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Sony Support Sucks

Gods know, I was not planning on writing this article today. I had another one in mind. But Sony's tech support sent a long awaited reply and I was severely disappointed in it.

I have Xperia IV 1. I really do like this phone, I find it to be much better overall devices compared to Samsung S20 I had before. Like really, the only thing, that I think Samsung made better was how easier it is to make good photos with its auto-settings. And heat management: if you want to shoot 4K videos on IV 1 - be ready for the phone to get really hot and those videos be short (my personal best test result was around 20 minutes, but other users had cases, when it would overheat in less than 5 minutes).

But I am writing this not because of the overheating issue. Yes, it does frustrate me, but objectively I am not shooting 4K videos that often, and, even though I disapprove of the poor design choices that led to this, I know that heat management is not as easy as it may seem. Also, Sony did improve things a little bit with firmware. Not by much, and it's an inconsistent improvement, but still.

My issue, because of which I reached out to support was with accidental touch prevention feature. It's the one, that is supposed to prevent the phone to react to touches when in your tight jeans' pocket. It often did not work that well in my pocket during summer (at least until I disabled double tap to wake), but that's something that I had with other phones, too.

With IV 1 I had this feature triggered early mornings... When alarm rings.

Like, I have alarm for 7am for every day to help me manage my sleep patterns. During the night my phone lies flat on my bedside table. Common thing right? And sometimes (not always, and I was not able to manually reproduce it either) when it starts to ring in the morning, instead of seeing Google Alarm's screen, where I swipe right to cancel the alarm, I saw "Accidental touch prevention prevented accidental touch" thingy, where I needed to press "Ok" to dismiss the alert, which turned off the screen, so that I needed to turn it on and only then - stop the alarm. Minor thing, but could be really annoying, right?

I do not see a reason to replace the stock alarm for myself, since my use case is very simplistic, if not "limited", so I decided to reach out to Sony support about it. I did that on November 24th, 2022. During the whole case there was a lot of waiting from my side, which I can understand, since Christmas, New Year and everything before/after/in-between. That's not my issue. The first reply with "factory reset" is not even an issue: somehow I already expect this ridiculous suggestion for almost any software-related issues I raise myself, because for whatever reason modern tech support thinks it's ok to suggest to nuke the whole system in order to fix some minor inconvenience. Even if the tech support is not from Russia. I also expected the "disable the feature" advise, which was extremely helpful for some abstract user in a vacuum.

My "beef" comes with today's suggestion to not only factory reset, but also log into the phone without Google account and without restoring any backups whatsoever. So it's like: "Remove everything from your phone, do not restore it, and maybe the issue will be fixed". It's not just nuking, it's literal scorched earth tactic. I would love to assume, that this was made with assumption that a user (that is me) has a secondary phone, that they can use instead. But let's be honest, even though this scenario is quite common, it does not mean that everyone has 2 or more phones or that they can easily replace the current one with some other device for their daily use.

Sony did not ask, whether I had a backup phone. They did not even indicate that this was their assumption. They just wanted me to do that, for the sake of maybe fixing the issue. Because, of course, it can't be an issue with Sony's software or maybe manufacturing flaw that somehow makes the sensor(s) trigger erroneously under certain conditions. It is, of course whatever applications that the user uses. Because logic does not apply, when you need to work on a fix of a potential bug.

But that's not all. The thing is, that quite early in the conversation, I did suggest a way to properly investigate the issue. Well, attempt, at least. Since the feature relies on sensory data - why not log it? I even found a few applications, that can do it. So I asked them: does the phone log the sensory data? If not, let's agree on some software, which does and logs from which your engineers can use. I will install it, enable logging before I go to sleep, and then once the issue reoccurs in the morning, I will send you the data. Please, let me know if my suggestion is somehow outrageous, but I think it's quite an easy thing to agree upon.

First reaction was: "Run the integrated sensor tests, when the issue occurs". 🤦‍♂️ To which I replied, that it does not make sense, because to run the tests I will need to dismiss the notification, and thus I will be testing the sensors after the issue, when they will be working normally. I will pass the tests, and no issues will be detected, and the new ticket (which they requested to create after running those tests) will be closed immediately, because Sony's engineers will see that everything is working totally fine.

And then there was several weeks of silence (maybe even a month) with only automated messages, that they have not forgotten about my case leading to the message I got today.

Sony did suggest me to book a repair service, but I already know that they will not be testing it for whatever issues, they will just replace it (or maybe even make it looks, as if it was, but do not really replace it), because it is cheaper. Even if they do - they may not get the issue at all. I mean, it can be caused by multiple factors: light (or lack of it), humidity in my apartment, amount of dust in the air or on my bedside table, maybe even the angle of that table (although I think it is quite flat). Which means, that the investigation would be pointless. Even though I already suggested to be part of the investigation using a logical approach.

As such Sony has lost a potential buyer of their future phones, and maybe even other stuff. Someone may say I am being too harsh, but for me tech support is important. I mean, I got into it due to my "unique" answer to a tech question during an interview: "Your Windows is going into reboot right after loading screen. What do you do?" There were several people taking the same interview (do not remember exactly, but possibly 10), and somehow I was the only one, who listed a number of things I would try first, like trying "Last Known Good Configuration" (it was in Windows XP era), trying safe mode, checking BIOS settings, checking power supply or other hardware. Everyone else started with "reinstall Windows" as the one and only option, while for me it was the last resort. As I said above, it's like nuking, it's like scorch earth. No reasonable person would want to do that.

This is just an example of bad support. You reach out to a company, when you need... Well, support, and then you get this "we do not really care what's happening for you, we will spend as little time and effort on you as possible" approach... It is quite disheartening. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more common. Because consumers seems to eat it up. They accept it for some reason, and continue to pay to those companies. Yes, in some cases, they may not have an alternative, but with mobile phones? There are lots of alternatives. So no more Sony for me.