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Big can learn from small

The thoughts of Richard Osborne on many subjects over the years.

Big can learn from small

Sony Vaio VGN-BX296XPSo there I was, taking my new Sony Vaio laptop out of my flash new laptop briefcase bag thing then there it was. This is my third Sony Vaio laptop because until now I was a bit of a Sony fan having just about every gadget in the house made by Sony. A single small black screw sitting in the bottom of the case. Imagine my horror when a closer inspection revealed that this screw had come loose and fallen out the base of my laptop. Imagine my further horror when this said same inspection also revealed that 2 further screws were also missing presumed lost at large!

So I do what any considerate consumer would do, I phoned the company I bought my laptop from to be told they don’t provide support and that I must phone Sony direct. Now I do have my questions over this, because my contract is with Laptops Direct as they are the ones I paid. So I may be wrong but I believe they are legally bound to have to deal with my complaint but none-the-less I phone Sony anyway and so the saga continues.

I speak to nice friendly gentleman on the phone. Not wanting to be without my laptop and being a helpful chap that I am, I say just send me 3 screws and I’ll fix it myself (I wanted to have 1 spare just in case). The guy understands my concern and tells me the screws will be sent out within a week. Problem solved, or is it?

Two weeks later I get a phone call from a lady telling me that to process the support call I need to send them a photo of my laptop.. Do what?!?! I try to explain that there is only 5 screws in the base and 3 are missing, I then went on to describe which ones. “Sorry Sir, if you don’t send any pictures we cannot send any screws.” At this point I’m starting to wonder what these screws are made from, solid gold or diamon crusted perhaps? So anyway, I take a picture of the bottom of my laptop, circle the screws missing and email them the photo.

A week later I get a phone call from another gentleman saying they will not send me any screws because there isn’t meant to be any screws where I have circled. Now at this point I have to admit that I was getting a little stressed as 1 of the screws actually holds the hard drive in place so I argue my case, and he says he’ll have a word with his boss. I then send a fax to their customer services questioning their customer service methods to which I hasten to had I have had no reply.

Another week later I get a call from the guy saying they have decided to send out 3 new screws to me admitting that perhaps there are supposed to be screws that hold the laptop together and the hard drive in place!

Question Mark in the SandWhat can Sony learn from this, they can learn from small business owners, they can learn that what really matters is that if they had just posted me out these 3 screws which were clearly missing I would have been very happy and the cost to them would have been less than £1. If I received a call from an unhappy customer concerned over something which would cost me circa. £1 to fix hell I’ll just fix it there and then, and so will just about any small business owner. That is what large corporates like Sony can learn from small business owners like you and I.

As it happens I actually received 5 bags of these screws over the period of 3 weeks, so if anyone owns a Sony Vaio and the poor build quality (as my Google research has shown me) is affecting you drop me a line. I’ll send you some replacements a damn sight quicker than you’ll get them from Sony. I’d also be interested in knowing the legal position with regards Laptops Direct redirecting me to Sony rather than dealing with my complaint themselves after I purchased the laptop from them in the first place.

Comments (7)

  1. Jul 25, 2007

    In March I purchased a Sony Playstation 3 system. Lo and behold, if anything went wrong with it, I have to contact sony direct, and have them sort it out…..

    This is something that Sony must be doing, in order to keep control of warranty’s or the likes…..

    I think Sony are going through a bit of a Rough patch at the moment downsizing staff, removing the CEO of the games division etc etc, but I’ll still hold them high on my respect list for Technological Innovations and Products. I’ve had and have got, nearly everything sony (except my laptop which is a Toshiba) and because of a faulty Bios, It used to keep switching itself off…with the enw bios, my funky shortcut buttons now don’t work! fantastic!

    Ozzy, I agree with you, if only the big company’s could learn from people like you and me!

    Best Regards

  2. Jul 25, 2007

    Rich you have the patience of a Saint!

    These days I know exactly the type of crap I’m going to get from large corps and after the initial conversation with me doing my best to be nice to the corps staff (it’s not their fault, so I do try) ends in me ranting and raving at various people at all levels.

    Twice we have blogged about crap service/products and it is quite amazing the power of the Internet, both times have produced results, so we have taken the posts down.

    Just today we received a phone call from a client saying a number of plants out on hire are dead. So tomorrow we go out and replace them. Is it our fault? No the previous batch of plants they hired had containers with drainage holes, they killed off some of them so this time they got containers with no drainage holes, unfortunately the weather has been kinda shitty…

    Why are we replacing plants free of charge (even though the T&C’s state it is their responsibility to look after them)? Because we want their custom.

    So to me it sounds like Sony are telling you to buy from somewhere else. Possibly good advice?

  3. Matthew
    Jul 29, 2007

    Your contract is with Laptops Direct, and not with Sony. Sony would have been within their rights not to deal with you, but to refer you back to Laptops Direct. I suggest you ask Laptops Direct for confirmation of this, perhaps dropping the word “chargeback” into the conversation to help them focus.
    At the same time Sony acted with typical megacorp incompetence. My perception of Sony is of a bloated, arrogant corporation selling overpriced stuff, stuff which is good but not nearly as good as their very expensive hype makes out. Add their attitude to the consumer about DRM, (basically FU consumer), and you see a brand in decline.

  4. ken_uk
    Aug 28, 2007

    I would be more worried about the fact the screws were loose. Chances are that screws could also be loose inside the machine.. You dont want your motherboard flexing, causing stress damage, nor do you want a screw coming loose inside and shorting out the inside of the laptop..

  5. ken_uk
    Aug 28, 2007

    ps – you could always sell the laptop screws on ebay, people do sell them!

  6. gareth corner
    Aug 31, 2007

    laptops direct!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was sent a laptop that didnt work and returned in next day. im a patiant man but affter 6 weeks with out a refund and having sent 57 emails…3 letter and spent (no joke) 4 hours on hold i still have nothing.Ive had the phone put down on me whilst pretending to transfer me.Ive had managers calling me back but never do.Ive been laughed at.Ive been told rudely to ring the right depatment.And the very best thing is they sent me an email titled “Valued customer” asking for feedback so they can win awards!Still living in hope that 1 day ill see my £400 again!

  7. Philips
    Jun 17, 2009

    Most so called big stores do not care about you all the interest is on selling and they will do anything to.
    I buy from small business 😛 they dont have 1 million customers so they value you and treat you like a King.
    Look up http://www.lavacomp.co.uk
    They are cool