William speakman cherry, Ph.D.
July 10, 2012
Yonkers, New York 10703
New York, New York 10022
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716
Columbus, Ohio 43218
Dear Sir or Madam:
Reference is made to my June 29th letter to each of you, a copy of which follows at the bottom of this letter.
I just received a call from Sony Electronics (239 245-6245) taking the position that Sony would take no responsibility for the failure of the television and the failure of the replacement part.
The representative also told me that Sony was not responsible for having new parts available for a three year old television, and further that they had no responsibility telling consumers that any replacement parts would be rebuilt ones.
I doubt a significant number of consumers would be willing to buy Sony’s products if they knew Sony’s position in advance. I certainly wouldn’t. Further, it interest me that Walmart carries this brand under the circumstances.
Contents of June 29, 2012 Letter
On or about Monday, September 15, 2008, a Sony 40 inch Glass Bravia Full HD 1080p LCD HDTV with digital tuner, KDL-40S4200 – Energy Star Compliant was bought from Walmart web site and delivered to our home. The full price including tax was $1,310.91 and it was charged to my wife, MasterCard.
About September 30, 2011 the picture went out. We delivered the unit to Preston TV & Video for repairs. On September 7, 2011 they returned the unit to us after replacing the main unit A board, The cost for the A board part was shown as $165.45, labor of $157.50 for a total cost including tax of $344.54.
I specifically asked and was assured that the replacement part was provided by Sony.
On or about February 24, 2012 the picture went out again. I returned it to Preston TV & Video. They told me that Sony would not warranty the faulty A board because the ninety day guarantee had expired.
Nevertheless, they then kept the unit for about two weeks, and reported that it worked fine. I picked it up, brought it home and it didn’t work.
Sony shows Baynard Electronics as one of its approved service companies. I then took the TV to them. They confirmed that the A board was indeed faulty in several areas. A quote for the replacement part had increased from $163.48 to more than $644.36 according to Sony. Labor to install the part was quoted by Baynard at $150.00
I asked how that could be. The technician told me that all A boards for most if not all of Sony’s televisions are not new, but are rebuilt; that there are no new parts available.
Variance in price for the part, according to the technician, fluctuates based on how many of the reconditioned parts Sony has in stock.
Replacing the A board for a second time would mean that we would have paid all but about $250 of the cost of the television, a television that first stopped working less than three years after purchase.
We chose to not have the television repaired again. It sits unusable in our home.
Had it been public information that any repairs requiring new parts would probably require rebuilt parts instead of new ones, I assure you we would have not bought a Sony.
There is something incoherent about an appliance that can only survive three years, for which there are no new parts but rebuilt ones, and that the consumer is expected to buy into the idea that this is moral and ethical on the part of the manufacturer and the vendor where the appliance was purchased.
By contrast, my daddy and mother gave me a small Sony portable black and white TV in 1964. That television set has never been serviced and works 48 years later
My wife and I would like an explanation, and wonder if Consumer Reports knows whether or not it is true that the repair parts are, in fact, rebuilt ones.
We frankly believe that Sony, Walmart and the warranty of MasterCard should figure out how to resolve this repair or replacement without further cost to us.
And we believe that Sony should make it quite clear in its advertising and literature that within a short period after purchase, new replacement parts will no longer be available for its television sets.
William S. Cherry