Sucky Sony Customer Support

In the latest console wars, I chose PlayStation 4. Late last gen, my PS3 was the preferred gaming device (PS+ and my 360’s loud-ass fan were contributing factors), and their first-party stuff interests me more. So when they went on sale at Target in December of 2014, I bought one. Had I known what kind of customer support I was going to receive, I may have bought a different console.

Playing Bloodborne (an awesome game), I noticed at times my character stuttered when I was pressing up on the left analog stick. It was intermittent so didn’t really bother me. However, the issue kept getting worse. And as I was getting further in the game, those hiccups became costly. Then it became noticeable in Batman: Arkham Knight (another awesome game).


Great game (as long as you can move up)

I had no choice but to contact support. After all, new controllers are freaking $60 – the price of a big-budget, new-release game – and I’d only had mine for about 8 months. And some Googling showed that it was a very common problem, so I assumed Sony was well-equipped to fix their faulty hardware.

PlayStation does not have a way to email support – my preferred method. So I go to their online chat. “Carlos” listens to my issue. He asks what I’ve done to try to remedy it; I tell him about resetting the controller, trying with the USB plugged in, etc. He says I have to send it in. And I have to pay for the shipping. And I have a 10-14 day wait to receive my fixed (or replacement) controller.

Wait, what?!

Remember Rock Band? Wonderful game, but the guitar had a strum issue that ran rampant. So what EA did – ya know, the “worst company on Earth” – was set up an easy way to register, give your credit card as a deposit, then get a replacement guitar and send yours back in the same box. That way, there was no out-of-pocket for you and very little time away from your game. It was an acceptable solution.

“Evil” EA sez: We’re sorry. Let us fix this in the quickest, easiest way possible!

What Carlos was offering me was not an acceptable solution. I told him so. I said I want to escalate the issue, which in customer-service-speak means to have someone higher up handle it. So Carlos quits out of our chat. Yes. He, a Sony support employee, shut it down. And he did it before I could get my case number or save the chat text. It doesn’t get any more unprofessional than that.

I take to Twitter, which is generally a good way to get giant corporations to pay attention to you when there’s an issue. Generally, but not with @AskPlayStation. They uselessly directed me to the contact-us page and never again responded to numerous Tweets.

I thought I now was without a way to even send this messed-up controller back should I decide to fit the bill on shipping. But later, I got an automated email with instructions. And an outdated address representing me. I logged on to PSN and checked my account. No, that was the current address.

So I box up the faulty Dual Shock 4. As instructed, I include a copy of my PS4 receipt and hand-write my case number on a note. On that note, I also include the correct address, saying the one on the email was wrong.

Sooner than expected, I get an email saying the controller is being shipped back to me. Well, that’s a relief! Except the email again lists my old freaking address. Damn.

I immediately call Sony. And wow, does the operator give me attitude! I explain what’s happened to this point. She interrupts to scold me. She insists I gave them that address when I made the case number. I said I did not make the case number; Carlos did before he quit out on me. And I have no idea where he got it. She eventually finds my correct address listed as well, but it’s too late.

After several minutes of silence – she never once apologized for the wait or for the screw-ups to this point – she says the controller will have to go through FedEx’s loop and then will be returned to them. They will then send it to the proper address. All told, it’ll be about 2 weeks.

Are you shitting me?!

I ask about contacting FedEx to change the address. She says I can try that. I say, “Oh, it’s my responsibility?” Yup. But she’s never heard of it actually working.

You know why? Because, as the FedEx recording says before you even talk to a live person, delivery changes need to be made by the shipper. However, first the shipper has to give enough of a damn about their job and their duty to you as a paying and inconvenienced customer to get off their lazy asses and contact FedEx in the first place – which is obviously too much to ask from Sony support employees.

So I call FedEx. They’re friendly but can’t do much. The first time I call, the tracking number isn’t even in their system. Which means the box was still sitting at Sony, where they could have easily pulled it and changed the shipping address. I call FedEx again later, when the tracking number shows up on FedEx’s site. Even then, though, it’s too early for them to do anything. It’s in some flux state. It’s suggested I try back the next day.

