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

service-on-your-ps4-editorial-banner-p3

This is part three of 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.

Part 1: What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Service On Your PlayStation 4 (Part 1)
Part 2: What to Expect When You’re Expecting… Service On Your PlayStation 4 (Part 2)

When we last left our intrepid hero Ben, he had already sent his beloved PlayStation 4 into Sony for repair and was awaiting some sort of sign that everything was going to be ok… let’s pick up the story from there and see if there is a happy ending. Sony love you long time.

Shortly after sending in my PlayStation 4 to Sony, I used the tracking site to see what progress the repair service was making with my claim and how far along they were. However, after a couple of days, the tracking site could no longer locate my claim number.

This worried me a bit so I proceeded to contact Support through the online chat capability. I was assured that everything was fine and that it was being worked on and I should receive some kind of notice within the five to ten business day window.

My only option was to sit and wait

Sure enough, on November 4, I received an email that my system was on its way back to me! Hooray! I was giddy with excitement and anticipation to have my console back in my hands ready to play again. But I still had questions.

“What was fixed?’

“Will everything come back in one piece?”

My only option was to sit and wait.

RepairReturn

The full transcript of this email can be seen below.

Hello Benjamin,

Great news! Your system has been serviced and is on its way back to you.

We know you’re anxious to get back to gaming, so we’ve included your tracking information below so that you’ll know exactly when your system will arrive.

This usually takes approximately three (3) to five (5) business days.

If you need help setting up your new system, please visit our PlayStation Knowledge Center for helpful information on activating consoles, redownloading content, and much more.

We sincerely thank you for being a loyal PlayStation owner.

Tracking Information :

Ship Date: 11/4/2015
Service Request Case #: W-081xxxxx
Name: Benjamin Palmer
Address: xxx xxxxx xx., xxxxxx, xx

Tracking #: 6508373xxxxx

With regards,
The PlayStation Consumer Services Team

Privacy Policy
We value your privacy. Your personal information will not be shared with third parties. For more information, please read our Privacy Policy.

Do Not Reply To This Email
Please do not reply directly to this email. PlayStation Consumer Services will not receive a reply message.

Don’t Know The Sender?
You are receiving this email because you contacted Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA) for assistance with your PlayStation® system. This communication contains proprietary information and may be confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, the reading, copying, disclosure or other use of the contents of this email is strictly prohibited and you are instructed to please delete this email immediately. If you believe you have received this email in error, please contact SCEA Consumer Services Department.

© Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC “PlayStation” and “PS” Family logo are registered trademarks of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.

Right on the standard three day schedule, my system arrived on Friday, November 6. The first thing I noticed was that they used the same box I had sent them. This is probably to keep costs down. Re-using the shipment boxes for each customer/claim makes sense.

It did hold up fairly well for making two round trips from the East Coast to Indiana. Upon opening the box I could see they also reused all of the same packing materials from the foam supports to the faux fabric cloth. Nice to see Sony being so environmentally conscious.

SAM_0301

Once opened, I noticed that they had also wrapped my hard drive up in a separate bubble wrap labeled “BAD”. I’m assuming this meant the HDD was the source of my issues but if you recall my troubleshooting from Part 1, I did in fact try another hard drive and it worked as long as my HDMI cable was not connected on boot-up.

SAM_0300

I verified that this was my original console by checking and validating the serial number on the bottom with that of my claim and the original box.

I was concerned about this for two reasons. First, that I did ship them my 1TB aftermarket hard drive. Second, that I had not deactivated the console as my Primary PS4 because I could not get into the UI to do so. You can only deactivate a PlayStation 4 console from within the system menu on the console itself. More on this point a little later.

… a nice value-added touch

Another thing I noticed was that they also replaced the HDD cover of my console. That shiny black part that usually gets fingerprints all over it had been switched.

I had read horror stories online about people receiving their consoles back with abhorrent scratches all over it from the service team. So much so that they opened a second claim with Support to have it replaced.

This cover still had the protective film on it but was also much harder to remove when reinstalling the original hard drive. Nonetheless, I felt this was a nice value-added touch. Perhaps this may have become standard operating procedure because of so many customer complaints.

I also received a letter explaining the repair and the 90-day limited warranty on the console. This provided some peace of mind knowing that if the repair was unsuccessful, I still had additional recourse.

SAM_0297

Once I had the original 500GB hard drive reinstalled, I proceeded to hook up all the connections, including HDMI this time and see what it presented me. The first boot put me into Safe Mode where I needed to then reinstall the full firmware from a USB drive.

Once that was complete, I was booted into the customary launch setup where I was asked to setup the date & time, login credentials etc. Everything proceeded smoothly and I was back in business in no time.

Or so I thought.

… another console was activated as my primary …

This was the same console I had sent in and received back as verified by the serial numbers. So when I went into the system settings to verify that this was set as my Primary PS4, to my surprise, it was not activated as such nor could I activate it as my primary PS4. This was certainly odd.

