Poor product support


Sharing a recent experience with Sonos Support and lost confidence after a history of purchasing multiple products. The support issue we experienced relates to a known design weakness posted by many users across multiple channels, which is a power supply failure. In the fall, we experienced a power outage and after power to the house was restored we noticed three of our Sonos products would not turn on. Two (Playbar and Beam in separate rooms) were plugged into surge protectors and one (Play:3) directly into the wall. Three other products showed no issue. All are out of warranty but the Beam only just out. 
When I spoke with Support their best offer is to return to Sonos in exchange for a 30% discount code. So now we are asked to spend even more money to replace the products with a history of power supply quality issues across their portfolio.
Does this sound reasonable?

Thankfully, the Playbar was purchased from Costco, who took it back with a full refund. The others were purchased from Sonos directly with no other recourse than take their discount on new products. 

This lack of customer focus has the signs of a class action lawsuit in the making. Until then, we are encouraged to secure our investment by purchasing from a supplier with greater commitment to their products and customers. 


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29 replies

I don’t see any difference between a Sonos warranty and a good many other manufacturers basic warranty cover - many manufacturing companies seem to provide a 12 month ‘default’ period of cover over here in the U.K. Consumer rights aside, it’s up-to the customer if they want to extend that ‘stated’ warranty cover. 

I don’t personally see the point in complaining if a device fails outside that stated period, unless it’s maybe by a few days, perhaps? I don’t see why a customer should payout for the extended cover for small appliances, to then observe others getting replacement devices for ‘free’, several months after the manufacturers warranty expired. Sonos should either stick to their published period, or otherwise choose to extend it and not let-down those that chose to pay-out for the extended cover.

If customers want to pursue their statutory rights under consumer protection laws then that’s another matter and perhaps for a ‘small claims’ Court to decide, usually based on the individual facts of a case.

You’re literally saying it’s unfair that you’re paying for an extended warranty when others who know their rights can get items replaced legally without one.  That’s your issue, not theirs.

 

 

That’s not how I interpreted @Ken_Griffiths post. In a location where the law doesn’t give consumers extended converge beyond the standard warranty, and a consumer did not buy/acquire an extended warranty, the company should not provide a replacement as if the consumer does have an extended warranty.  I generally agree with that under normal circumstances. 

 

It’s bizarre to say ‘Consumer rights aside’ - they are your legal rights - and are even quoted on Sonos warranty page!  Why would you put them aside?  Replace the word Consumer with ‘Legal’ - is it as easy to say that - hope not!

 

 

Again, not at all how I interpreted what Ken said.  I don’t think Ken is saying that Sonos or anyone should just ignore local laws for consumer rights.

 

You also don’t see the point in complaining if a device fails outside a manufacturer’s arbitrary warranty - when that’s completely irrelevant.  Your rights are legal and nothing to do with what Sonos (or any other manufacturer) say.  None of what I said is specific to Sonos.  There should be no need to ‘complain’ - Sonos (and others) should respect the laws in the place the device was purchased - end of!  And only offer ‘extended warranties’ where the circumstances allow for it.  One year after purchase is shady practice indeed - there’s been so many stories about mis-selling these things when they’re simply not needed and generally give you rights you’re entitled to anyway (except sometimes inclusion of accidental cover),  In UK, it’s not needed.  That you choose to ignore your rights and buy them is your issue (and the companies that push them), no-one else’s.

 

I don’t think a one year warranty is a shady practice.  I could be wrong, but I believe most parts will fail in the first year, so I’m comfortable.  If I’m not comfortable for whatever reason, than I don’t buy the item or get an extended warranty.

As far as selling you warranties you don’t need, I don’t think it’s on the seller to know consumer rights for them. If you don’t need the extended warranty, either because of consumer laws, you have coverage through some other means, or you plan on voiding your warranty anyway, then don’t buy it.  For example, a car rental  company doesn’t have to remind the buyer to check to see if his credit card already provides car rental insurance. That’s much different than a salesman lying or outright misleading you in to buying something you don’t need.

 

 

Had a problem with Roam…

 

this is Sonos response to a defective product…no more Sonos products for me and I intend to steer everyone I know away!!

 

 

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The Sonos warranty is clear, One Year.

The new Sonos extended warranty gives you the option to extend that if it isn’t enough for you.

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Where do you live @kkoehler1 ?

Sadly, statements like “The Sonos warranty is clear, One Year.” and “the Sonos manufacturers warranty is very clear” only muddy the waters as they are almost irrelevant in most countries.  Any manufacturer warranty is in addition to, not instead of, any rights you already have as a consumer.  That doesn’t mean ‘in addition’ means extends or is good or better as such - but ‘as well as’ your consumer rights.

Just because Sonos say you get a one year warranty, that’s completely voluntary - in EU you get a minimum of two years on such goods and in UK it’s much longer (up to 6 years).  You may be asked to show it’s an inherent fault for example - and if you look above, there’s even a post from an official Sonos representative admitting they get a lot of reports of this fault with Roams - that is literally saying it’s an issue.  That they then try to push extended warranties because of this is immoral to me.

Goods can of course fail from any manufacturer - it’s how such manufacturers or stores deal with them that shows the better ones than the lesser ones..  See first post for Costco doing a full refund.

There are very few consumer websites you will find where they recommend purchasing extended warranties.

Also, if you paid by credit card, speak to them too if Sonos don’t relent.  Companies tend not to like chargebacks made to them from Credit Card companies.

A couple points to make.  Regarding Costco, it’s a shopping club where members have to pay a subscription to shop in their stores or online.  There are some perks that come along with that subscription, like discounted products, warranties, and exclusive products.  In the case of electronics, it’s common for Costco to bundle an extended warranty in with the purchase.  I obviously can’t confirm that OP bought his Playbar with an extended warranty, but that seems highly likely.   It does not look like Costco currently bundles extended warranties on Sonos products, but they do other electronics.  I can’t imagine Costco will provide full refunds on products that were no longer covered under warranty.

All this to say,  it’s not objective to compare Sonos product support with Costco when there are extra fees and an extended warranty involved with the Costco purchase.

 

Regarding the chat message post, that was a very poorly worded response.  I would definitely agree that it’s poor form to try an upsell and extended warranty like that and state that it’s offered because the product is failing too much.  Because it’s so poor, I honestly have to question it’s authenticity a bit.  If it is real, I hope whoever wrote that gets pulled aside and corrected on how they are messaging.

As far as whether Sonos products are having power failures too frequently, I don’t think you can get a clear picture from a collection of ancedotal cases on the internet.  We do not know the total sales volume and the failure rate for the Roam or other Sonos products, nor how that matches up with other manufacturers. People are not regularly posting that their products are still working, they only post when they are not. That’s not to say that there isn’t issues, just that  ‘a lot of people said’ doesn’t really provide good evidence, any more than a bunch of people  saying ‘mine works’ proves that there are no issues.  

I personally don’t think any company needs to provide a warranty beyond the stated warranty that existed when you bought the product.  They certainly can if they want to for customer goodwill or what have you, but I would not fault them if they did not.  However, I’m not going to buy more product if the existing products I own shows signs of early failure through no fault of my own. I don’t think Sonos has shown that, but understand they people have different experiences.

As far as whether it makes sense to get extended warranties, I’m generally not a fan, but it’s a personal preference. I generally feel like I’m better off using the money I theoretically save to just buy a replacement if it occurs.  For example, if I have 10 products that cost $200 each (total $2000) that offer $20 for an extended warranty ($200) and one of those 10 products fails out of warranty,  I pay the same whether I bought the extended warranty or just buy a new product.  Plus I do not have to deal with applying for reimbursement or possibly being restricted to getting the same product that may no longer be what I want. Yes, I’m not typically buying 10 of a product, and the failure rate is probably not as high as 10%, it’s just an example.   Of course, my opinion is going to change when we are talking about high dollar items with high resale value and higher failure rates, like cars and homes for example.

 

I’m not a great fan of extended warranties for small items. Obviously everyone’s opinion of “small” is different. Basically, the customer bets that the unit will fail and the warranty company bets that the unit will not fail within the warranty contract period. Guess who makes money on the deal.

Danny you think the chat logs could be faked by @kkoehler1 and that Sonos has a messaging problem, not a product problem with the Roam? Just want to make sure I understand this properly as that was a lot of words for me.  

 

I think that chat log could be fake, and if it’s not fake, Sonos needs to make sure they don’t message like that to customers.  I do not know if Sonos has a product problem with the Roam as I do not know what the actual failure rate, or how it compares to other similar products.  I don’t take a ton of stock in anecdotal cases on the internet.  It does seem like the Roam fails more frequently than other Sonos products, but I don’t know if that’s actually true, if Roam sells in higher volume and fails less, etc.

When I referred to how different companies treated their customers better or worse, I listed Costco because I noticed the OP had had good service from them.  However, if that’s ‘unfair’ as you pay a membership, then I’ll list John Lewis and Richer Sounds instead.  Exact same points apply - and they both even specifically say 2 year warranty on their product pages.

 

OP stated the products that failed were a Playbar, Beam, and Play:3 with the playbar being purchased at Costco.  I think it’s safe to say the playbar and play:3 are older than 2 years and wouldn’t be covered by a 2 year warranty.   But sure, these stores have better warranties than if you bought from Sonos direct, and I would assume they aren’t charging anymore than if buying Sonos direct.  

 

Regarding “I personally don’t think any company needs to provide a warranty beyond the stated warranty that existed when you bought the product”, again, it’s missing the point.  They don’t ‘need’ to provide any warranty at all!  There’s no law to provide one - but doing so gives extra ‘value’ and confidence to customers.  i.e. it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a thing if it fails after 13 months but the manufacturer warranty is ‘only’ 12 - your consumer rights supersede anything a retailer may like to say.  As a minimum in EU, that’s still 2 years.  In UK, it’s up to 6!

 

 

I don’t know EU or UK laws, but if the law states you have to provide full reimbursement for failure up to 2 or 6 years than that is effectively your product warranty and that’s what you should expect to get when you purchase the product.  OP’s product doesn’t state location, so I don’t know what applies.

 

Even the Sonos website says “Your local consumer protection laws may provide additional rules on warranty. The Sonos Warranty does not in any way restrict the rights that you may have under such rules.” - so I really don’t know why Sonos are getting away with spouting the 12 month thing.

 

 

I don’t know where OP is located, so I can’t assume Sonos is breaking some law providing only the 1 year warranty that OP says he (or she) was given. Since the products mentioned were likely several years old, they may actually have an effective warranty more than a year old that doesn’t apply, or doesn’t apply due to the nature of what caused the product to fail.

 

Regarding failure rates of Roams specifically, I posted a week or so back that we don’t have a full picture or sales etc. but that I had a feeling that Roams do seem to be failing more than other items - and the ‘nearest’ Sonos equivalent, Move, doesn’t seem to attract such reports of failures.  The post above seems to back up from Sonos themselves that there is indeed an issue with the Roam.

 

 

Assuming that the chat image is not a fake, then it looks like the Sonos technician has the same feelings that you do. Does the Sonos technician have access to the failure rate data?  I don’t know.  In conversations with the Sonos support staff here, I know that they do not have access to sales data.

Like you stated, all we really have to go on is feelings.  Probably enough for many  people to decide they do or do not want to buy a Roam, but not really all that accurate.

 

I don’t feel the Sonos response pasted above is ‘poorly worded’ and think it’s sounding more and more accurate.  It may be a bit brutally honest and not what Sonos as a brand want to publicly convey but for us the public, it’s exactly, in writing, what somebody would need to use to get better service from them.  If it’s not authentic as you’re questioning then I would expect it to be removed very quickly.

(note, this may not relate to consumer rights in USA, I’m referring to UK and EU here)

 

Poorly worded in the sense that as a customer, I don’t want to hear that the product I bought has lots off issues, but that’s all good because I can buy an extended warranty.  Sure, it may be accurate, but doesn’t leave me feeling good.  I’d rather just be told that they did all the troubleshooting steps they can and it looks like it maybe some sort of hardware issue.  Since it’s out of warranty, a XX% discount on a replacement is the best we can do. I don’t want me told that we offer an extend warranty because people have reported too many failures (I don’t that’s actually why they starting offering them anyway)  I would not even mention extended warranty since you can’t buy from Sonos.com now without being offered it.

Often associated with power grid failures are very large, destructive voltage transients. A given unit can only withstand a certain level of transient energy. The transient energy could vary in your house outlets and some outlets might not have transmitted the same level of transient energy. Finally, transient protectors vary in quality and can fail due to previous transient hits — essentially the transient protector has sacrificed itself to protect equipment. Unfortunately, it requires very expensive test equipment and a trained operator to fully evaluate the quality and current condition of a surge suppressor.

The two surge suppressors that failed to protect their client should be replaced.

Most manufacturers tend to provide warranty cover on their products for one, or maybe two, years. Many of our electrical products here (not just Sonos) have that sort of period of cover, perhaps with one exception of our main LG TV, which came with a 5 year warranty.

I personally choose to cover my products outside their manufacturers warranty period with small appliance extended warranty insurance to help provide that extra peace of mind. It’s why that type of insurance-cover exists.

Reading your post it also sounds like the power-surge protection is the major thing that really failed in your particular case. That said I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m paying out for ‘extended warranty’ insurance cover, which I may never use (one hopes). C'est la Vie.

There may be some recourse with home owner insurance.

And each piece of electronics will have their own level of susceptibility to power fluctuations, depending on what chips are in use. Sonos devices, since the majority of the contain essentially a full computer, might be more vulnerable than other connected devices. And the use of the word ’fluctuation’ is careful, many electronics are equally impacted by voltages that are too low as they are in voltage spikes that are too high. 

What an insult! Spend more and they may help you. Consumer pressure is the only way. Sonos will hide behind legal language to protect themselves from having to stand behind their quality claims. What a disgrace. 

Yes I’m with @Stanley_4 the Sonos manufacturers warranty is very clear and it’s why I choose to cover many of our home electrical appliances with extended warranty insurance protection. As we all know electrical goods can sometimes fail at any point from any reputable manufacturer. Moveable products especially, as they are at risk of being dropped and are regularly plugged/unplugged exposed to heat/cold etc.

I personally think it’s worth protecting devices up-to 5 years from purchase, after that they likely will have been replaced with a next generation device anyway. Often such small appliance cover will also include accidental damage too, so it’s definitely worth considering such cover for a portable product anyway.

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Had a problem with Roam…

 

this is Sonos response to a defective product…no more Sonos products for me and I intend to steer everyone I know away!!

 

 

It’s pretty wild that the Sonos rep says they know there is a problem “with a lot of our Sonos Roam”  

Buyer beware. 

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Danny you think the chat logs could be faked by @kkoehler1 and that Sonos has a messaging problem, not a product problem with the Roam? Just want to make sure I understand this properly as that was a lot of words for me.  

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When I referred to how different companies treated their customers better or worse, I listed Costco because I noticed the OP had had good service from them.  However, if that’s ‘unfair’ as you pay a membership, then I’ll list John Lewis and Richer Sounds instead.  Exact same points apply - and they both even specifically say 2 year warranty on their product pages.

Regarding “I personally don’t think any company needs to provide a warranty beyond the stated warranty that existed when you bought the product”, again, it’s missing the point.  They don’t ‘need’ to provide any warranty at all!  There’s no law to provide one - but doing so gives extra ‘value’ and confidence to customers.  i.e. it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a thing if it fails after 13 months but the manufacturer warranty is ‘only’ 12 - your consumer rights supersede anything a retailer may like to say.  As a minimum in EU, that’s still 2 years.  In UK, it’s up to 6!

Even the Sonos website says “Your local consumer protection laws may provide additional rules on warranty. The Sonos Warranty does not in any way restrict the rights that you may have under such rules.” - so I really don’t know why Sonos are getting away with spouting the 12 month thing.

Regarding failure rates of Roams specifically, I posted a week or so back that we don’t have a full picture or sales etc. but that I had a feeling that Roams do seem to be failing more than other items - and the ‘nearest’ Sonos equivalent, Move, doesn’t seem to attract such reports of failures.  The post above seems to back up from Sonos themselves that there is indeed an issue with the Roam.

I don’t feel the Sonos response pasted above is ‘poorly worded’ and think it’s sounding more and more accurate.  It may be a bit brutally honest and not what Sonos as a brand want to publicly convey but for us the public, it’s exactly, in writing, what somebody would need to use to get better service from them.  If it’s not authentic as you’re questioning then I would expect it to be removed very quickly.

(note, this may not relate to consumer rights in USA, I’m referring to UK and EU here)

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You’re literally saying it’s unfair that you’re paying for an extended warranty when others who know their rights can get items replaced legally without one.  That’s your issue, not theirs.

It’s bizarre to say ‘Consumer rights aside’ - they are your legal rights - and are even quoted on Sonos warranty page!  Why would you put them aside?  Replace the word Consumer with ‘Legal’ - is it as easy to say that - hope not!

You also don’t see the point in complaining if a device fails outside a manufacturer’s arbitrary warranty - when that’s completely irrelevant.  Your rights are legal and nothing to do with what Sonos (or any other manufacturer) say.  None of what I said is specific to Sonos.  There should be no need to ‘complain’ - Sonos (and others) should respect the laws in the place the device was purchased - end of!  And only offer ‘extended warranties’ where the circumstances allow for it.  One year after purchase is shady practice indeed - there’s been so many stories about mis-selling these things when they’re simply not needed and generally give you rights you’re entitled to anyway (except sometimes inclusion of accidental cover),  In UK, it’s not needed.  That you choose to ignore your rights and buy them is your issue (and the companies that push them), no-one else’s.

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My points were specifically for UK/EU as previously mentioned - and in cases above were for Ken specifically as he was saying ‘I personally...’ etc. and has recently commented that he buys extended warrantees for most things - so not for areas with different rights etc.  I believe he meant it wasn’t right to get an extended warranty in UK and see others getting replacements because they’re legally entitled to them.

To say selling warrantees when the seller doesn’t need to know consumer rights is wrong.  They need to be more aware than ever - and they are supposed to ensure it’s the right product for them - hence we now get cooling off periods too now to completely cancel without charge.  PPI anyone?

I didn’t say one year warrantees are shady practice - I said that trying to hide behind that and selling them when the consumer has existing legal protection is.  Equally, to insist that the consumer is out of luck and can have 30% isn’t great either - again, only in countries where your legal rights exceed those provided by Sonos.

Again, note, most of this ‘behaviour’ applies to lots of companies, not just Sonos.  It doesn't excuse it either - but it's nice when some companies respect buyers’ rights.

I am talking about @kkoehler1’s Roam here. 

The average cost of one months gas/electric bill here in the U.K. is currently £172.80p - most of us with numerous small electrical appliances, likely payout far more than that in a 2/3 bedroom Home .. so pursuing the consumer protection laws after a 12 month period, on a device that costs £179 seems a waste of time to me. My own understanding with small claims courts is they reduce the amount payable anyway, based on the amount/circumstances of use, and the longer the period is, beyond the manufacturers stated warranty period… personally, without extended warranty cover, I would take the 30% discount voucher that Sonos sometimes tend to offer their customers, post device failure. I think that’s a reasonable offer, considering the original cost of a Sonos Roam.

Those who want ‘peace of mind’ should consider the extended warranty cover. All my family Apple devices (iPhone/iPad/Apple TV) only offer 12 months manufacturers warranty too.. so we have chosen to cover those type of devices aswell. 

I think most manufacturers here in the U.K. including Apple/Sonos and many others make their position clear with their warranty period. If there’s a complaint about length of cover, then the time to raise that, is prior to making the purchase. It maybe why some users choose local retailers instead, like John Lewis, SmartHome Sounds or others, as they may offer their own extended warranties.

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I don't know why Small Claims Court is being mentioned as that's a very last resort - and one where I'm not sure of a case where the company bothered to defend it. You should simply and politely remind the company of their obligations and that should be it.  Even that shouldn't be necessary as the company knows full well what they are.

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I don’t see any difference between a Sonos warranty and a good many other manufacturers basic warranty cover - many manufacturing companies seem to provide a 12 month ‘default’ period of cover over here in the U.K. Consumer rights aside, it’s up-to the customer if they want to extend that ‘stated’ warranty cover. 

I don’t personally see the point in complaining if a device fails outside that stated period, unless it’s maybe by a few days, perhaps? I don’t see why a customer should payout for the extended cover for small appliances, to then observe others getting replacement devices for ‘free’, several months after the manufacturers warranty expired. Sonos should either stick to their published period, or otherwise choose to extend it and not let-down those that chose to pay-out for the extended cover.

If customers want to pursue their statutory rights under consumer protection laws then that’s another matter and perhaps for a ‘small claims’ Court to decide, usually based on the individual facts of a case.


when Sonos CS admits they know a lot of the Roams fail it would seem that customers have a legitimate complaint. 
 

 

That chat has got to be a fake.  No real support person offers an extended warranty after something breaks.  They'd be giving the store away.  They also would not be employed long if they blurt out problems with the company's products to anybody who listens.

Nice try, but you gotta be more subtle.

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I'd bet it's real.  New, inexperienced, who knows but real nonetheless..  No identifying names so no need to remove it unless it is fake. Other than cat and bag and doh!