Sony mobile phone upgrade disaster

I bought a Sony mobile phone in Indonesia in December 2015. It cost rp 400,000 [roughly $400] so cheaper than in Australia but quite expensive enough for me.

I was preparing for my return to Indonesia in October 2016, when Sony sent links to a free upgrade. I checked online, found good and bad comments, and also the fact that there was no going back. I was happy with the phone as it was, and didn’t want to upgrade, but the demands to do it happened several times a day and I didn’t want the hassle when I would be travelling and internet would often be less than satisfactory if something went wrong.
The information said the phone needed to be charged to at least 80%, so I took it to 85% to be ‘safe’ - famous last words.
The first upgrade failed to download, on my very good internet, and I spent 6 hours recovering my phone from an alert that happened literally every second, telling me I had to download again.
I managed to download again, and got the phone working ok, my chat backups and apps working. Switched the phone off overnight to charge it - and that was the end of my phone. It has never worked again.

I left for Indonesia the next day, and had 5 days without a phone.
A service centre [ officially approved of by Sony ] in Bali blame a battery fault, and say it is not repairable.

Not surprisingly, I find it extraordinarily hard to believe that a battery fault could occur coincidentally with a major upgrade, and not be caused by the upgrade - especially when the battery is not removable, on a phone less than 12 months old, that was working just fine till the upgrade.

After a lot of to and fro communication in this, I went on the Sony website one last time and said that my phone had died - and there has not been a message since.

So Sony products will be on my black list for a very long time to come.

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@mudpuppy, thanks for sharing this experience. It’s a cautionary tale in more ways than one, as if you had purchased the product in Australia you might have had remedy using our consumer protection laws. We also hear about consumer frustration from forced updates, but at the same time, these updates can also fix bugs and allow the phone to continue working with new technology (when things work as intended) so for some it can be a ‘catch 22’ as you have described.

You mentioned you have contacted Sony, was this via the complaints form on the website? If you haven’t already, I’d suggest giving them a call on their 1300-650-050 number and ask for a manager (the number is listed as ‘toll free’). You’re in a tricky spot but you can still negotiate. For example, I’d mention:

  • If they were in Australia, they’d likely have to provide a remedy under the law and you feel it is fair and reasonable to ask the company to do the same in this case.
  • Offer to surrender the phone for a refund or replacement so they can investigate the cause of the ‘battery failure’, which is certainly in their interests.
  • Mention your your stance on Sony products - a smart company will hopefully recognise the benefit of keeping its customers, and work to turn you around. You can also point out that you are planning to take this issue to social media and CHOICE if you do not get a resolution.

All the best getting this problem solved.

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Ok thanks Brendan, will ring them when i return next month. Certainly with an Aus product i would expect better, from any company.

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The other thing to check is that the phone is a genuine Sony phone. When travelling in Asia and through some of the tech street markets, I have seen Apple, Samsung and Sony phones and other devices sold at significantly ‘discounted’ prices…some prices which seem almost too good to be true. They look genuine at first glance, but suspect that they could be clones. Reputable stores in the same area have prices for the same devices not much cheaper than Australia.

It appears from doing a quick search that one way to check if the phone is a genuine Sony is to run the Sony Update Service (SUS)…if this fails then there is a chance that the phone is a clone.

It is also suggested that one can contact the and they can tell you if the phone is a legitimate Sony phone. I expect that any contact with Sony you will need the phones IMEI number (this links shows how it can be found).

It also appears that this website as a first port of call can be used to check IMEI numbers… or his one


Yes i have seen plenty of brand name items for sale in the streets that i doubted was genuine. But i bought this from a shop, in a proper box with a manual - so fairly confident it is the real thing. Now, of course it is impossible to get the number because it is completely dead.

If you still have the box most have the IMEI printed on the label with the Serial No. and model details.

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On the Sony Mobile Phone box, an example of phone IMEI is:

Is a 15 digit number : XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX eg. 355762051769285

If you don’t have the box, the IMEI should also be on the sim card tray This link shows how to remove it.

The printed IMEI number will be very small and a magnifying glass may be needed to read it unless you have incredibly good vision.

Buying from a shop in Asia doesn’t necessary guarantee authenticity unless it is from a well recognised and approved/authorised retailer. Some shops also can sell clones as it feeds the desire of the locals to have a flashy 'branded 'product.


Sony products have been on my blacklist since the company put a rootkit (a particularly nasty form of computer virus) on some of its music CDs ‘to protect copyright’.

Never give up, never surrender!

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AS a computer gamer I was really upset when Sony Online Entertainment went under …not . Long live Daybreak Games who purchased SOE . I remember that rootkit fiasco . Sony certainly paid a price for that and deservedly so .

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And so this issue goes on - a friend took the phone to a Sony-approved service centre in Bali, who said the phone is dead. I was unable to retrieve the phone before I left Indonesia. Back in Aus., I used the Android gadget page to check on the phone - and find that it was synced on 25 Jan, when it was supposed to be dead!! So have asked my friend to retrieve it as a matter of urgency. Dealing with Sony will have to wait.

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