The Joys of Sony PS4 Customer Service

Awesome game!

Awesome game!

Back in April I bought a PlayStation 4, having held off for a while to see if the prices would come down. At that time, there was a rare sale on Amazon and I thought I’d bite the bullet. After all, I had already bought The Last of Us and was dying to play the game anyway.

While I was actually able to play the game, the PS4 has given me nothing but trouble otherwise. Immediately I got hit with the dreaded “Error CE-32889-0” which prevented me from playing the very last chapter of Metro: Last Light, crashing upon startup every time, and teasing me with letting me play a minute-and-a-half of Assassin’s Creed: Unity before throwing up the error and kicking me back to the dashboard.

Worse, the controllers suck. Unlike the XBox (I have a 360, not a XBox One) or PS3, where a controller can last for up to 8 hours, the PS4 controllers died after 45 minutes out of the box. Both of them (I got the PS4 bundle with two controllers). Slowly, but steadily, they began to lose their charges even more, eventually getting to the point where they would only work while plugged in (note, this was after only two months of use!)

Eventually, the PS4 became unusable, and then the controllers wouldn’t even turn on. Doing a hard reset on the controllers didn’t help. So, I turned to Sony Customer Support for help.

Simple, no?

Simple, no?

Evidently the console and the controllers are two separate service issues, and the agent told me that I’d have to send in the console for repair, and then send in the controllers separately. I didn’t believe it to be the case, but there might have been a possibility that there was something wrong with the PS4 that was affecting the controllers. After all, I didn’t know what kind of control mechanism the PS4 had with the controllers, so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Well, the PS4 came back this past week, and I did the requisite climbing around the entertainment center like a monkey trying to remember where all the cables were supposed to go (thank god for labeling!). However, when I plugged in the controllers – after trying to charge them in advance, no less – I got no joy.

So, after troubleshooting as best I could, I contacted Sony Customer Service, and got Leigh:

Leigh: Hello, My name is Leigh how may I assist you today?
You: Hello Leigh. I just received my PS4 from servicing and I’m having problems getting my controllers to work (I had this problem before it was sent for servicing; this is not a new issue for me)
Leigh: Thank you for contacting PlayStation. I’m sorry to hear you are having an issue. I understand how frustrating it can be. I will be more than happy to help you today. Let me gather some information first to better assist you…

I typed in my information.

Leigh: Thank you for the information. What seems to be wrong with your controllers?
You: They have never been able to hold a charge for very long (they both came part of the bundle I purchased) – only about a half hour each. Then they started losing their charge until they would only worked when plugged in. Now they won’t even work when plugged in. I’ve followed the reset instructions but still have no luck.
You: When I contacted support the first time, I was instructed that the controller issue and the PS4 issue (which is why it was serviced) had to be dealt separately. I was instructed to wait upon the PS4’s return, try the controllers, and then contact Sony again if they continued not to work.
Leigh: Alright, they likely will have to come in for service, however since it is a holiday today our service centers are closed and we are unable to process service cases today. Please contact us again tomorrow to be set up for service.
You: Okay. Is there a case number I can reference to expedite the request?
Leigh: This case is 0XXXXX99. The next agent will be able to look at this case and see what’s wrong with the controllers.
You: Thank you.
Leigh: You’re very welcome. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
You: No, thank you.
Leigh: Alright, thank you for contacting PlayStation today. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. Before I leave you today, please click SAVE CHAT if you would like to keep this transcript. Thanks for chatting – it’s been nice talking to you!

Okay, so Labor Day was my enemy, not Sony. I don’t understand why the scheduling system had to take the holiday off, but okay.

This morning, I contacted them again. I had my case number, and thought it would be relatively straight-forward.

Not quite.

Jose: Hello, My name is Jose how may I assist you today?
You: Hello. My case# is 0XXXXX99
Jose: Good morning! of course, I’d be happy to look into this Issue for you today.
Jose: Okay, how may I help you today?
Jose: Do you have any issue with your console, or a peripheral ?

I looked back over my transcript from the previous day’s conversation, and thought that it was pretty easy to understand. But, perhaps Leigh didn’t write very thorough notes, so I decided to give Jose the benefit of the doubt. 