I tried a number of things to see if I just wasn’t doing it correctly but alas, I was constantly belittled by the message that another console was activated as my primary and that I needed to deactivate that one before I could proceed.

Determined to figure out what was wrong, I reached out again to Support through online chat to see if they had any crystal ball they could peer into and tell me what I was up against.

I was connected rather quickly. I presented my case and referenced my claim ticket to see if that would help. The CSR (Customer Service Representative) could see the issue I was having but also relayed some important information.

It seemed as if, even though I had the same serial number, somehow the internal console ID had been changed! The only thing that could have done this would have been a swap of the main board. Having this information lead me to believe that there was a larger issue than just a faulty hard drive. The repair also replaced additional internal components.

The CSR politely confirmed what I had already researched on my own. The old console ID reference needed to be deactivated so this console ID reference could be activated as my primary.

The lesson here is – be sure to deactivate your console, if you can, before sending it for repair…

Now… think back to earlier when I said you can only deactivate the console from within the UI. Apparently this is only partially correct. It is true that you can only deactivate a SINGLE console from within the UI on that same console but you can deactivate ALL your consoles from your Sony account online at the same time.

This scenario provides a method where, in my case, I could not deactivate it from the console. However, the caveat here, and this is VERY important: You are only allowed to perform this action ONCE every SIX MONTHS.

The lesson here is this: Be sure to deactivate your console before sending it for repair or selling it to another party or trading it in to a local game shop.

However, the CSR also offered to create a ticket and send this to their back office team for resolution. It seems that even though a customer cannot deactivate a single device from online, Sony’s second level support team does have that capability.

I was told this would take about two business days for assignment & resolution. Being the weekend, this meant I probably wouldn’t see any action taken until the following Tuesday so I opted for the quick & dirty way out and used-up the next six months of deactivations all at once.

You can read the transcript of my conversation with the CSR below.

Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:37:21 PM): Hello, My name is Jaimon how may I assist you today?
Me (11/6/2015, 5:37:33 PM): Hi Jaimon how are you today?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:38:06 PM): I’m alright, it’s been busy today. Is everything okay for you?
Me (11/6/2015, 5:38:30 PM): I hear that! Hopefully I’ll try to make things as easy as I can for you! I had a busy day at work myself.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:39:01 PM): I just received my PS4 back from repair, the Service Request Case # was W-081xxxxx
Me (11/6/2015, 5:39:48 PM): This was the same console I had sent in for repair, I did not get back a different console as I verified the serial number on the bottom of the console with that of the original PS4 box it came in.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:40:13 PM): So far everything is working just fine with it, however, this is telling me that it is no longer my primary PS4.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:40:57 PM): When I try to activate it as my primary PS4 it is telling me another PS4 is already activated as my primary.
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:41:02 PM): Oh? Okay, can I get the serial number off of your current console?
Me (11/6/2015, 5:41:12 PM): The one I got back from the repair?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:41:55 PM): Yes. Though if it’s the same serial number it should be the same one.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:42:30 PM): The number is MB060xxxxxx
Me (11/6/2015, 5:42:49 PM): Sorry I had to get the box because the PS4 is currently on, didn’t want to flip it over to get the number
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:43:05 PM): No problem. Let me see what I can see.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:43:10 PM): Awesome!
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:45:36 PM): Okay, I just need some information from you. As follows:
Sign-in ID (email)
PSN ID
Me (11/6/2015, 5:45:55 PM): Sign-in ID: [email protected]
Me (11/6/2015, 5:46:00 PM): PSN ID: CNPalmer
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:48:40 PM): Thank you for that information. Just pulling it up now,
Me (11/6/2015, 5:49:32 PM): No rush. Just reading over the paperwork that came with the repair.
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:50:28 PM): Okay, we have a pretty simple fix for this. Can you go ahead and log into account.sonyentertainmentnetwork.com?
Me (11/6/2015, 5:51:08 PM): Let me guess… go to my account, click on Account, then click on Media & Devices?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:51:22 PM): You’ve been through this process before?
Me (11/6/2015, 5:52:09 PM): Not yet but I kind of did my research before requesting the chat. I wasn’t sure why I need to deactivate everything because it is the same device/serial number
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:52:50 PM): Actually, for some reason I’m looking at the consoles under your account and the serial number is the same but the actual console ID was changed.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:53:06 PM): I’m thinking that a hardware component also changed and therefore the console ID also changed
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:54:20 PM): Right, so it’s being read as an entirely new console. If not we can go ahead and send it into our back office team to deactivate it but it may take up to 2 business days. I wouldn’t think you would want to go through with that since it is the weekend.
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:54:30 PM): I was thinking you would want the fastest possible solution.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:54:59 PM): True. I wouldn’t mind getting this one back up & running with everything all setup.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:55:23 PM): Just to confirm though, and not that I have done it yet, but upgrading the hard drive does not change the console ID correct?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:56:53 PM): No, the console ID is controlled remotely though dictated by the motherboard.
Me (11/6/2015, 5:57:34 PM): Weird. They must have swapped out some components and just re-used the shell. Well at least the serial number matches the box in case I ever sell it!
Me (11/6/2015, 5:57:50 PM): So I just deactivated all my devices, can you see that on your end now?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 5:58:35 PM): That is correct. Now all you have to do is reactivate the console as primary and you should be all set!
Me (11/6/2015, 5:59:00 PM): Under my account, my PS3 and my Vita are still showing up. Is that normal?
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 6:00:15 PM): Well, they are slated as Video activated which is different from the actual activation.
Me (11/6/2015, 6:00:31 PM): Ok that makes sense.
Me (11/6/2015, 6:00:44 PM): Well looks like it is activated ok, no error message on the screen.
Me (11/6/2015, 6:00:51 PM): Thanks for the help!
Me (11/6/2015, 6:01:54 PM): Have a good weekend! Hopefully things slow down for you!
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 6:02:12 PM): No problem! Hope you have a great weekend as well. Game on Benjamin!
Me (11/6/2015, 6:02:50 PM): Most definitely! If you get a chance, check out PSNation.com! Great community & awesome podcast!
Jaimon (11/6/2015, 6:03:59 PM): I definitely will. I tend to take our consumers suggestions a lot so I’ll be looking forward to it! Adios!
Me (11/6/2015, 6:04:07 PM): Take care!

