So, after much agonising on the subject, I decided to buy a Sony Touch Edition eReader – having been assured that the improved visual quality of this model made up for the size of the screen.
Not having a Sony store convenient to home, I ordered online. Since Sony only deliver within normal work hours, I gave my own workplace as the delivery address. Payment was accepted and the order dispatched four days later, with an estimated delivery date of three days after that. Then the fun began.
Four days after the estimated delivery date, with no eReader in sight, I rang the Sony Customer Service Centre to chase it up. There, after some umming and ahhing, I was told that my delivery had been refused and the package returned to the company.
Now— The reception at my workplace receives packages all day, every day. There was no reason at all that a delivery would have been refused. So, I asked, when did this happen? Did they get the name of the person who refused? Why didn’t they use my contact number, so that I could have walked down one flight of stairs and received the delivery personally? And why, assuming the delivery was refused, did they make no attempt to contact me afterwards, but left me to chase the order myself?
This, it seems, was talking like a crazy person. Or so I gathered from the puzzled silence at the other end of the line. Finally, instead of answers to my questions, I was given an e-mail address and again left to chase things myself.
So I sent off an e-mail containing the same details. Three days later, I got a reply: since my delivery had been refused, the items had been returned and my order scrubbed. If I still wanted it, we would have to start over. Did I still want my order?
Evidently the Sony Corporation is so strapped for cash that people often mistake it for a charity, and hand it large sums of money without expecting anything in return. You will notice, at any rate, that although my order was expunged, no attempt was made to refund my payment.
So, yes, I replied, astonishingly enough, I did still want the items I had bought and paid for. And off we went again.
While I was waiting, I received an e-mail. The Sony Corporation had noticed that I had recently used its Customer Service Centre. Would I take a few minutes to fill in a survey about my Sony experience?
As you might imagine, I was just in the mood to describe my Sony experience. Particularly since the e-mail made it clear that the Sony Corporation was under the impression that I had ordered, not an eReader, but a 32 inch television.
And eventually, my order showed up. (My reception people, offended at being blamed for the original snafu, refused to let the delivery guy leave the building until I’d walked downstairs and gotten my hands on the package.) This morning has been spent getting set up and learning how to use it and downloading my first eBook.
And, oh…it’s beautiful.
And that, when you get down to it, is exactly the problem – the alpha and omega of Sony. The quality of its products lets them get away with both overcharging and treating their customers like crap – and particularly in this corner of the globe, where options are more limited and they have, to a degree, a captive audience.
Of course, just because someone can do something, doesn’t mean that they have to. It’s a question of character.