The biggest Sony negative: service and support

Started Nov 10, 2012 | Discussions
taamberg
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The biggest Sony negative: service and support
Nov 10, 2012

I'm heavily invested in Sony, starting off with Minolta lenses and cameras, and then having made major investments in Sony glass and first an A900.

I just bought an A99, partly to be able to get clean HDMI in 1080 24p.  This is the third major feature listed for the A99 on Sony's website, and the ability to get 24p from HDMI is clearly listed on the specifications page.

However, for whatever reason, I'm not able to get my Blackmagic HDMI capture device (an Intensity Extreme Thunderbolt peripheral for my Mac) to grab anything other that 1080 59.98i.  I've tried all the settings, tried it when making a recording or not, etc. etc.

Sure, It's a little bit of a technical issue, but it's not like there are a whole lot of inexpensive HDMI capture devices, and the Intensity line is pretty popular.

So it was time to contact Sony Support.

- The first thing I tried was the "interactive chat" session on sonystyle.com:

- the agent started by misconstruing my question to be about AVCHD recordings;

- they then still misunderstood it to be about recordings onto the memory card;

- they then told me that Sony hasn't tested the A99 with _any_ external devices; (I had to point them to the A99 features webpage claiming HDMI external device support)

- they then told me that 24p is not supported on the HDMI port; (I then had to point them to the A99 specifications webpage)

- they then told me I had to escalate my case up to the next level, but that _they_ couldn't do that, I had to call a toll-free phone number (available 7 days a week);

- the phone number they gave me was the wrong number;

- I looked up the right toll-free support number myself, and called it;

- That number just went to a recording telling me to call a NON-free, long-distance number (Florida);

- I called up the Florida number, and got put on hold;

- the phone system doesn't tell you ANYTHING about how long your hold might be, or the "number" you are in line to be heard;

- after 21 minutes on hold on a paying long-distance phone call, I gave up and hung up.

What.  A.  Joke.

I thought that Sony was serious about giving their professional products professional support?  This isn't even non-professional, consumer-level support.  This is incompetence.


Sony SLT-A99
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Danny Williams
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Re: The biggest Sony negative: service and support
In reply to taamberg, Nov 10, 2012

If it is SERVICE you want..........then I suggest you purchase a Canon. They know how to treat their customers, and they have service personel that are incredibly knowledgable.

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tex
tex
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Well, you've got some choices
In reply to taamberg, Nov 10, 2012

One is to give up.

Another is to "vote with your feet".

But the one I would ask you to do for the sake of all of us, please, is to copy your post and send it to management.  I think the way to do that is to send it to the lowest possible managers who could effect change (and obviously up the food chain from the people you "talked" to, who have been really poorly trained, again obviously), but also copying their supervisors, and the ones above them.

My experience is that when people know their supervisors are seeing things they would rather not have them see, it tends to light a fire under them.  And if nothing happens, then we know the problem is coming from the top.  That may indeed be nearly impossible to work on.

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steelhead3
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Re: Well, you've got some choices
In reply to tex, Nov 10, 2012

The techs all speak Spanish.

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tex
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And....your point? /nt
In reply to steelhead3, Nov 11, 2012
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Andrew Mitchell
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Re: The biggest Sony negative: service and support
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

I couldn't agree more.

Sony Taiwan seem to know *nothing* about DSLR cameras at all. I had to stop using my A700 as they repeatedly refused to acknowledge that it was back focussing (on all my lenses).

But I'm stuck with all my lenses and periphery kit, so what can you do ...?

Reasonably happy with my A55, though. But long gone are the days when I would regularly recommend Minolta cameras to my friends. They have all sold up now and are on other systems.

Cheers

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Michaels7
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I agree with this.
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

I never had to call them for any of my Sony cameras. That's a good thing. BUT, Sony needs a department and one with people that have knowledge in the photography department. I love my Sony cameras, but Sony is all over the place in so many areas that it's pretty bad.

I recall asking one of the workers on the phone at the local Sony stores about the Sony camera. You'd swear that we were speaking two different lingo. The woman kept replying with a totally different topic. I had to slow her roll and get her on the same page.

The website education price. I'm glad that I'd went the Sony local store route for that. Turns out that the education price on the website is wrong too. It was actually cheaper when I was in the store. Surprised me because I was doing the math in advance where I'd used my Sony card and my major credit card to pay for my A99. She told me, "it's actually cheaper than what's on the website."

