Problems with Sony

Little Miss Austin received as a gift from her grandparents "Transformers: The Movie - 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD." I was excited because I didn't even own that. It was a two disk set with widescreen and 4:3 presentations, commentary, and a bunch of really extra cool stuff.

Before we go any further, yes, LMA likes Transformers. When asked, I told my dad and they got her some stuff. As much as I am a fan of the toys and show, she's the one with the current infatuation with them, especially Optimus Prime. (God I love my little girl.)

Anyway, we put the DVD in and it doesn't play. We've had some video equipment problems since (and likely because of) the move so I assumed it was the player. When we tried it on another player it stopped in the same spot and then the player shut down. When I tried on a PC it stopped in the same spot. Then I noticed there are two concentric "etches" on the DVD, so I immediately think "copy protection." I'm sure we've all heard the stories about Sony's crappy way they've handled their DVD and CD merchandise and angry customers.

So why I decided to try to get a replacement disk is beyond me, I guess I wanted to see how bad it could be.

My first attempt was to go online and see if other people were having this problem. They were, but they were for newer released movies. However, there was a phone number listed in a blog somewhere saying you could call and get a replacement disk.


That's Sony Picture's customer service. I also sent an email. I received an email saying they didn't distribute that picture and I'd need to contact the manufacturer.

I check the DVD case and it says "Manufactured and Distributed by Sony BMG Music." So I write back and tell them. They reply with, "That's Sony BMG, we're Sony Pictures." They gave me a number to call.


That's Sony Music. In talking to a rep there, I explain I have a Sony BMG DVD that won't play on either DVD player or my PC. They apparently only heard "sony" and "pc" and gave me the number to Sony Vaio support.


I listened to the automated system for about half a second before I realized I didn't want to service a Sony Vaio that I don't own. I called Sony Music back and got the same lady. She told me that this was a merchant number, not a customer number and they usually only deal with merchant orders on their music label. She then gave me Sony BMG's main number in NY.


I called and spun around in the menu options for a while and when none of the options seemed useful (do they ever?) I got an operator, who told me to call Sony Customer Support. Seemed like a good idea at the time. It's what I thought I did originally.


This customer support group asks for my model number, which I don't have because it's a disc, not a player. They say this was only for electronics. They told me to call the main number, which I thought I had. I end up getting a disc support number.


Whoever answered the phone here was the nicest person so far. First, she didn't try to interrupt with a script, ask for information that wasn't necessary and when I explained what was going on, she actually said, "Oh wow, I'm so sorry, I wish I could help." The only other number she had was for Sony Pictures (again) and that this was the Blank Media Group, ie writable disks/drives/tapes, whatever.

I don't even bother calling Sony Pictures back, so I try Customer Support again. They give me another number for Sony Media Software.


I don't even call it. Instead, I go back to Sony BMG's main NY number and try again. They direct me to another automated "I'm a real person" systems (complete with a keyboard typing sound, creepy) which leads me back to Sony Pictures.

I call them right back and explain again that I have a Sony BMG DVD movie that needs to be replaced as it is unplayable. I'm given a new number.


That's Columbia House. The automated system asks for my Prefered Music Account number or some dang thing. I don't even bother.

Mean while, I get an additional email from Sony Pictures saying I could call Sony Music directly.


Which is this first phone number I called. BUT they also provide a link to a feedback page.


Which has a number on it and the phrase...

If you believe a Sony Music product has a manufacturing defect, please call our Quality Management Department at 800-255-7514; 856-722-8224 in New Jersey). So I call. The 800 number no longer exists and the local NJ number is disconnected. The web address is only for feedback and it even says, "We appreciate all feedback, although we aren't able to respond to all of it."

On a whim (since I'm out of options) I call Best Buy. I don't know if that's where the DVD was purchased, I just want to find out what they do if they receive an unplayable disc from the customer. The first guy I got (when I thought I asked for Customer Service) said and I quote, "Uuuhhhhhhhhhhhh......let me get you to customer service."

Ok then. So I get a new guy and explain to him that I don't necessarily have a Best Buy purchase, but out of curiosity, if I did and I brought it back (receipt and all) and exchanged it, how would they go about getting a replacement. He said that they contact the manufacturer, send the bad ones back and get new ones to replace them. I asked if it was a Sony BMG DVD who would he contact and he says, "I wouldn't. Sony's really hard to deal with, even as a merchant. They make it very hard to replace things and they won't believe you over the phone. That's why we're here so a customer doesn't have to deal with that."

Not the best answer I heard all day, but an honest one.

The last phone call I made was to my dad to get the receipt.

Fuckin' Sony.


I call Sony BMG main number back and ask the operator, "Do you have a listing for the manufacturer for Sony BMG DVDs? I'm trying to replace an unplayable disk." She gives me an extension (8655) and I think the voice mail was for Richie Chicho? I left a vm with him, I doubt I'll hear back.

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