I call FedEx the next day. The operator seems to think she can change the address. Until she can’t. Like the automated voice says, only the shipper can change the delivery address. I have to request the package gets returned to sender (Sony). The operator suggests I tell Sony it’s coming back. I hesitate because I don’t want to talk to them again, but she’s right.


Note: I even tried Firefox, in case their chat program didn’t like Chrome

I try to log into Sony’s chat. “We are unable to proceed with your Chat request.” Did they block me? Are they just unusually busy for a Wednesday? I try to log onto the support site for the first time since this all happened. “Hmmm … Looks like something went wrong. Please try again or click here to chat with an agent.” Guess what happened when I tried to click there to chat with an agent? Hint: reread this paragraph.

I really really really don’t want to call Sony support again. I fear that, if I do, I’ll go off on them. I’ll keep yelling until I get Kaz “Rrrridge Racer!” Hirai on the horn. They basically have my controller held hostage, and I’ll be damned if I want to give them another $60 for a new one.

In summation, PlayStation Customer Support is arguably the worst I’ve ever had to deal with. I mean, almost all customer service interactions with any company are a pain, but at least you usually don’t feel like you’re being pushed backwards two steps for every step forward you take. Perhaps I’ll update this if/when I get my controller back.

I keep tracking the package as it slowly makes its way back to Sony’s support HQ (or whatever) in Texas. It arrives at 8:34am on Wednesday, August 19. The next afternoon, I call Sony support. The phone system does not recognize my case number, nor is it easy to get to talk to a person. When I finally do, he seems okay. He puts me on hold to talk to an account specialist. My call is soon disconnected. I call back, and a very unintelligent person fumbles his way through some half-assed excuses. Basically, they haven’t logged that the package arrived. Neither of the two people I talk to apologize for my inconveniences.

I call back the following Monday. Oh boy, here we go again… But wait! This guy seems to have his head on straight! He’s actually sympathetic without burying his employer or co-workers, and he seems to have some ideas what to do. He puts me on hold and doesn’t hang up on me. While they still can’t find the returned FedEx package (remember, the one that they sent to the wrong address and made me do the leg-work to get returned to them), this guy says they’re going to send me a “promotional controller” which should ship out in 3-5 business days. I’m irrationally happy to have someone competent helping me out. I agree to fill out a survey about him (that never comes).

Sure enough, on Thursday August 27th I get an email that the package has been shipped. On Tuesday, September 1 it arrives. It’s just a plain controller in bubblewrap in a box, but it looks legit and works well. And all it took was 25 days from the date I shipped it, $3.29 shipping out of my pocket, one chat where the guy quit out on me, one shipment to the wrong address, 3 unproductive calls to Sony support operators, 3 calls to more competent but still ultimately unhelpful FedEx agents, several attempts at an inaccessible chat system, and 1 call that actually led to the solution.

Remember, kids: Everything is smooth until there’s a problem. Then, few people if any do their jobs because nobody gives a crap about you even when that’s what they’re paid to do. So if real shit ever goes down in real life, do not expect anything from anyone. They will push you off a cliff for a donut. For a donut. Thanks for reading.

*EDIT: On September 16, I received a surprise package. It was another – and presumably my original – Dual Shock 4 controller! Perhaps it was Sony Support ineptness finally in my favor, or maybe it was a consolation prize. After the issues I had, and the rumblings about analog-stick pads coming off, it’s nice to have a backup controller.


10 thoughts on “Sucky Sony Customer Support

  1. You have my empathy on how bad sony’s customer support is. The thing that the people who are going to criticize you won’t realize and is probably why sony hasn’t improved on it. They usually have high quality products that don’t break down much. Therefore no one really gets a chance to call their customer support to see how good/bad it is. I had a total of 3 issues with them on my PS3 and now maybe a number 4 because they refuse to fix the slow down on the PSN.