The other funny part too which I'd briefed on, the purpose of using my major credit card too was to purchase some gift cards to pay the difference that (Sony told me to do this.) my Sony card couldn't cover. I was told more than once, both online and phone that I can't use more than one credit credit card directly to purchase my camera. When I attempted to do what was suggested to me, the lady in the store looked and was confused. After I'd explained what was told to me, she said that I CAN use both cards to pay for the camera. Long story short, she said, "The Sony website and chat is not consistent."

Sony? Please get your employees and department on the same page. You're a big company with different departments. Canon has different departments for their different specialties too. BUT, they, like Nikon, has a department that's properly trained for their camera department.

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photo chris
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Why would you call Sony?
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

taamberg wrote:

However, for whatever reason, I'm not able to get my Blackmagic HDMI capture device (an Intensity Extreme Thunderbolt peripheral for my Mac) to grab anything other that 1080 59.98i. I've tried all the settings, tried it when making a recording or not, etc. etc.

And why would you call Sony's service "incompetent" because they can't resolve an issue you're having with a third-party device?

It sucks to get passed around the customer service chain, but the only people you need to contact work at Black Magic - they produce the device and any compatibility problems are not because of the HDMI out, but with the way it ingests the data.

Have you contacted BM too see if they've tested it, perhaps it needs a firmware update to work with Sony or some other method?  Atomos was having compatibility issues with the Ninja and the D800 that eventually got resolved with a firmware update.

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taamberg
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Re: Why would you call Sony?
In reply to photo chris, Nov 11, 2012

photo chris wrote:

taamberg wrote:

However, for whatever reason, I'm not able to get my Blackmagic HDMI capture device (an Intensity Extreme Thunderbolt peripheral for my Mac) to grab anything other that 1080 59.98i. I've tried all the settings, tried it when making a recording or not, etc. etc.

And why would you call Sony's service "incompetent" because they can't resolve an issue you're having with a third-party device?

First, because if you read my original post you see that there is fundamental lack of knowledge about the A99's publicized features, and outright incorrect knowledge being espoused by Sony Support (wrong phone numbers, claiming the camera isn't supposed to to 24p, etc.)

Second, because one of the camera's publicized and hyped features is how it can work with third party devices exactly like the Blackmagic Intensity box.

Third, because I've tested the Blackmagic Intensity box on other  24p sources, and it works just fine.  I caught a post somewhere that the A99 had to be set in "auto" mode to get it to work with a Atomos Ninja at 24p, so there's a good chance that the A99's firmware code dealing with HDMI output needs to be "firmed up".

Is there a chance the BM box needs help?  Of course.  But a) it's been shown to work on other 24p sources, and b) no matter what, Sony is the one claiming external device support, so the onus is on them to make sure it works with the most popular devices.  (There aren't that many HDMI capture devices out there in the world, and Sony, as a major vendor of serious video cameras should have a compatibility lab set up for testing purposes.)

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photo chris
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Re: Why would you call Sony?
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

If the HDMI out is clean - and it is - the onus is on the device manufacturers to ensure compatibility, not Sony. The camera is just sending out data, the device needs to encode is as its ingested so if you're having issues its a Black Magic issue. In "The Calling" they're using external recorders - so it obviously works. And if you watch the Atomos Ninja video from Photokina, it clearly works as well. Some cameras work with external recorders without any issues and some need work to get everything to sync up correctly. Again, regardless of Sony service's knowledge of its product - or lack thereof, your issue is with Black Magic.

I'll refer back to my original example - the Ninja works right out of the box with no issues with many cameras - but it wouldn't work properly with the D800 until Atomos revised the firmware and found out that the camera will not send a clean signal with a card in the camera.  So it makes no difference how many other cameras your device works with, its ultimately up to Black Magic to fix any issues with the A99, not Sony.

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photo chris
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Re: Why would you call Sony?
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

taamberg wrote:

There aren't that many HDMI capture devices out there in the world, and Sony, as a major vendor of serious video cameras should have a compatibility lab set up for testing purposes.

So its Sony's responsibility to make sure third party devices are fully compatible with its products?  What about flashes?  Lenses?  Wireless triggers?  Remotes?  Time lapse triggers?  Aftermarket batteries?  Cases?  Straps?  But why stop there?  Make sure the HDMI works with every device on the planet with an HDMI, because there are certainly more TV's than external recorders so that would make sense.  Right?  Of course not.  Your logic is flawed to say the least.

Tell that to Apple or Toyota - you need to test every accessory everybody makes for your products and get back to me in a week or two when they stop laughing.

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rothwells
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Re: The biggest Sony negative: service and support
In reply to taamberg, Nov 11, 2012

taamberg wrote:

I just bought an A99, partly to be able to get clean HDMI in 1080 24p. This is the third major feature listed for the A99 on Sony's website, and the ability to get 24p from HDMI is clearly listed on the specifications page.

