631 issued 3/29/2006 and further extended via Amex payment on 10/8/2007 until 9/3/2009, has a bad AC adapter jack that no longer charges the battery. When I called the customer service number 1-866-374-0134 (after the website chat failed to resolve the problem), the first representative, "Antonio," said my contract didn't cover it because the problem was accidental damage and I didn't have accidental damage and the company has issued policy to turn down all claims for the AC jack. I then tracked down my original certificate of coverage #7959631--and it DID cover accidental damage. I called American Express to see about the extension and found that it was billed on October 8, 2007 for $118.07. My next call, a woman said that even if I had accident coverage, the bad connection was considered an "intermittent problem" and would not be covered. Then I was transferred and disconnected. I called back a 3rd time, talked to "Samuel," who said that although my original contract did cover accidental damage, the extension, which he said was #12347207 did not. I asked why I would remove coverage from what I purchased originally, and he said maybe I checked the wrong box. Again, he said that since there was no accidental damage coverage, the company would not cover the AC jack. I asked to speak to a supervisor. I waited for about 15 minutes on a hold line, and eventually gave up. I believe that this entire operation is a runaround. They claimed not to have the different policies linked, they kept asking for different ID and serial numbers, and they never gave me any information unless pressed (in contrast to Apple service which does it all by phone number and with which I have had no problems to date). All I wanted was my computer fixed. After paying $199.99 for the original policy, plus $118.07 for the extension--I received nothing but aggravation.

Complaint Background
Not all of these questions are required. Please provide as much information as you have.
1. Product/Service Purchased: Extended Service Plan for Sony Vaio laptop
2. Model Number: vgntx770P
3. Contract, Account, or Policy #: 7959631 extended Oct 8, 2007 to 9/3/2009
4. Order #: sw06032802386-14562671
5. Purchase Date: 3/29/2006
6. Date Problem First Occurred: 7/20/2009
Dates you complained to the company/organization

7. First Date: 7/20/2009
8. Second Date: 7/20/2009
9. Third Date: 7/20/2009
10. Payment Made: Yes
11. Payment Method: Credit Card
Name of Sales Person

17. Purchase Price: $318.06
18. Disputed Amount: $318.06

Desired Outcome
Enter your DESIRED OUTCOME below. Please keep your description within the box provided, without scrolling. A summary of your complaint is preferred, as the BBB will contact you if they need additional details. Mandatory fields are followed by a RED "*".
1. Desired Settlement:
2. Desired Outcome:
Refund all payments for warranty and extension: 199.99 118.07 ----- 318.06 TOTAL

If all of the above information is correct, click Submit to submit your complaint.
BTW, here's a link to another complaint about Sony warranties, on
I'm sorry to take up your time with such a long story, but even this version has cut out hours of being put on hold and transferred an infinite amount of times. Sony is a well known name that should be ashamed of such disgusting, misleading, uneducated, confused people working for them. Even worse, to have a supervisor hang up on a loyal customer 3 times is completely unforgivable. I am not sure how far I can go with this case, but I would like to somehow get the word out there. Sony does not stay true to their word and did not honor my $500.00 warranty.
Hmmmmmm, sounds familiar...

UPDATE: 12:13 PM, EST, JULY 22, 2009

"Darienne" of Service Net Solutions Consumer Relations (1-812-704-5181) just hung up the phone on me (she did so when I asked her last name)--when I refused to accept their offer of a refund of $118.07 on the warranty extension. I told her that I wanted the whole amount because I had never filed a claim on the first warranty but have come to believe that had I done so it would not have been honored, that I believe from my experience (and from reading similar complaints on the internet) that the company is running a fraudulent warranty business that gives a runaround instead of service. I had told "Darienne" that I would not accept a partial refund and demanded the entire $318.06, which she said they would not give. I said I would not negotiate this and would not close this complaint without a full refund. Of course I told her that I had a blog, was a member of the National Press Club, and had written a number of books as well as suing the CIA, so that I would not negotiate. They could either pay me a refund, or not, in which case I would tell the BBB that the company had not resolved the claim.

Which, considering that "Darienne" acting as a "consumer relations" person hung up on obviously unresolved. I also feel insulted by the way that I was treated. I wonder whether anyone in "consumer relations" at Service Net (non-) Solutions ever heard this phrase: "The customer is always right?"

UPDATE: 12:30 PM, EST, JULY 22, 2009

BTW, I checked my portfolio and don't seem to own Sony stock anymore--a good thing. Luckily, I still own Apple...

UPDATE: 1:14 PM, EST, JULY 22, 2009

My broker just sent me my investment history with SONY:
Buy: 50 shares on 8/29/00 for a total of $5,065
Buy: 50 shares on 9/26/00 for a total of $5,455
Sell: 100 shares for $2,079

Net loss was $9,002
I guess I'm not the only dissatisfied customer of Howard Stringer's out there...


I've just filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Sony's warranty contractor:
We have received your complaint.

Thank you for contacting the FTC. Your complaint has been entered into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies worldwide. Your reference number is: 23464582

Here are links to the publications you may find useful:

If you want to update your information or have any questions, please call our Consumer Response Center, 1-877-FTC-HELP. Keep your reference number handy.
Another Sony warranty complaint involving Service Net at