    It pretty much made me quit buying sony products unless I had to. I use to be a big sony fan boy as well which is pretty sad. I had everything from ps1, ps2, ps3, psp, and the xperia play. I was even planning on getting their waterproof tablet, upgrading my xperia play to a different sony phone after contract ended, and getting a nice sony hdtv. Vita and PS4 is definitely a no unless there are several games I like from developers that are releasing exclusives on them and never porting it, but so far that is very little. It also has to be really cheap.

    I recommend going the way of the PC and get your games on GOG if available. Don’t be scared of building your own pc it is easy. Most developers now release on it anyways and will more than likely port their games to it. To think about it, Microsoft might be the only one who has their stuff together with xboxone this generation especially if they make a great chunk of the 360 library compatible. In that way you can get rid of that defective hardware they called the xbox360. The only thing irritating about wii u is the game saves not being able to be backed up. Same with wii and 3ds.

    *Grammar police please forgive me. Don’t lock me up in Jail or beat me down with your batons*

    • I’ve had the opposite experience with Sony. My first DVD player was a Sony & it broke within 3 years, despite very light use. I had a Sony stereo, and its cd carrousel broke within 3-years as well. Both were early to mid 1990s products though…a while ago. Around the same time, I rented a PS1 from blockbuster & it also didn’t work right, with the employees of the store telling me they break down quite a bit. They gave me a different one, yet that one didn’t work as well. That perhaps is an unfair complain, given that it’s a rental. I do however love the PS3, and in fact own 2 currently, but the joysticks have been of very low quality. I have SNES joysticks, from my youth, with holes in the case, due to me throwing them in anger against the wall when I was a teen & they still work, despite having a hole in the case. They’re over 20 years old, I bought the SNES the month it came out.

      My experience with Sony is of disappointing & over priced hardware. I also know others who have used their customer service & one sent in his PS3 to be fixed, got it back from Sony after it was supposedly fixed, only to have it not work, out of the box! They never fixed it & sent it back to him, by what I assume was an accident. That’s ridiculous, but matches the bloggers experience of a total lack of care by its customer reps.

      The PS3 exclusives sold me on a PS3, but thus far that hasn’t happened with the PS4. Hardware wise, I remain unimpressed. I hope Uncharted 4 & No Man’s Sky impress me enough to finally buy a PS4…maybe I will buy one when the Uncharted Trilogy is released, as that has become my favorite game series, next to Zelda. It’s the Xbone & Wii U for me thus far this cycle though. The Xbone is very impressive.

      • My launch PS3 died the day PS4 came out. I cut it some slack because I had it for what, seven years? I replaced it with a slim with a big hard drive in a Black Friday steal. But man did I miss being able to play PS2 games – especially as I’d given my PS2 to my nephew. I’ve since got it back (he got a PS3 of his own) so it’s all good.

        What sold me on PS4 was PS+ And devotion to indies. It’s also slightly beefier, performance-wise, than Xbone. I’m no fan of Fable or Forza, and Halo is the only exclusive I ever got into. And the Kinect reliance early on turned me off – as did many Microsoft stances. They’ve since corrected them – as smart companies do when they’re being beaten.

        I love Nintendo properties as much as the next guy, but Wii left a bad taste in my mouth. Wii-U only has 2 games I’m missing – Bayonetta 2 and Mario Maker (when it comes out). The mistakes they’ve made this cycle have been stunning. But as I said in another comment, I love my 3DS.

        I’ve never been a fanboy in that I love one company and hate another. I love games, period. As I covered them professionally for 8 years, I owned just about every console and played every major release. Now, as simply a hardcore player, I find myself with more games than I can play even though I just own one current-gen console. By the time I beat Bloodborne, Fallout 4 will be on the way. I still haven’t played Dragon Age and my hard drive is full of intriguing indie titles.

  2. I’ve used both Nintendo’s & Microsoft’s customer service & luckily, they were both outstanding, and very professional. Nintendo was perhaps he best customer service I’ve ever had, period. But what is up with the Sony joysticks? I’ve had more PS3 ones break on me than every other console I’ve ever owned, combined, and my first console was an Atari 2600!!! I love the PS3, but there’s a clear quality issue with their joysticks.

