Feb 16, 2018

Sony Xperia Warranty

Just in two months I got two experiences sending two faulty Xperias to service center. The first one (XA) is still under warranty, just left few days before it is expired, while the second one (Z1C) has been working for about 3 years hence no more warranty. Brought both smartphones to official service center at 313 Sommerset (Orchard) Singapore.

  1. XA
    It was detected as touch screen failure. The staff was friendly and handled my case professionally. Since it is still under warranty there was no service charge imposed. One week later, they called for collection. Phone is back with superb condition. Not only LCD screen was replaced, they also replaced the battery and the back cover for free. What a lasting customer service experience :-)
  2. Z1C
    Based on above satisfied experience, I brought the second phone. At this time the phone was not able to restart, after few weeks it suffered sudden shutdown frequently when the battery meter still indicates near 50% level. The receptionist lady mentioned that I need to bear $25++ for service charge since no warranty. First observation that battery need to replace, it was pretty obvious symptom and the Lithium battery bloated as well (bend the back cover up slightly). She was also checking with warehouse (or in-house repair department) that they have the spare parts required (well ... original battery costs $120 or $130, can not remember exactly). The service center would call before the actual service started, to give estimated repair cost plus replaced parts. I was agree and signed up for the service. Later in a week, a man called and informed me that there was no spare part available for my phone and Sony offered a new (refurbished) phone instead ... Z3C for a "special" price of $435. What a joke ! A refurbished phone that was released 2 years ago still cost that much. 
On the second occasion, I was really upset. The same lady receptionist explained the same story. I reiterated why they had accepted the phone for service and I wasted $25++ and two weeks time for that. It seems they did not do anything with that phone, maybe simply turned on the power and realized the battery issue, but they did not have new battery. I came to collect the phone, heard few excuses and apologizes, and no solution at all.

Three weeks had passed by
That time we had decided to buy new phone and keep the Z1C with us to try our luck, maybe bring it to Jakarta for service. It must be cheaper and "more" professional there. I browsed all compact Android  smartphones (5" or smaller) and found out two canddates : Xperia X Compact or Galaxy A5 (2017). Both have decent models and have price within our budget (less than $400). XC is smaller and lighter, stock is available, but the OS is quite old (6.0.1, Marshmallow) compared to A5. On another hand, A5 is nowhere available in this tiny island except I saw it on Lazada for 1 - 2 units available..

The last statement above I could make after doing 2-days browsing during lunch time around Little India popular hand phone corners.  Shops do not carry this model anymore though it is quite new (early last year release). Most popular stocks for cheaper Samsung C or J models, and of course China brand phones like Redmi, Huawei, or any never-heard-brand for sub-$200 tag.

At this near-despair situation, we had an idea to bring the Z1C for repair in this area. I found many shops put easy-to-spot on sign that they carry service and repair for smartphone, even they offer on-the-spot service :-) No harm to try though at first attempt at official Xperia counter I already lost $25 for nothing. The idea to bring Z1C for service in Jakarta also with background that we may able to fix it for below Rp. 500k. We love this compact size phone and it has nothing wrong except its battery after 3-year operation. First shop I went in at Serangoon Rd not able to service since it, since  they do not have the spare part. Second shop at 30 Race Course Lane I tried, now with bolder repair sign, JK Repair Pte Ltd. Two men in the shop, one Indian standing in the middle of the shop seems he is the shop manager, and one China man sitting behind the service table with soldering iron, seems he is the expert. Later I know his name is Xiao Pei (XP).

After checking the phone a while XP quoted me $45 to replace the phone battery, no bargain. I am not convinced if it is original Sony battery or not. Anyway the original Sony battery is made-in-China too with almost three times more expensive. XP convinced me that $45 is only paid when phone is back functioning to normal. I was agree. He started using a heat gun that used to emit hot air around the four sides of the casing. Remove all the sticky pads around the battery including the antenna. Afterwards he checked the bloated battery and replaced it with new stock. Restarted the phone and now the screen was light up showing the phone software repair needed. For that he quoted me another $10. Deal. Soon he connected the phone through USB cable to desktop PC for software repair. I waited for around 30 minutes for software download and another 20 - 30 minutes for phone started up after download.

Proplem: can't on :-)
Voila ... thanks to Allah, the phone screen was back to normal again. This Z1C was back to alive after two months dead. One lack thing this man didn't do is testing the call/sms/data of this phone. Maybe he thought his job was done and those kind of tests not relevant for battery issue. He didn't have SIM card for me to try. This shop is not selling SIM card too :-( Well, I took a trip to shop around for cheap SIM card and at the same time drew money from ATM (they only accept cash payment) and prayed Zuhur.  Yes the waiting was over, once I put the SIM card I could make call/sms again. Alhamdulillaah we can get back the phone for affordable price and yes it is just one hour service during "extended" lunch break at City Studio #01-01.

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