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September 08, 2000

The Sony Store Direct Review

The Sony Store Direct
Rating: Good

Update: New URL, now called Sony Style

I took the headphones in for warranty to get the ear pads replaced as they had ripped in less than a year. It took forever, several months later rather than the 2 weeks the salesman said, I called they still hadn't arrived back from service, so they decided to give me a whole new pair.

Well, I was having a hard time finding a good pair of wireless headphones. I found one good company, but they couldn't figure out if the products were even available in Canada let alone find a dealer for me. Next, I found a Sony model that was rated very highly. I looked around, Future Shop carried it, but didn't have stock, same thing at the physical Sony Store's around here. Checking online vendors they all had the same prices. While checking up on the specifications of the product on the Canadian Sony site (www.sony.ca), I noticed the online store, The Sony Store Direct. Anyway, the price was the same as everyone else, except I saved the provincial taxes. I ordered it up. At least I though I did. The shopping engine crapped out in Netscape. I fired up IE and put through the order. Oops, looking back at Netscape (I left it running), after crapping out, it put the order through anyway. I immediately left an email for them, it was a weekend, so this was the fastest way to get a response. Anyway, first thing Monday morning, they called me up and asked if I meant to make 2 identical purchases. Now, I don't think they had read my email at this point, this was flagged by their shopping engine or someone who reviews purchases. I was quite surprised that they had independently discovered the error, a nice touch, or at least they had quickly responded to my email. Anyway, the product was shipped out and packaged well and included in the packaging was tons of information, labels and shipping instructions for returning the item or having warranty work done. Now this is more than I expected, the complete terms of the shopping agreement, all the information about the purchase and returning the item if chosen, as well as warranty information. The product works excellently, just as the reviews have said. As for my rating, the selection is very limited, it just so happened they had the one product I wanted to purchase. Their prices are also the standard Sony Store ones, usually the MSRP or close too it, which means they are high. The pseudo failure of the online shopping engine in Netscape is also troublesome. However their actual diligence in creating a good experience for online shoppers overcomes these flaws. Note: The online store is actually run by a physical Sony Store in Quebec. As a general note, for online shopping, it seems one of two things occurs. Either the site has an excellent front end, (ie the website pages, descriptions, shopping engine, products) and a poor back end (ie shipping, billing, support) or the opposite is true. It seems no-one can quite get both done at the same time.

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