    • I’m glad there are companies doing customer service right. When it’s good, you remember.

      One of my PS3 controllers holds a charge for like 5 minutes. And of course I bought the ones with rumble after my launch-unit controller didn’t have rumble.

      The Dual Shock 4 seemed like a drastic improvement on form and function, but apparently not manufacturing quality.

  3. Appreciate your feedback.

    I’ve always said that Sony is generally great with hardware while Microsoft is generally great with software. After all, Sony makes TVs and other electronics, while Microsoft makes Windows.

    I’d say I have worse luck than most with consoles. My 360 RROD’d like all did back then, but because I was media at the time I was fast-tracked through the process. My PSone – bought refurbished from Funcoland (who owned Game Informer, which I’d go on to write for) – didn’t work and I had to exchange it.

    I tend to not get too upset, though; these things happen. However, the insult to injury that Sony has perpetrated upon me is a little too much to take lying down. Provided things turn out okay in the end with this issue, I probably won’t abandon ship on PS4. It’s still a good system and I own a lot of compelling games I have yet to play (Dragon Age, Transistor, Rocket League), not to mention upcoming stuff like Fallout 4 and MGS5. But I definitely won’t be flying the PS4 flag very high. And let’s not forget Sony being greedy bastards about the Vita memory cards and their commitment to *not* do backwards-compatibility.

    • Here is the funny thing about the vita backwards compatibility. They don’t realize despite the fact how powerful the vita is, it still needs a good library. Backwards compatibility would have helped them out with that a whole lot and they need to also not make you pay for your digital software games again after already having it. It is one of the reasons nintendo’s handheld systems have been so popular. They have done it on every single one of their handhelds. I had a gba, ds lite, and now a 2ds. Which the ds lite made good use of the gba slot for certain ds games.

      Use to have a 3ds before the hinge broke and I ran into the “3 ribbon connectors of death,” when trying to repair it. Not a official term, but that is what I like to call it. That is the 2nd thing I dislike about the 3ds. Ds lite is still my favorite handheld of all time.

      So I don’t get too off topic. No, the last thing you want to do is get rid of your playstation stuff. You have already invested in it. I just suggest before you go out and buy that “Playstation 5.” You drink a cold glass of milk and think really hard if you want to go through that again. Money is viable, but sometimes time is a lot more viable since you can never get it back. Btw, those games you listed you can get all of them on PC. I hope things work out better for you in the future though. It does seem you have a lot of bad luck for these types of things.

      Best regards.

      • Oh yeah, the Vita/PSP compatibility debacle. I have a first-gen PSP and a lot of games, so if Sony would have done SOMETHING about BC there, I likely would have upgraded at some point. Sony continued to push their handheld as “console on the go,” which doesn’t work. You play different games on a handheld.

        I love my 3DS. Got it during ambassador-but-price-drop time so I got a bunch of retro titles. I completed Zelda, Zelda 2 and Mario 3 for the first time on my 3DS. Still play it a bunch now – Tomodachi, Ultimate NES Remix and import Retro Game Challenge 2 lately – and love getting street pass tags when I’m in Japan. Sorry to hear yours broke. Man, I bet copying over data from a broken system to a new one is a hassle.

  4. Street pass tags in Japan must be through the roof. I rarely get some where I am at unless I go to a game shop. Well you can’t transfer over your save files unless you do a system transfer. Which only works if BOTH systems are operational. If you call nintendo they will be able to transfer your network id which has your digital purchases tied to it, but that is it. Kiss game save files that are digital, street passes, street plaza and over 80 hours of fire emblem awakening good bye. Only way to avoid that is to buy physical for 3ds. The wii and wii u, you can’t avoid it at all. I say a prayer for all my Nintendo brothers every night LOL.

    • Yes, in places like Akihabara (Tokyo’s electric district) you can Max out your 10 tags in 10 minutes all day long. Only think like it was when I used to attend E3.
      Game data is so fragile when you think about it. I remember losing 20 hours of Discworld for PSone because the data became corrupt. Let’s hope cloud saving becomes prevalent and dependable.

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