What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Service On Your PlayStation 4 (Part 1)

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This will be a three part article/series explaining my own personal experience with the PlayStation Consumer Services Team who is responsible for managing support & repair services for Sony PlayStations. Be sure to keep an eye on PS Nation for each article in the series!

Part 2: What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Service On Your PlayStation 4 (Part 2)
Part 3: What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Service On Your PlayStation 4 (Part 3)

Well, I suppose at some point everyone’s luck runs out; Bonnie & Clyde’s, Butch & Sundance and the ever heartbreaking 2007 New England Patriots. For me, it happened on one chilly evening in late October 2015. On this fateful day I was preparing my level 40 Hunter to grind out some more daily bounties in Destiny to earn that next sliver of light when all of a sudden, my TV faded to a black screen, my PlayStation 4 sputtered, shined a dim blue light on its power bar, clicked 3 times and gave up the ghost. Yes my friends, the launch day console I picked up at a midnight release had moved on to that great gaming castle in the sky.

I was heartbroken but at the same time somewhat curious.

I was heartbroken and at the same time somewhat curious. What had actually just happened here? I take extremely good care of this little guy. It’s never been dropped, it’s dusted regularly and has never shown any signs of having an issue before. What could have gone wrong?

I threw on my tech repair cape and went to work. I tried the usual suspects of powering it back on, unplugging it for a while, trying different HDMI cords, all ending in the same fruitless finale, a simple blue light bar that flashes for a few moments, 3 clicks, and sadness.

After this preliminary/rudimentary stuff was done I even went to far as to try some more in-depth brainstorming options. I had already upgraded the hard drive from the measly 500GB standard issue to a double whammy of 1TB SSHD. I unplugged everything and proceeded to reinstall the original PS4 drive. Well, at some point I got a little over zealous, over anxious, perhaps frustrated more than anything, and powered the console back on but had accidentally  left the HDMI cord unplugged. And low & behold, NO BLUE LIGHT, NO CLICK OF DEATH… WTF!

NO BLUE LIGHT, NO CLICK OF DEATH…

Gathering my senses, I plugged in the HDMI cable and boom, my PS4 was magically in safe mode. I then proceeded to follow the on-screen prompts to reinitialize the drive & update the firmware. All was good until it needed to reboot and that’s when the process started all over again. What was once a glimmer of hope (that’s not a Destiny reference) was just a faded memory. I again unplugged the HDMI cable and of course it boots up back into safe mode. Thinking it may just be an HDMI issue, I re-re-installed the 1TB drive and attempted to cold boot the device sans HDMI connection. And wouldn’t you know it… nothing changed, same blue light & 3 click boondoggle.

My PS4 had gotten the best of me. After researching similar issues and reading other anecdotal accounts, I’ve come to the conclusion that the internal power supply just went kaput. Any type of load on the system at boot-up draws too much from the power supply so it fails any internal voltage checks and shuts down to prevent any further damage or harm to other components. I’ve deduced that this draw can include the HDMI connection and any drive that needs more power than the standard 500GB drive. So what were my options at this point?

…did I really want to chance performing the repair myself?

I tend to favor myself as fairly well versed in technical know-how, but did I really want to chance performing the repair myself? A quick search pulled up the necessary component I needed. I had to replace the PS4 power supply with a refurbished one. For $70 USD plus some nominal shipping charges I could have a refurbed unit arrive in days and swap it out myself. But reviews & other input from souls already having gone down that path didn’t give me the warm fuzzies that those refurbs provided any value or reliability.

So I sucked-up my pride and contacted Sony Services to begin my journey into what I’ve heard has been a living nightmare for some, equivalent to tooth extraction without novocaine for others, and worse than someone kicking your dog. But I proceeded with an open mind and hoped for the best. Here is where my story really begins…

I started out at the official site for Sony PlayStation Service and Repair. This link here will take you to the US site I personally used.

MainServiceSite

Being new to the process, I wanted to understand a little more of what I was getting into, both for the service itself, and what to do about my hard drive. I clicked the link to chat with a representative and you can see below my conversation with the Customer Service Rep. In summary, I think they only have canned responses and can’t say one way or another exactly what may happen once the unit is sent in. I find that reasonable in one sense but I felt as if Sony could at least have some additional handling options for service. Especially when it comes to an aftermarket hard drive being present in the unit.

I can’t help but think, what if this was a limited edition console? Would I even get that back or just a standard black one?

