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Sony and BBC clash over PS3 problems

by Parm Mann on 18 September 2009, 14:33

Tags: PlayStation 3, Sony (NYSE:SNE), PS3

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James Sherwood of The Register reports:

Sony has sent the BBC a stinging rebuttal after the broadcaster's Watchdog programme investigated an alleged PlayStation 3 problem dubbed The Yellow Light of Death.

Watchdog launched the investigation because, according to the BBC, over 150 PS3 owners had contacted the show after their Sony consoles broke down without warning.

All displayed the same fault indicator - a yellow flashing light, the BBC alleged.

“When that light shows, the box no longer works”, the BBC said in a statement on its Watchdog website. “It's become so feared by gamers that they've dubbed it The Yellow Light of Death”.

The BBC also alleged that, by Sony’s own admission, around 12,500 of the 2.5m PS3s sold in the UK since March 2007 have broken down in the same way.

But Sony has since staunchly denied the claims.

“Fewer than one half of one percent of [UK] units have been reported as failing in circumstances where the yellow indicator is illuminated”, the Japanese electronics giant said in its rebuttal to the BBC.

According to Sony, “the yellow light indicator is simply a non-specific fault indicator that can be triggered in a range of different circumstances”.

If this failure had occurred in the first 12 months after purchase, Sony would have replaced the console without charge - the BBC said.

But since the issue appears to affect consoles after 18-24 months of use, the BBC claimed that Sony said it isn't liable.

For £128 ($209/€142), Sony will swap your broken PS3 for a refurbished model. But the firm hasn’t announced any plans to extend the PS3’s warranty to cover “certain general hardware failures” – as Microsoft did back in 2007.

HEXUS Forums :: 56 Comments

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12,500 failures out of 2,500,000 sold is the same as ‘half of one percent’. Reading into the Sony quote they state the failure rate is ‘fewer than half of one percent’ but this implies it must be pretty close to this because otherwise they would word it differently. Therefore it seems like Sony's rebuttal is actually supporting the BBC's statistics.
“But since the issue appears to affect consoles after 18-24 months of use, the BBC claimed that Sony said it isn't liable.”

Of course they're liable - sure we're mostly all aware of the EU Sale of Goods act by now. If it fails through no fault of the user(s), they are fully liable and obliged to repair or replace at no cost. 18months to 2 years is well within what I'd call “reasonable time”.
Mine failed within 2 weeks, back to Game for a refund, Ill stick to my PCs from now on.
The worst part is Sony don't guarantee you'll get your hard drive content or game disc(if it fails with one in it) if you send it for repairs (applies to other consoles too), whilst these two guys they had on Watchdog did. Why can't an enormous company do that?
Nearly 3 years and still going strong here :)

Less than 1% you have to be pretty unlucky.