So it was time to contact Sony Support.

I'm sorry, but why is this Sony's issue.  It's obvious to me that the BlackMagic box isn't doing what you want it to.  I've seen someone else around here saying the blackmagic thingy only goes has high as 1080i as well.  Why is this Sony's fault?

- The first thing I tried was the "interactive chat" session on sonystyle.com:

- the agent started by misconstruing my question to be about AVCHD recordings;

- they then still misunderstood it to be about recordings onto the memory card;

- they then told me that Sony hasn't tested the A99 with _any_ external devices; (I had to point them to the A99 features webpage claiming HDMI external device support)

- they then told me that 24p is not supported on the HDMI port; (I then had to point them to the A99 specifications webpage)

- they then told me I had to escalate my case up to the next level, but that _they_ couldn't do that, I had to call a toll-free phone number (available 7 days a week);

I will concede that the "first tier" folks are just reading off of a script and have no clue whatsoever.

- That number just went to a recording telling me to call a NON-free, long-distance number (Florida);

Sorry, but honestly who pays what used to be known as Long Distance anymore?  I would suggest changing your phone service.  I think it's been over 10 years since I (and everyone I know) has not had one bill for unlimited everything.  I'm actually shocked that companies still have 800 numbers.

What. A. Joke.

I thought that Sony was serious about giving their professional products professional support? This isn't even non-professional, consumer-level support. This is incompetence.

I had quite the opposite (at least for the second tier).  I had an issue with my a99.  First off, customer service at SonyStyle isn't techsupport.  There is either another option of number for that.  I called it, and yes had to agonize through stupid questions like "is my camera turned on" and "did I try turning it off and turning it back on."  Really?  Geeze.   Then they contacted the second tier folks in Florida and conferenced me in.  Those guys are tech specialists at Sony and very knowledgable.  He was polite.  He was helpful. He gave me a way to send samples of the issue I was having.  After about a day of review, they issued an RMA and a free FedEx label for me to send back my a99.  I had a brand new one two days later, even before I got around to sending the other one back.

So, I have had a completely opposite experience with Sony's tech support staff.

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asdf photographer
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Re: Canon has their problems, too.
In reply to Danny Williams, Nov 12, 2012

I had horrible experiences with Canon service on 3 brand new camera's (7d, 40d and 5dm2).  I read rothwells post below that Sony RMA'd an a99 with a new one AND gave him a shipping label.   Canon would never do this.  They do not  pay for shipping to get it there (even with an in-warranty product) unless you are a CPS platinum member - which costs $500 a year. As if that is not bad enough, they certainly don't give you a brand new camera in return.  They "fix" your existing lemon and send it back to you. Or in my case, they do a couple "clean and checks" and send it back with the same problems, ignoring the problems on the workorder entirely. Then by the 3rd or 4th time, they actually fix it.  Actually, they never fix the 7d 100%.

Danny Williams wrote:

If it is SERVICE you want..........then I suggest you purchase a Canon. They know how to treat their customers, and they have service personel that are incredibly knowledgable.

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Alphoid
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True
In reply to taamberg, Nov 13, 2012

Sony has no support, and is borderline crooked (sometimes well over the line into both unethical and illegal). Once a product is sold, they try to milk customers. If your product breaks, or you need to return something, you're SOL.

This means it's a bad brand if you're doing anything professional. I would never buy one for work. I do use one for home; it has better price/performance, and I need service and support rarely enough that I tolerate it.

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OntarioJohn
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Re: True
In reply to Alphoid, Nov 13, 2012

Thats slanderous and shall be reported.  This has no place here.

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Ionian
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Re: True
In reply to OntarioJohn, Nov 13, 2012

OntarioJohn wrote:

Thats slanderous and shall be reported. This has no place here.

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London, Ontario, Canada.

Holy Fanboy! 
How about you ask him first to expand on what he said for further clarification before you show so little tolerance for a post you don't agree with.  Then again, that's not the fanboy way, is it?

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OntarioJohn
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Re: True
In reply to Ionian, Nov 13, 2012

So by fanboy as you say, I'm what?

Why don't you just say "stupid old man" or do you hide behind a non word or adjective?

If you mean a person who likes Sony and it's photography equipment find a new adjective.

Now you also have Decided that using demeaning words makes you eloquent, but the contrary is reality.

Holy is funny.  Wholly?

The poster minced no words calling them unethical, they milk people and do things in an illegal manner and are unprofessional.

Canada is not litigious like the US but even here a corporation is considered a person and you cannot say those things without careful and reasoned structure to your thesis.

i suppose in the posters mind other companies are different.  My dealing with Sony Canada are fine, reasoned, and   Above reproach.

