Pleasantly surprised by Sony

A few weeks back I went on a white-water rafting trip, taking with my Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-TX10.  It worked pretty well the whole trip, but at the end of the day I discovered that there was a crack in the case, with a small chunk missing.  Well shit.  I’d babied it the whole day, being leery about taking it begin with, so I was surprised.  And annoyed.  It’s not claimed to be indestructible, but it is intended – and marketed – as being reasonably rough and ready.  Something caused the case to crack, but I don’t believe it was anything it shouldn’t have been able to handle.

Anyway… I tried taking it back into Fry’s, where I had bought it along with, in a brief moment of horrible judgement, the in-store “warranty”.  Of course, they wanted nothing to do with it, or me, and were barely polite about saying so.  Fat lot of good they are.  Scratch them of my list for any future purchases.

So I sent it off to Sony.  Their process is that you fill in a web form, print out the result, stash it in the package and mail it to them.  They then decide whether the fix is covered by the warranty or not, and if not give you a call or somesuch to get your credit card details.

I expected that’s what would happen.  I was just beginning to wonder what had happened to my camera, some weeks later, when I got an email say it had shipped, on its way back to me.  Eh?  What?  Did they not fix it at all?

And today it arrives, and it is in fact fixed.  No problems (other than being factory reset, so now I have to reconfigure all the settings, grrr).  Now granted the plastic frame no doubt costs an entire $2 to replace, on what’s not really a cheap camera, so I shouldn’t feel particularly impressed.  But I am.  I fully expected them to throw some “we don’t cover accidental damage” bullshit in my face – much like Frys did.  And what the hell does that mean, anyway?  That they’ll only fix damage I do to it deliberately?

But they didn’t.  The fixed it, without accusations.

So colour me grateful.  I’ve been quite happy with it, and I’m glad it’s back and once again waterproof, so I can get back to enjoying it.

Bonus:  rather than shipping it directly, I was able to drop it in at a Sony store not too far away, which saved me having to pay for shipping (or insurance, or any of the general shadiness that surrounds that whole process).

Update:  Some time later, about a month or two after the warranty expired, it cracked again in the exact same place, while simply in my pocket one day.  It seems apparent now that this line of compact Sony cameras (including the DSC-TX20 and DSC-TX30, at least – all have very similar cases) has a structural integrity problem.  They wanted to charge me $210 just to look at it, let alone actually fix it – that might be extra; they “couldn’t” tell me up front.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Completely nullifies their excellent product support for in-warranty items.  I cannot in good conscience recommend this line of cameras.

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