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April 4, 2005, 8:31 am
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#1 -- Sonystyle offers free financing through HSBC but has a policy of
extending credit on precisely 90% of the total price of any given order without
notifying the customer of the discrepancy between purchase price and credit
limit. The resulting "over limit" status is potentially injurious to the
customer's credit score, because other lenders will assume that the consumer
frivolously overextended the account. If problems arise on a customer's
account, Sonystyle will point to the "overlimit" status as a sign of customer
malfeasance and wrongdoing. Sony's financial house, HSBC, may point to the
overlimit status as an excuse for demanding premature payment in full on the
#2 -- Sonystyle often claims to have items in stock even though the items (such
as popular printers) and some vaio configurations may be backordered for a
month or more. Their sales people humorously refer to such items as "funny
ghost" ware. The word "ghost" is used because the alleged presence of the
items on the shelves in Sony's warehouse is purely ephemeral. The term
"funny" is used because the "suckers" who buy from sonystyle.com actually
believe Sonystyle when Sonystyle claims the items are in stock.
#2A -- If you apply for a job at Sonystyle.com and are asked to submit to a
personality profile, be sure to check the box which says that you will always
tell the customer what he/she wants to hear, even if you know that your
statements are totally untrue. Sonystyle's managers refer to this practice of
misleading the customer as "positive thinking".
#3 -- Order cancellations are routinely ignored at Sonystyle. If you cancel
an order with Sonystyle for any reason, but especially if the order involves
"funny ghost" items, Sonystyle will ship the cancelled products to you anyway
(eventually), and hold you responsible for the purchase price of the products
and the shipping costs, even if the shipment date is 1 -2 months after the
order cancellation date. Sonystyle employees euphemistically refer to this
practice as "order preservation".
#4 -- Many tech-savvy consumers are familiar with the practice of the "virtual"
shipment, wherein a company claims to have shipped a product if/when it's
tagged as "shipped" in their computer, even though the item is still waiting to
be packed in the warehouse. Sonystyle has extended this "virtual" shipping
practice to include returned items as well If a Sonystyle customer refuses a
shipment from Sonystyle or returns an item for some reason, Sonystyle may
refuse to issue credit, even though the customer can prove receipt of the
returned item by Sonystyle, if Sonystyle's warehouse crew has failed to
appropriately acknowledge the return in Sonystyle's internal database. If the
customer complains that he has a federal express or ups tracking form proving
receipt at Sonystyle's warehouse, Sonystyle will advise him/her as follows:
"We don't go by UPS or Fedex records. We go by our own computer records."
#5 -- Read the fine print in your contract with Sonystyle. They can make
changes to your order and/or to the terms of your order, and these changes will
be immediately binding on you even though you may not approve the changes.
Some of the terms in the Sonystyle contract effectively limit the consumers'
right to sue, no matter how outrageous Sonystyle's performance may be -- either
individually with respect to a single customer or towards all customers as a
Final Comment. Here's another "private" joke that's popular among sales reps
at SonyStyle: "Our customer service may be horrible, but we make up for it by
being outrageously overpriced." :-) Pretty funny, unless you happen to be a
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