AlanaF

Interview with serfbufo

Nov 23rd, 2015
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  1. Hi serfbufo,
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  3. I appreciate your time for the interview and the quick response.
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  5. As far as the interview goes, it'll mostly be put up in full. The only things taken out will be things like this explanation, or I'll fix up a spelling mistake or two. Nothing that will alter what you say in any way. If you'd like, I'll put up the entire e-mail communication up on pastebin and a link to it in the article.
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  8. You can choose to remain under the anonymous nature of serfbufo, or we can use your full name. It is up to you to choose what we disclose.
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  11. With all that in mind, if there is anything you don't feel comfortable asking, let me know and we will move onto the next question. (Unfortunately with that if I do put the full thing up on pastebin I will have to include that)
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  13. And please, feel free to answer with as much detail as possible. This process you've been going through, its absolutely bananas.
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  15. Now onto the questions!
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  17. In your original post you mention how long you have been dealing with Sony for about 3 months now. You clearly enjoy the companies products and it is someone you choose to support, as you own a PlayStation system and a PlayStation Vita. What is it like to be fighting, in a way, with a company that you enjoy supporting?
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  20. If you've had to deal with other customer services before for a bad product or a necessary refund, how does your experience with Sony compare to the other companies?
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  23. Do you think that Sony's customer service is a reflection as to where the gaming industry is headed in the AAA sector? Is bad customer service something that you think we are going to see often?
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  25. I think this is a good place to start for questions, I'll be sure to follow up with some more if you don't mind.
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  28. Cheers,
  29. Alana Fearnall
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  34. Hi Alana.
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  38. I would prefer to remain known as serfbufo (and would prefer that, when you put our email correspondence on pastebin, that you withhold my email address). Also, keep in mind that as I answer these questions, I'm not a subject matter expert of any sort—I'm just an arbitrary guy who ended up in a specific circumstance!
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  41. >In your original post you mention how long you have been dealing with Sony for about 3 months now. You clearly enjoy the companies products and it is someone you choose to support, as you own a PlayStation system and a PlayStation Vita. What is it like to be fighting, in a way, with a company that you enjoy supporting?
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  44. I actually do not own a PlayStation system (assuming that refers to PS/PS2/PS3/PS4)—the PlayStation Vita is my first and only PlayStation-brand console. When I purchase products from a company, I generally do not think about "supporting" them unless they are a small company that I feel "needs" the support. That is to say, when I bought my Vita and the games for it, I viewed it as an exchange of a specific amount of money for certain pieces of merchandise with no ethical consideration. I think "Will I derive at least $200 worth of enjoyment from this Vita?", not "Do I want to give $200 to Sony?".
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  47. As a result, prior to this incident, my view of Sony as a company could be considered neutral, and as my fight with them wore on, it veered deeper and deeper into the negatives. If there is a gaming company that I have a positive opinion of and would feel uncomfortable fighting, it would be Nintendo, whose products and software have had a much bigger impact on my life, and has consistently displayed good service and a philosophy that I agree with. After my experience with Sony, I will probably continue buying Nintendo products, and I'll be less likely to buy Sony products, especially from the PSN Store.
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  50. >If you've had to deal with other customer services before for a bad product or a necessary refund, how does your experience with Sony compare to the other companies?
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  53. I haven't had to request refunds very much in my life—I usually either just live with a bad product, figuring it's not worth the hassle, or do adequate research before my purchase so that it isn't an issue. I'm not one of those people who complains about service any time something isn't perfect. I only made an exception for this case because it involved something I hadn't purchased at all.
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  56. The only incident I can recall came when a bunch of friends and I bought two 5-pound bags of Sour Patch Kids from Amazon. When the Sour Patch Kids arrived, they came in the form of two 5-pound bags inside one bigger bag, and my friends and I mistakenly thought we had only received one 5-pound bag. We called Amazon and they immediately agreed to ship us another two bags, free of charge. We felt terribly guilty after weighing the original bag and finding that it weighed 10 pounds. Compared to Sony, Amazon's service was amazing, probably even too good.
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  59. (We got so sick of Sour Patch Kids, so fast.)
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  62. >Do you think that Sony's customer service is a reflection as to where the gaming industry is headed in the AAA sector? Is bad customer service something that you think we are going to see often?
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  65. Sony, as a company, has an obligation to its shareholders to maximize profit. That's how our society is set up, and unless we want to reform our financial institutions or introduce new consumer-rights regulations and enforcement (both admirable but daunting endeavors), that's not going to change. I don't think Sony is evil for providing poor customer service (though some of the questionably legal behavior might be) if they think that's what will make them the most money, but I expect them to at least match the standards set by consumer rights law and the appropriate regulatory bodies.
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  68. However, it is partly our responsibility as consumers to incentivize companies to act the way we want, which includes providing good customer service. This was one of the main reasons I made the post on reddit—creating a connection between bad customer service and negative media attention (which presumably has a negative effect on sales) is key to incentizing Sony to improve their customer service. If enough people decide not to buy PlayStation products because of fears of receiving bad service, and Sony is aware of this fact, it may be what it takes for them to improve that service.
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  71. As for the last part of the question, I have no idea. Probably? I don't know enough to answer with any conviction.
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  74. - serfbufo
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