You: I bought a PS4 bundle and have had nothing but problems with it (bought it in April).
You: Both the console and the controllers have failed to work properly.
Jose: Although you have entered information about a SEN account before this chat, could you please provide the following to confirm the *exact* account you need assistance with?

I type in the information.

Jose: Thank you so much for the information provided.
You: I just received my PS4 from servicing and I’m having problems getting my controllers to work (I had this problem before it was sent for servicing; this is not a new issue for me)

Hey, I’ve already typed this in before. I’ll just copy-and-paste what I did with Leigh.

You: uctions but still have no luck.
You: When I contacted support the first time, I was instructed that the controller issue and the PS4 issue (which is why it was serviced) had to be dealt separately. I was instructed to wait upon the PS4’s return, try the controllers, and then contact Sony again if they continued not to work.
Jose: I see J, have you tried your controller with another console already?

Ah crap, I screwed up the copy/paste!

You: I followed the instructions* (got cut off)
You: Do people typically own more than one PS4?
You: Technically, I tried them with the PS4 before it got sent to Sony, and I tried them both with the replacement PS4.
Jose: I mean, try on a friend’s PS4.
You: So, actually, yes.
You: They have never been able to hold a charge for very long (they both came part of the bundle I purchased) – only about a half hour each. Then they started losing their charge until they would only worked when plugged in. Now they won’t even work when plugged in.
Jose: Okay, and the controller works properly if you use USB cable?

Wait, didn’t I just say they don’t work when plugged in?

Jose: I see.
You: It did once upon a time, but no longer.
Jose: It is just one DS4 Controller, right?

Which part of tried them both was difficult to understand?

You: I get two rapid flashes when hitting the PS button, and then nothing. The PS4 won’t recognize either, even when plugged in directly to the PS4
You: No, both
Jose: Did you send both controllers for service?

Jesus. H. Tapdancing. Christ. Did he even bother to look at the case number I gave him? Or read what I wrote?

You: That’s what I’m trying to do.
Jose: Based on the information provided, your system needs to come in for service, could you please to provide me the exact date of purchase of your console and controllers?

What? Wait, no. The system just got back, I’m having controller issues. I don’t even know if the PS4 is working or not because I can’t get it to do anything without the controllers. 

You: My PS4 has gone in for service; it was just returned but I can’t use it because the controllers still don’t work.
You: April 16, I believe. Let me double-check.
Jose: May I know please if you have already tried to use a different controller on your console, to Identify if the issue is just with your controllers, or also with the console?

Tried to use… but… I just told you I’ve been having issues with both controllers. I just don’t understand…

You: I have two controllers – part of the bundle. The same behavior has occurred with both controllers, just at different times. I have reset the controllers using the instructions on Sony’s website, which worked for one controller, once.
Jose: Alright, I appreciate the information provided.
Jose: Could you please provide me the Serial Number, Model Number and color of your PlayStation 4 ? To locate the model and serial number of your PS4, look on the back of the system and locate the bar code sticker. Underneath the bar code you will see them, Serial Number stars with MBXXXXXXXXX and Model Number with CUH-XXXXX.
You: April 16 was indeed the date.
Jose: Thanks, now could you please provide me the Serial Number, Model Number and color of your PlayStation 4 ? To locate the model and serial number of your PS4, look on the back of the system and locate the bar code sticker. Underneath the bar code you will see them, Serial Number stars with MBXXXXXXXXX and Model Number with CUH-XXXXX
You: Here is the service request number for the PS4 replacement: 0XXXXX77
You: Give me a moment while I search for the serial number
Jose: Sure, just to confirm the Serial and model number of the console you got back.
Jose: I appreciate it.
You: Model CUH-XXXXX, Serial # MBXXXXXXXXX
Jose: Thank you so much for the information provided.
Jose: One moment please.
Jose: Could you please confirm your phone number and your current shipping address?

I give him the information. An email comes in with a service replacement RMA number, but the address is an older one that I had thought I removed from Sony’s database.

You: I just received the notice of the Service information, however the address is an old one.
Jose: One moment please.

As he’s looking through, I realize that the text of the RMA says that the system needs to be replaced, and doesn’t say anything about controllers. Suspicious, I decide to double-check.

