When the Service Technician is dumber than you...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joseph Young, Feb 5, 2002.

  1. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Forgive my ranting but I'm curious as to whether anyone else has experienced this level of incompetence when getting service done on their television (be it projection, flat screen, etc).

    I have two problems: geometry and the infamous 'uneven brightness at low light' issue. I made my appointment to get the problem dealt with over a month ago and made it abundantly clear that Sony has acknowledged the problem with some of the WEGA models. I have a 32FV27, which is technically a newer model, but unfortunately it experienced many of the same problems that plagued earlier models.

    The service guy came in today and after doing a very quick sweep of the VPOS VSIZ and various PC adjustments at the corners, told me all the problems were solved.

    Uh... I pointed out the very clear dark streak down the left hand side of the screen, 3 inches in width and more noticeable under low light conditions but certainly not invisible in other conditions. He strained and strained and could not see a problem... then he tried to blame it on my DVD player, then tried to blame it on my reciever, and then went back to his original position that my television was normal. It was especially maddening, because I went out of my way to ensure that the brightness issue was officially recognized by whoever came out; this guy had never heard of it before.

    I also have some VLIN issues, as far as static scrolling images "undulating" as they scroll from top to bottom. He had absolutely not idea how to solve this problem, in fact he had no idea what I was talking about. I was hoping he would have a set of reference numbers, to do some basic recalibration, but he claimed it wasn't his job to do such work.

    It is so maddening to find oneself explaining the basic Sony on-screen menu to someone who is being paid to fix the television. In fact, it's infuriating to discover that, based on my experience today, there is very little knowledge and in-depth troubleshooting training. I am covered under a parts and service warranty so I'd like to at least get my money's worth. These servicepeople are trained to only recognize certain 'obvious' problems and to ignore everything else.

    Does anyone have a similar story, or better yet, some kind of solution to this dilemma?

    Thanks for listening to the ranting,

    Joseph
     
  2. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    I'd like to add the perspective of a tech and business owner. Officially there are no "service bulletins" on these problems on this model. There may be some feedback on how to compensate for certain complaints on similar chassis designs but it's unofficial and "confidential information" and someone's best idea for resolving problems. Solving these (very real) problems requires extensive research and usually a lot of practice and time to perform the adjustments. Frankly, the manufacturers won't pay us to do that. You would not believe how little a service call pays. An ISF calibration could cost 10 times a warranty rate. Unfortunately economics dictate that in-home time is very limited and the best techs are in the shop fixing component failures not tweaking sets in the home.

    The problem is aggravated by the tendency of sales and marketing to sell products that engineers should have refused to build. Personally I think a 32 inch (and larger)flat screen TVs will be almost impossible to maintain in excellent picture form for long periods. Some of these sets have to be set up inside field generators that duplicate the geographic area the TV will be sold in.That's why the ISF techs get the big money.They do a lot of research,have a lot of equipment,spend a lot of time,put up with nit-picking and are compensated accordingly.

    I know this is not what anyone wants to hear but no business can give you 2 or 3 hours of work for an hour's reimbursement. The result is unhappy consumers , bankrupt servicers , and bad manufacturer's reputations. If the manufacturers don't change the way they pay us there is a very real possibility that you might have to pack up that 32 inch set and send it to Boston to get warranty repairs because none of the few remaining servicers will be willing or able to work for the peanuts they pay. (business owners rant)

    All of the above aside it seems that it will take the next chassis design to engineer out the common complaints and no amount of tweaking will make up for that. This is not that new chassis yet.
     
  3. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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    Steve,
    Thanks for the perspective. It's interesting to hear things from a more informed end. I suppose my problem was my relative ignorance about 'what exactly is covered under a parts and service warranty?' I was lied to by the salesperson who flat-out told me that full TV calibration was covered under the warranty. I was given a similar answer by those who set up my appointment. And then of course, coming face to face with the technician was a hard dose of reality.
    If I had known these guys only do minor tweaks, I would have done them myself.
    I guess what surprises me is that the main problem in question (the uneven brightness problem) has been acknowledged by Sony and yet most repair centers are unaware of it, or the problem is flat-out not covered under a basic warranty. It strikes me as highway robbery.
    I have come a long way in tweaking my television to my specifications (and I just received Avia and will be doing a full calibration this week hopefully). But it's a shame that I, as the customer, feel more informed than those who are supposed to be fixing these problems.
    Thanks again for the input,
    Joseph
     
  4. Steve Berger

    Steve Berger Supporting Actor

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    No , you have every right to expect these sorts of problems to be covered by warranty . It is the responsibility of the company to arrange (contract if you will) for the work to be done.Unfortunately they , and most others , have neglected to recognise the realities of the cost of doing business and pay far too little for the work required. Since 2 of the remaining 4 factory service centers are in California (over 20 have been closed in the last year) you might convince Sony ( possibly through consumer relations ) to send someone from the factory to look at your set. You could even try to get consumer relations to foot part of the bill for an outside calibration. I know my wife would have tried for it.
     

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