As mentioned in my previous post I contacted Sony asking about a simple memory upgrade voiding the warranty. Here’s what I said to them.
I purchased a Vaio VGN-NW23GE notebook from the Somerset Mall branch of Dion Wired today and asked that an additional 2GB of RAM be added to the standard 2GB. I was told that this could not be done for Sony Vaio machines without invalidating the warranty, and was given a name and number of someone at Rectron that would be able to arrange the upgrade for me. I thought this a little strange and on getting home and starting the machine I noted that the hardware manual contains a section explaining how to add and remove memory. As this procedure is explained in the user manual it seems unlikely that doing so would void the warranty. You may wish to look into the reason for your retailers having this seemingly incorrect information. I would be most interested to receive feedback on what you find out.
To their credit they replied with the following.
Thank you for contacting SONY South Africa. I am happy to assist you with the memory upgrade query. When upgrading any of VAIO electrical components it is highly advisable to send in the machine to the authorized service center, this ensures that the upgrade performed is according to the service guide precaution and standards.
The procedures described in the Adding and Removing of memory modules under the hardware user guide, assume familiarity with the general terminology associated with computers and with the safety practice and regulatory compliance requirements for using and modifying of electronic equipment. SONY does not
Your Sony customer care Team
Unfortunately the response has been truncated, probably by a web based contact system (I had submitted my question via a contact form on their web site). It seems that the act of upgrading the memory alone will not void the warranty but that Sony may refuse to honour the warranty if it is obvious that failure is due to incorrect memory being installed or that damage was caused by the person installing the memory. Dion Wired have probably chosen not to allow their staff to do any work on Sony products to prevent any warranty claim issues from arising as their in-store technical facilities are must not be Sony authorised service centres.
As I’m going to an air show on Saturday I ordered a larger memory card for my camera from an online retailer last week. It should have been delivered today but instead I received a phone call apologising for a supplier delay. As I will only receive the card next week I started looking around at local stores to buy a card before the show.
There’s a new Dion Wired store in Somerset Mall so I took a look at their web site and spotted a 4GB SanDisk Ultra II card for R399 and decided that’s what I would buy.
Knowing they close at 6pm I left work at five and stopped off at the mall. I was disappointed at first as there were only SanDisk Extreme III and Extreme IV cards on display; I wasn’t going to buy those as their extra speed is wasted in my camera and they are much more expensive. Luckily it turned out that there were some of the Ultra II cards under the counter. However they were marked at R419.95 and not the R399 I had been expecting. When I mentioned this to the person assisting me he said he would check, which involved him taking the card to a cashier and having her scan the barcode. When the scan confirmed the R419.95 price he simply said “That’s the price”. I thought that he might offer to give me the card at the price reflected on the web site, but no such offer was made. Even when I declined to buy the card at the inflated price he simply shrugged, as if to say “We don’t need your business anyway.”
I understand that mistakes can be made and web sites may get out of debt but in cases such as this I would at the very least expect to be offered the product at the lower, advertised price. Their failure to make such an offer smacks of false advertising, intended simply to get you into the store where you may be willing to capitulate and pay the higher price. I am not prepared to do so and would rather take my business to a smaller store where I may have to pay that little more but where I can expect good service and will know that I am not being cheated. I will certainly think twice before considering Dion Wired as a potential shopping venue in the future.