Traisha (10/18/2015, 4:51:05 PM): Hello, My name is Traisha how may I assist you today?
Me (10/18/2015, 4:51:25 PM): Hi there. I have some questions about sending in my PlayStation 4 for repair
Traisha (10/18/2015, 4:52:09 PM): I’d be happy to look into this for you today.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 4:52:13 PM): Although you have entered information about a SEN account before this chat, could you please provide the following to confirm the *exact* account you need assistance with?
– First and Last Name on account
– Sign-In ID (email address)
– Online ID
Me (10/18/2015, 4:52:36 PM): Sure it is Benjamin Palmer, xxxxxxxxx.com, xxxxxxx
Traisha (10/18/2015, 4:52:49 PM): Thank you. One moment while I access your account.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 4:56:25 PM): What are your questions about service?
Me (10/18/2015, 4:57:40 PM): So I was just playing online and the console shut off unexpectedly. I’ve tried several suggestions from the Support site but nothing has worked. So my only option is to send it in for repair. I have upgraded the hard drive on this console to a 1TB hard drive. Will I get that same hard drive back?
Me (10/18/2015, 4:58:05 PM): And will I lose any information that is on it now?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:01:25 PM): When you service a console depending on how severe the problem is you may get another console or they will just repair your old one.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:01:49 PM): So what do I do about my hard drive?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:02:04 PM): When you service the console it will come back to you like brand new.You can save all your data and game data to the cloud since you have ps plus.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:02:55 PM): Yes I know this but a new PS4 console comes with a smaller hard drive, a 500GB drive, not the 1TB drive I installed using the upgrade instructions on the support site.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:03:24 PM): Also should I deactivate this console in my account as my primary PS4?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:04:49 PM): You will have to take the 1TB drive out and put the original one back in.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:05:14 PM): What if I do not have the original drive? What do I do then?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:05:17 PM): You can deactivate your console its up to you if you want.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:05:38 PM): Theirs no guarantee that hard drive will be still in your system when its returned back to you.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:05:46 PM): If I don’t deactivate it and I get a brand new console what happens to the old console in my account?
Me (10/18/2015, 5:06:01 PM): Can I send it back without the hard drive at all?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:06:08 PM): You can still deactivate all game content on your account if you are able to.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:06:27 PM): No the hard drive has to be included in the service request.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:07:02 PM): But like you said there’s no guarantee I will get it back.That doesn’t seem right to me.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:07:42 PM): So if you brought your car in for repairs but you replaced the radio, when you get your car back, you might not have the radio you put in it? Does that seem right to you?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:08:08 PM): We don’t recommend replacing the hard drive even though you can.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:08:49 PM): But you do recommend it, Sony puts the instructions right on the Support site and the @AskPlayStation Twitter account actually sends messages about upgrading your hard drive.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:09:17 PM): If it is not recommended, why does Sony promote it to customers & allow them to do it?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:11:11 PM): Its an option you can do.But when you have to service your console at any time you will have to have our original hard disc drive in the console.If not their is no guarantee that when you get your console back you will have the new hard disc dive in that you replaced for the original.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:11:35 PM): Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
Me (10/18/2015, 5:12:15 PM): Ok. But should I deactivate this console? If it cannot be guaranteed that I won’t get this same console back, shouldn’t I deactivate it from my account?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:13:09 PM): If you have never deactivated game content on your account your fine.If you have it depends on when you did deactivate it because you can only deactivate every 6 months to the date of when you last deactivated last.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:13:38 PM): I have never deactivated anything on my account that I am aware of.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:14:08 PM): In that case you would be fine but you can deactivate all the game content on your account if you would like.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:14:54 PM): I do have another PS4 console that is still in the box. If I deactivate this one I am sending in for repair, can I activate that one as my primary PS4?
Me (10/18/2015, 5:15:30 PM): And can I just take out the hard drive from that console when I send in this console, that way, the console being sent in for repair has a 500GB hard drive in it and I still have my 1TB drive.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:15:54 PM): You can only have one playstation as your primary.You would have to deactivate the one that needs to be serviced as primary in order to do that.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:17:56 PM): What about swapping the hard drive with the other console?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:18:08 PM): I don’t recommend that.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:18:14 PM): Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
Me (10/18/2015, 5:18:49 PM): But why not, that is an original PlayStation 4 hard drive. If I put that in with the PS4 to get repaired, isn’t that still shipping the console with an original drive?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:19:19 PM): That’s just my recommendation.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:20:03 PM): Ok but as long as I ship the PS4 with an original drive in for repair then it will get repaired and I do not need to worry about not getting my 1TB drive back, correct?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:20:14 PM): Correct.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:20:50 PM): Excellent. Looks like I will be completing the support form. Do I have the option of how I want to pay for the service charge?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:22:11 PM): You will have to contact our phone support to make a payment for service.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:22:15 PM): Phone support is available at 1-800-345-7669 and our hours of operation are:
8:00AM to 8:00PM Pacific Time, Monday-Friday
7:00AM to 6:00PM Saturday
Closed on Sunday
Me (10/18/2015, 5:22:57 PM): Ok, the online site is is asking me to “Authorize Fee” so I can proceed with the repair service.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:23:12 PM): I see.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:23:47 PM): We don’t do service requests over the weekend.You can authorize the payment and see if it works.But i would contact us tomorrow to make sure everything went through.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:24:25 PM): Ok, but where am I authorizing that payment to?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:24:41 PM): The payment is going to us for the service.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:25:28 PM): Yes I understand that, but how will I be billed?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:25:44 PM): Through the card you have them authorized.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:26:13 PM): Ok, I assume that is the payment type I have assigned to my account already then?
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:26:32 PM): If that’s the card you used , then yes.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:26:55 PM): Ok. Thank you. I think that is all the questions I have today.
Me (10/18/2015, 5:27:00 PM): Thank you for your help.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:27:11 PM): Your welcome.
Traisha (10/18/2015, 5:27:15 PM): Thanks for chatting today! Be on the lookout for an email with a link to a Satisfaction Survey. We value your opinion, and would appreciate if you took the time to reply. Have a great rest of your day!

