EXCLUSIVE: Sony Computer Entertainment Australia has started contacting customers who have reported “Yellow light of Death” and Blu ray problems with their PS3 gaming console, following an investigation by SmartHouse which indicates that there are more problems with the PS3 in Australia than Sony are making out.
It has also been revealed that several leading mass market retailers who sold the PS3 console in the first place are refusing to take back problem consoles.
During the past two weeks several Australian buyers of PS3 consoles have contacted SmartHouse to claim that after reporting their problems to SCE Australia, they have been asked to pay up to and over $300 to fix “Yellow Light Of Death” and “Blu ray” as well as firmware upgrade problems with their console.
Anthony Blake of Blake Systems in Brisbane contacted SmartHouse “I have had the Yellow Light of Death problem and when you contact Sony they simply claim that you have to fork out $300 to get the problem fixed. There is also there are no guarantees that the issue will not happen again a 2 year old unit. This doesn’t seem fair?
He added “I’ve no option but to buy a new console. I should have learnt as I have had a Bravia 46inch 100HZ unit for nearly 24 months and it has been repaired twice. Whatever happened to more $ gets you better quality”.
Anthony Notaras of Lilyfield, in NSW wrote “My parents have a PS3 for the grandchildren to play when they come over. It was bought 18 months ago and broke down about a month ago (drive would not recognise any discs). My guess is that it has not had 10 hours use in those 18 months. Playstation quoted $330 for repair – although they said they do not look at the unit, they just send out a remanufactured unit”.
He added “How can they not have a service section to even look at the unit? It could be a 2 minute repair but they charge $330. Consequently they are not getting it repaired and not buying Sony again.
Michael Kentfield wrote to SmartHouse claiming that he had bought 2 p3’s in the last 3 yrs and that both have failed.
“The first one I bought was a 40 gig and it won’t read any discs at all, although the hard drive and everything else seems to be fine. The second one I bought after the first one broke is now broken too, It won’t boot up, I get to the “Sony computer entertainment screen” and it freezes up!”
Richard Bullock of Perth wrote “I had the Yellow Light Of Death problem. I purchased my PS3 in Australia about 15 months ago. It packed up last month so I took it to a repair shop he told me it would cost about $150.00 to repair. He offered no warranty because Sony will not sell new parts to a third party repairer”.
“The repairer claims that the chip delaminates with heat build up and subjects the cooling system to a lot of work which is very inadequate”.
“Mine just gathers dust and I can’t use it. Sony have adopted a very poor attitude over this”.
Stephen Hoffman, Managing Director of Fanscibooks, wrote “Friends of mine recently had to pay $300 to fix a “hardware” issue with their Sony PS3, which appears to have occurred after an update. The problem was connected with the Blu-ray drive, which had never been used to actually play a Blu-ray disc. The unit was still within warranty, but service agents claimed it was a non-warrantable hardware issue”.
Late on Friday Sony Computer Entertainment started contacting customers whose complaints we had started forwarding to them.
James Boyden, Consumer Services Manager Aus/NZ for Sony Computer Entertainment wrote in an email to one customer “Sony Computer Entertainment Australia offers a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months; this means that the PS3 can essentially be repaired or replaced at no charge to the consumer in accordance with the manufacturer warranty terms. We also have implemented a process for facilitation of repairs, irrespective of the warranty status”.
Boyden has also admitted that at one stage a consumer attempted to return a console to the retail place of purchase. He was turned away by the sales staff member who did not contact a Sony authorised support team, or provide the details of the service.
“Authorised retailers are supplied with all of the appropriate information from our Company, and it is also provided on the official PlayStation web site so it was unfortunate in this instance there was miscommunication at the retail contact point regarding the process”.
SmartHouse recently investigated the PlayStation 3’s “Yellow Light of Death”, a problem many console owners have experienced for years. In the past, Sony has expressed its dislike for the term, saying that the flashing yellow light doesn’t focus on one particular error, but any one of “a range of issues that may inevitably affect any complex item of consumer electronics.”
SCE officials have also stated that the problem is minor.
According to research conducted by SmartHouse and ChannelNews the Sony YLoD problem takes place 18 to 24 months after the original purchase, conveniently six or more months after the warranty expires. Sony has acknowledged the problem, reporting that around 12,500 of the 2.5 million consoles that have been sold in the UK have had this error since March 2007. But because the consoles are failing after the warranty expires, consumers are forced to send it off to Sony and pay $300 for a refurbished replacement.
During the past two weeks SmartHouse has been contacted by several Australian consumers who have been charged $300 or over to fix their PS3 problems. The BBC Watchdog program in the UK recently sent 16 consoles with YLD problems to independent repairers who said that there were soldering problems with the PS3 circuit boards.
Sony fired back with a response, saying that the YLoD doesn’t stem from a manufacturing problem, and actually “criticised” the BBC for suggesting that the basic solder reflow process “can properly be done cheaply and quickly.” Sony said it was unfair to criticize the company for service charges outside the warranty.