An insight into how faulty PS3s are dealt with

The incident

At the weekend I was playing LittleBigPlanet but after I had completed a particular level, instead of the next one loading up the screen went totally white and the system seemed to freeze.  The PS3 then restarted and spat out the disc.  I’d had enough gaming for one night anyway, so I turned the system off and went away.

I came back to the PS3 the following day only to find that none of my PS3 disks would load.  It was the same with DVDs and CDs.  I have to admit, I then panicked.  But it was weird because apart from that, the rest of the PS3 worked totally fine.  I could play games that were on the hard disk, connect to the PlayStation Network, and browse the PlayStation Store.  But what use is a PS3 that won’t load game disks?

The problem

I had a look online to see what the problem might have been and whilst PS3 failure rates are very low, if anything is to go wrong, it’s more than likely to be the PS3’s disc drive due to its Blu-Ray capabilities.  Bear in mind that I’m not talking total system failure here, like the Xbox 360’s ‘red ring of death’ but the damage is sufficient enough to render the system unusable for general use as a games console.

With my PS3’s disc drive broken a few days before Christmas, a solution was needed fast.  Dealing with Sony directly might have taken too long and would have been too costly as the PS3 was a couple of weeks out of its one-year warranty.  In comes the three-year extended warranty to save the day.

The solution

I took the PS3, all boxed-up to Currys, explained the situation at the customer service desk, and presented the warranty information.  Whilst I was expecting a repair or replacement, what actually happened took me by surprise.

The customer service representative called the Sony care line (the same line any customer would call) but told the operator her name and store code.  The Sony operator decided that as it was a disc drive problem, authorisation would be given to have the console replaced with another.

Now, Sony don’t manufacture any 40GB models any more, and the next one up was the 80GB model with (ironically) a free copy of LittleBigPlanet.  However this model cost more than the model bought last year and I’d have to pay the difference between the two models.  Another call to the Sony care line and not only was authorisation granted to make this swap, but the difference in price was waived!  All that needed to be paid was £22 to extend the warranty for another three years.

My recommendation

The original extended warranty cost £55, but with the console costing the best part of £300 it was money well-spent.  Without this extended warranty, I’d be without a replacement console, and would have to pay Sony to repair the disc drive.

It just goes to show; on many occasions I haven’t even bothered with any kind of extended warranty, especially if the cost of the warranty meets or exceeds the cost of the product itself!  Heck, even my PSP isn’t covered at all, and that cost me £179 back in the day.

It’s amazing how different you’re treated depending on whether or not you are covered by a warranty of any kind.  The laptop I got for Uni isn’t covered either (stupid me), and I’ve been quoted all sorts of stupid prices for fixing the fan and/or any problems with it.  But that’s another story.

And you

So my advice is that if you’re buying yourself or someone else a PS3 (or any other expensive electrical product for that matter), then get an extended warranty, as a year or two down the line, you might regret it and be left out of pocket.

PS3 gamers- if your PS3 has failed (hardware failure, for example) within its standard one-year warranty, then depending on the circumstances it might be worth dealing with where you bought your PS3.  If it’s something like a fixable software error message though, then Sony should be your first port of call.

I’ve admitted what I haven’t bothered covering, so have you got anything expensive that is out of its standard one-year warranty?  Also, have you had a piece of equipment fail on you?  I’d like to hear your experiences on these matters- particularly any fellow PS3 gamers.

If you’ve read this far then I hope that this article has been of some use to you and given an insight into how faulty PS3s are dealt with, highlighting the consequences of being covered by warranty and being without.

9 thoughts on “An insight into how faulty PS3s are dealt with”

  1. Obviously, what with being a 360 owner, I’ve had my fair share of similar problems :p The first time my 360 died I went directly through Microsoft, resulting in (what felt like) a significant wait for my console to return. The second time, because I suspected it would happen again, I kept my store receipt close by and was able to take it back to GameStation, have it swapped immediately, and also grab a free game because I took out the extended warranty. I’d recommend anyone to go through the shop they bought it in. Dealing with big corporations is a pain in the arse anyway. Merry Christmas Mr Havros!

  2. Hi ya,

    I brought a ps3 (40gb) in november of 2007. Three weeks after getting it i was playing call of duty 4 and the game locked up and the system refused to restart.

    When it did restart it wouldnt read any discs. Phoned sony and explained the problem and they sent a replacement. Anyway fast forward (boxing day) 12 months of problem free gaming and i was playing call of duty 5 and the same thing happened.

    PS3 wouldnt read any discs, was abit miffed off to say the least at yet another hardware failure!. Sony are sending me a replacement console tomorrow even thou it was out of warranty. I did have to have moan regarding yet another failure and that was when they said they would replace it.

    I did find that after doing a full format it did read discs for a shortwhile but then came up with the tell tale

    80010514 an error occured during the start operation

    Well done on the 5 year warranty, my replacement ps3 will have a 3month warranty which doesnt instill me with any faith at all!

    1. Hi Mark! Thanks for your reply- much appreciated and valued 🙂

      Yea, having an extended warranty was a stroke of luck as I thought I'd never need it! I still have both a fully-functioning original PlayStation and PS2. I think the rule of thumb for me in future anyway, is taking out an extended warranty for an item that I wouldn't be able to afford to replace, in comparison to a cheap toaster or kettle!

      That's a great result you got from Sony outside the warranty. Whilst they weren't legally obliged to do that for you, customer goodwill and loyalty means a lot to such companies, especially after that was the second PS3 that broke on you. Shame about the measly 3 month warranty though.

      A sobering thought is whether hardware failure will become the norm in future due to increasingly complicated technology? There's simply more that can go wrong. I admit that now on my second PS3, I don't view the console with the same amount of trust as before; I no longer expect it to always 'just work'.

      1. The replacement ps3 arrived today. I think there was definatly something wrong with the old one from day one.

        Ive been playing call of duty and the fan barely even switches on. With the old PS3 it was always blowing out loads of hot air. No doubt this helped finish off the blu ray drive.

        regarding the warranty, ive been looking into this playstation continous play. Abit expensive coming in at over £60 a year. Your warranty looks like a great deal compared to that!

  3. Yea, in general you barely hear a whisper come from a PS3. There's been a lot of people claiming that their PS3 fans are loud, but I suggest as you have mentioned, that there is something wrong if they're doing that: http://loshavros.co.uk/2008/04/13/ps3-fan-noise-c

    Whilst I totally agree that my warranty deal works out at better value for money than Continuous Play, I would argue that it's at least worth considering rather than dismissing it all together. Now, you may think I'm being mad here, but think about it this way: Sony's charges for an out of warranty repair can be as high as £150 (I suppose this reflects the expensive components that comprise the PS3), and they will want payment immediately.

    Whereas Continuous Play is half this amount for the year, and payment is deducted monthly, I recall (I previously had my PSP on this) and by having payment in bite-sized pieces, would be more manageable. Just some food for thought.

    All the best Mark!

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