After my conversation with the CSR, I proceeded to fill out the simple wizard driven steps of providing Sony with the details about my console and the issue I was experiencing. This was all pretty painless and straightforward and in the end I was given a summary of my request and what it would cost me.

RepairProcess

Now at first I did have some sticker shock. But then, thinking it through, this didn’t seem all that bad in my opinion. It certainly is not cheap, but for the price to include the cost of shipping a full console to & from Sony as well as whatever parts would be necessary for repair I felt it wasn’t exactly highway robbery, recall a refurbed power supply would have cost me almost half of this and all without any warranty. Still, this is a tough pill to swallow seeing how the console is almost 2 years old and has to be sent in for repair. I pulled out the good ole debit card and provided Sony just a little more of my soul.

Now at first I did have some sticker shock.

Once the process was complete, I was presented this nice summary screen with a service ticket number to help track the progress & status of my repair. This all seemed to be very surreal at first since I really didn’t run into any snags or hitches throughout the service submission. After all the headaches of troubleshooting this was a welcome change.

RepairTicket

So as of Sunday night, October 18, this is where I ended. I had contacted Sony for service & repair on my PS4, had received some additional details about the process from chatting with support, had submitted my information and processed my payment all in hopes of resuscitating  my life-partner in gaming.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the ongoing saga with the PlayStation 4 repair process. Does Ben get his PS4 repaired? Does Sony royally screw up? Does Glenn really like BBQ that much? All this and more in the next installment in the series. Same PS Nation time, same PS Nation channel!

Anyone looking for follow-up discussions or seeking additional information or details, please visit our forums & this thread – PlayStation Service and Repair Q&A and I’d be happy to respond to your questions.

Written by Ben Palmer

Ben Palmer

An avid video game enthusiast who loves collector’s editions, retro gaming & the history of this great hobby.

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  • Soul Inside

    It’s not “an original hard drive,” it’s “THE original hard drive.” As in, the exact HDD that came with the PS4 when you bought it. You said you still had it when attempting to self-repair, so why not just put it back in before sending it off to Sony instead of making all that fuss over nothing?

    • cnpalmer

      At the start I wanted to know what Sony would say if there wasn’t the possibility of having THE original hard drive present. Some people repurpose the original drive once it was replaced so that could create a bigger problem for them. Then I wanted to see if they would provide any kind of special arrangements at all. I was playing more of a devil’s advocate role and really not trying to make a fuss.

  • kalil

    *slow cliched clapping in the silence*
    man i had to pause the walking dead because this article was so good
    in all seriousness this was a very interesting and informative article, im thinking of installing a 2 terabyte hard drive soon and after reading this ive got to say thank you for the info, because i was probably gonna scrap my original one

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