As far as my opinion, you, your fanboy attempt at a direct insult, and the horse you rode in on, can pack a snack and find another forum to ply insult to people you don't know, and don't care about.  No wonder society spirals downward.  Caring, consideration, and respect are passé, and vulgarity is ruling the day.

I am locating the ignore button and will be happy to no longer have to see your posts.  I sincerely hope others follow my action and marginalize your stay amongst those who prize honour and virtue above small mindedness.

mes condolences les plus incinceres, a votre chute.

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renato55
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Re: I agree
In reply to taamberg, Nov 13, 2012

I state that at this time I have no photographic equipment, I had a Sony A77 kit various optics, but I sold everything, the A99 does not convince me and I decided to wait for a new professional Olympus or the new flagship of Sony 36Mp, meanwhile for work rental equipment all time. That said I must say that about ten months ago I had the need to contact Sony Support for a problem I had with the 70/300mm SSM (many times the photos were burned, as if the diaphragm does not shut the set value, in fact more I closed the aperture, aperture priority, more photos were overexposed), the person who answered the phone told me that the 70/300 was not compatible with the A77 and then it was not a malfunction, but incompatibility (!!!)  of Use I then wrote an email to Sony, I have never answered, so I called and they told me the same thing, pointing to the web address where I could see between the lenses compatible with the A77 70/300 was not (without a doubt that the list is not updated). I then brought the camera and lens in a Sony service center explaining the problem and telling them that they always occurred, sometimes fine sometimes not, after 15 days I have returned all telling me that they had found the problem before to take away everything I did make a few clicks to the person who was at the counter to pick up the items to be sent out in the laboratory and, of course, the pictures taken were all overexposed. In short, I do not think that all service centers are great, but my experience with the Sony service was not good, as I said today I have nothing of that material and I solved the problem at the source.
remember who is angry that I'm not a troll, but a person who shares his own experience

sorry for my bad english

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Alphamale77
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Re: Why would you call Sony?
In reply to taamberg, Nov 13, 2012

This reminds me back when we first heard rumors on the 100 "independent" focusing points, later we found out it was clustered in the center much like a77, then later we find out only a few lens works with the new feature AF-D...marketing over sell all the time, over may be we should be sorry for hoping sony to step up to the plate.

Be it BM's firmware issue or A99's issue, the experience you got simply showed bad service from sony. I had to service my La-ea2 adapter once and i took it to the sony store in NY and get them to ship it to the facility for me, it was suppose to be a 2 weeks fix, which is pretty long. I never heard back after 2 weeks and i called support and they said they don't have it, so i called sony NY store and they said they sent it. Apparently the service center doesn't even have a code for La-ea2 (this is nearly two years after the product came to market) and the store sent it as a SAL 50mm and somehow lost in transition. In the end i got a new one from the sony NY store after a month of hassel, the manager was helpful in the end, but it still meant i couldn't use my nex7 as a backup for my a77 for jobs during those times. best part is after a week of usage the same issue came up again in the adapter. (if you shake it you hear things are loose in it, which shouldn't be the case) I've kept it since it still worked because i can't afford to go through all that hassle again.

Lucky for those who got good support, but if sony wants to be taken seriously in pro market they need to step up. It not like we even have an option to pay for pro membership to get a good service. Canikon user has that choice at least.

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taamberg
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Re: Why would you call Sony?
In reply to Alphamale77, Nov 14, 2012

Be it BM's firmware issue or A99's issue, the experience you got simply showed bad service from sony.

Lucky for those who got good support, but if sony wants to be taken seriously in pro market they need to step up. It not like we even have an option to pay for pro membership to get a good service. Canikon user has that choice at least.

Thanks.  I talked to a "one level up from basic phone support" guy today, based in Florida.  He still didn't understand that grabbing a stream from the HDMI port is different than making a recording onto a memory card.  Then he tried claiming that "someone higher up just informed him" that the camera only supports 60p and 60i, and my pointing out "24p" on the website must be a "misprint / miscommunication".  (Never mind the fact I'm not even getting 60i, just 59.98i - which is NOT the same.)

I tried to educate him on the whole reason why uncompressed HDMI capture is a big deal, pointed him at that "The Calling" video Sony commissioned (which uses some 24p HDMI capture for green-screen use, at least) and told him to bump this issue WAY up the food chain.  We'll see what happens.

If Sony is trying to back out of HDMI 24p support, when they've not only listed it as a feature, but hyped this as the end-all and be-all of Video/Still cameras, MANY customers will feel burned, and Sony DSLTs will never recover in the pro market from the brand damage.

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