Once that was completed I was able to activate the console back as my Primary without any further concerns. I then proceeded to access my Library of games and download that Sony goodness so that I could be back up and playing in no time, or as fast as my internet connection would let me.

I would say that this is on par with what most consumers should prepare themselves for…

It has been a full week now since I received my console back and I have to say, I have not run into any problems at all. The unit appears to run fine and I don’t have any odd noises or sounds coming from it at all. It boots up consistently and without issue and I do not hear the fan kick in as much as I did before. This may just be me trying to over-analyze the performance.

Although it was a nuisance to go through this whole process, I didn’t find it that overwhelming. I didn’t run into any major difficulties or issues before, during, or after the repair. Not too major, anyway.

I am not saying that my experience is exactly what you should expect. I would say that this is on par with what most consumers should prepare themselves for if they ever send in their console for service.

In closing, I’ll leave a checklist of suggestions and actual steps (from all three parts of the series) which you should perform/expect if you ever have to go through this process yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this series.

Keep coming back for more great content from all of us at PS Nation!

  • Don’t panic, your issue may not be an issue at all!
  • Research your problem online. The official Sony Support forums are a good place to start.
  • If you have diagnosed your issue, see if the suggested repair steps are something you can do & are comfortable performing.
  • If you have tried those suggested steps and your issue still isn’t resolved, contact Sony Repair Services.
  • You can open your claim completely online or you can chat with a CSR first to see how to proceed.
  • When opening your claim, you may have to pay a service fee if your console is out of warranty. Be prepared to pay this fee upfront using any major credit card.
  • Once your claim is opened, you will receive a summary email from the service team regarding your open claim.
  • Once you have received the first email, a second email should follow with tracking information for the shipping box & instructions on what to do next.
  • While you are waiting to receive the package from Sony do the following:
    • Make sure you do not have a disc in the console. There is no guarantee you will receive the disc back after repair. Instructions on how to remove a stuck disc.
    • If you have replaced your original 500GB drive with a larger drive, try to reinstall the original drive if available. There is no guarantee you will get your larger drive back after repair. How to replace your PS4 HDD.
    • Deactivate your console as Primary. If you can boot into the standard UI, deactivate the PS4 as your Primary console. There is no guarantee you will receive this same console back after repair. How to activate/deactivate your Primary PS4.
  • Once you receive your shipping package from Sony, fill out the repair form accurately & completely. Also make sure to package your console up using the supplied materials correctly (it is in for a bumpy ride!).
  • Once your console is received by Sony you should receive another email informing you of such at that repairs should take anywhere from five to ten BUSINESS days.
  • During this time, you can track the progress using your claim ticket number or by chatting with a CSR if you prefer.
  • Once repaired, you will receive an email from Sony stating the repair is completed and your console is on its way back to you. You can use the provided tracking number to anticipate delivery.
  • Once you have your console returned, proceed to inspect it completely to make sure there is no damage due to shipping. Also verify if you have received the same console or a different console using the serial number on the bottom.
  • Once inspected, reconnect the console and test it out. You may have to reinstall firmware or perform other setup steps before you can fully boot the device.
  • Once setup is complete, confirm this is your Primary PS4 or activate the console as your Primary PS4. How to deactivate all your consoles.
  • Redownload games, apps & themes from your Library.
  • ?????
  • Profit.
  • PLAY SOME GAMES!

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.

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook