Sony refusing to fix hardware issues on bootloader-unlocked devices?


It looks like Sony has taken a rather odd stance when it comes to honoring device warranties. Reports are flying in claiming Sony is refusing to repair devices with hardware issues that have been bootloader unlocked.

It’s not illegal, of course, but it’s not a usual practice. It’s especially weird to know that Sony’s not opposed to doing this considering they were one of the first OEMs to allow their users to unlock their phones’ bootloaders.

For software issues, sure: an unlocked bootloader means anything could have happened to the device. But when you start refusing to repair hardware because of obvious hardware defects it gets a little bit ridiculous.

It’s an unfortunate situation, but Sony’s in charge of their own morals with this one because they offer disclaimers of voided warranties on their very own official unlocking tool.

Their disclaimer doesn’t lay out any clear terms for voiding a warranty, though, and there’s an arguing point to be had there, but we’re not sure how much leverage the user has.

The only thing we can hope for is that they change their stance from sheer good will and love for their consumers. [via Xperia Blog]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Yes, because my unblocked bootloader caused the usb input fall apart

  2. Screw Sony then!

  3. For a company that has .0000002% Android marketshare, this is a sure way to reduce that to ZERO!

    When you are the underdog you have to make decisions to gain customer attention in a positive way.

  4. Fairly certain, under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, to void a warranty Sony would have to prove that unlocking the bootloader caused the problem that the consumer was trying to have repaired. Since there are many users walking around with their bootloaders unlocked that will be hard to prove, making what they are doing illegal. It’s similar to when car dealers would try to void warranties because you used an aftermarket exhaust.

    1. I think it would be more YOU have to prove it didn’t.

      1. If I read the law right it’s up warrantor, Sony, to prove that the unlocked bootloader caused the damage. If it was the other way around manufactures wouldn’t have to put the moisture stickers in the phones to prove they got wet, they could just say you got it wet. See what I’m getting at? The law was written to protect consumers from shady warranty practices.

        1. It’s just that there’s a law in EU about 2 year warranties…5 years if expensive electronics/electricals. 6 years in Scotland. However if the manufacturer’s don’t honor that it falls back on the retailer. Trading standards themselves say it’s a murky/grey issue as the retailer only had to do something if it wasn’t for for purpose as intended by the manufacturer at the time of sale…anything could’ve happened that isn’t necessary the manufacturer’s fault. The onus would then be on the owner/consumer to prove it wasn’t right/fit for purpose. I’ve had this myself as I work in retail and some customers start spouting about a law they don’t understand fully. The only way around it is to get repair agent to look at it to testify that it couldn’t be customers fault and it’s due to manufacturer’s faulty chipsets etc. that itself would cost the customer for repair agent. Time and money many don’t want to spend. How many people would then take it to court? Wish it wasn’t so unclear myself.

  5. I can’t understand companies like this. what’s wrong with making the most of your device. If anything it’s praise that you would buy their product and unlock it because it means you have a good understanding of the technology and you’ve chosen their product above others. I however feel their products aren’t great and would never buy one. my girlfriend did…she now uses my old htc desire. Her contract runs out in a couple of months – I’ll get her to get a galaxy s3. So long Sony.

    1. Manufacturers don’t want your praise, they want your money.

      1. yes but with praise comes money. good reviews etc…however the opposite will only make people spend elsewhere – and rightly so. Sony have gotten too big for their own good. TV’s and other electricals they make have made major losses and it seems all the good innovators left long ago. Seem to be stuck in a rut. PlayStation is different though.

    2. Sony boxed themselves into a corner with the whole PS3 Linux hack. Now they are stuck with having to be butt heads with all warranty claims.

  6. won’t ever buy a sony product

  7. Cant you just lock your bootloader back up?

  8. Sony can refuse to honor warranties all they want…. until someone decides to sue them. As pointed out, a mfg cannot refuse to honor a warranty unless they can prove that the modification caused the failure. So yes, the burden is on Sony, but you’d have to be willing to fight them on it in court.

  9. Good job destroying the little market share you had, Sony. Bravo.

  10. Thats alright Sony. Do this in Australia and ill see you in the consumer court! Heck, i want to buy a Sony device and unlock it just to take them to court!

  11. Sony lost me as a customer over 10 years ago due to a warranty related repair issue.

  12. If you unlock your PS3, the warranty is voided, so I see no surprises here.

  13. I think people are just making it a big issue I mean common Sony atleast replaces the phone with original warranty but HTC One X with WiFi issue or even some Samsung S 2 with same issue were not even addressed. Or looked upon and were completely rejected what kind of support is that?!!

  14. i don’t know why anyone is surprised at SONY’ attitude to their customers. its sucked ass for years.
    Its about time people sent a message to them with their wallets.

  15. Not shocking… ASUS tried to charge me $300 to repair the defective LCD panel in my Transformer Prime after owning it only 5 months, and only because I unlocked the bootloader.

    I laughed at him and asked him if he heard what he just told me, “defective LCD panel” and asked him relate that to having an unlocked bootloader – they don’t care. We’re just money to them, not customers or people.

    I’d like to see a car dealership tell them that because they use a different type of gasoline their warranty is void and it will cost them 60% of the total cost of the vehicle to replace the windshield. Makes sense, right?

    Needless to say, it’s the last ASUS product I will be buying and I’m sad to see Sony follow suit.


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