You: I want to confirm, also, that this is a shipping box for the *controllers*, not the *console*, correct?
You: Just got the updated service information with the correct address. Thank you.
Jose: I’m very sorry, but unfortunately, your system will need to come in for service again. Your system is within its warranty, so there will be no charge for this service and the process is the same as the last time you sent your system in. I apologize for the inconvenience.

WHAT!? FFS, are you kidding me? I know Customer Service people are notorious for reading off scripts, but usually scripts work in sequence. This guy’s reading comprehension is off-the-charts bad. What, was he taught with Common Core or something?

You: No, the console was JUST RETURNED. I received it less than 4 days ago.
You: I cannot use it because the controllers do not work
You: I need the controllers replaced, not the console.

Okay. There. Can’t get much clearer than that. We should be all set now.

Jose: Correct, I am creating a service case to send your console back to verify your console, and also your controllers, which means I will create three different cases, one moment please.

dumbfounded

Jose: May I know the color of both controllers?
You: Black
You: Why do you need the console?
You: Other agents said that these are two separate entities.
You: The PS4 boots up fine
You: It’s waiting for input from the controllers
You: but they don’t work
Jose: Okay, so you do not want to send your PS4 for service, just both controllers ?

Wait, now that you mention it, let me think for a moment. Okay, got my answer. YES!!!

You: yes
Jose: No problem, one moment please, I appreciate your patience.
You: Thank you.
Jose: Thanks for waiting, sorry for the long delay.
Jose: It appears that your DS4 Controllers are still in warranty. You may send it in to be reviewed. The turn around time will be 7 to 10 working days from the time we receive the item.

DS4? Fine. Whatever.

The service center reserves the right to repair, exchange with a factory certified replacement, or return your item to you according to their diagnosis.
Jose: For your convenience, we have included all of the shipping information in the email we send you, Keep in mind that you will need to send us the controller, paying for the shipping taxes of that delivery.

Actually, what Jose means is that I’ll have to pay for shipping, not just the shipping taxes. And it gets better…

You: I just saw that.
Jose: This are your case numbesr: 0XXXXXX8 and 0XXXXXX9. Please remember to attach them in each shipping box that you will send to us, also please include the receipt of your console.
Jose: Due to this is a requirement from our service center in order to repair or exchange your controller, If you are not able to include the receipt, I can not guarantee that the controller will be repaired or exchanged.
Jose: Remember, each controller by separated, in different shipping boxes, with a case number in each one.
You: So there is an RMA for each individual controller, yes?
You: our messages just crossed.
Jose: Correct, remember that we do not send shipping box for peripherals.
You: Why does there need to be two different boxes?
Jose: Because each peripheral has a different service case number.
Jose: That is the reason why I provided you two service case numbers.

Is it just me, or is that a circular argument? 

You: I see.
Jose: Correct, remember that service turn-around-time can take up to 7 – 10 business days after we receive the unit at the facility.
Jose: And that is it.
Jose: Besides that, Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
You: No, thank you.
Jose: You are welcome, we really appreciate your preference for our PlayStation products and services. It was a pleasure to assist you with your request today. Thank you for contacting PlayStation Chat Support, have a nice day.

Look, I know customers can be a huge PITA. I try very hard not to let my “inside voice” come out, and as you can see I thought I did a very good job of it.

But I gotta be honest, this is probably going to be the last Sony product I ever buy – not just for this event but because it is indicative of several other Sony interactions I’ve had in the past five years or so.

We’ll see if the saga continues, or if I can finally get a system that freakin’ works out of this.

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3 Comments

  • Pavel Glushkov September 8, 2015 at 10:40

    DS4 = DualShock 4. That’s the name of PS4 controller.
    Bad luck with your PS. I`ve been using mine for 10 months, no problems so far. Controllers last for a few hours, not 45 minutes for sure.

    Reply
    • J Michel Metz September 8, 2015 at 11:02

      Ah, that makes more sense now. 🙂

      Reply
  • grthinker September 8, 2015 at 17:26

    Man, J, you have to have spent a lot of time writing this post! I sure spent some just reading it. The story seems to mirror the one I’ve been having with Uber…a good home town company?
    LOL
    Dad

    Reply

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