Sony’s Welcome Back Program, NOT Really

Posted: July 6, 2011 in Indulgent Commentary
Tags: , , , , , ,

Many of you may know that the PlayStation Network was hacked and was down for over a month.  It has been reported that the hacking compromised more than 77 million registered PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts.  Every network user received an email from Sony which described their Welcome Back program to be given to all users for the inconvenience the hacked accounts may have caused.  They also provided a one subscription to an anti theft program.  Based on the description we would get two games for our PlayStation 3 system and two games for the PSP.  Sounds really nice and Sony appears to be a company that cares about their customers.

Unannounced Deadline
NOT!  The email had no expiration date for the package.  Over the weekend I found out that users had until July 3rd to download their free items.

Hidden Link to Welcome Back Package
So my son and I worked feverishly to download the free games.  Our first issue we encountered was to find the access point to get the free offer.  All of the links we saw were to an advertising page of the offer which did not give you a link to get the free games.  Finally after a lot of poking around on their network I found the link to download the games.

Forgot Password Link – Network down.  Try again later.
A step in the download process is to sign into your account.  Great, I couldn’t remember our password.  I tried every combination I could think of.  Finally, I decided to click on their forgot password link.  No problem.  Everything so far seems pretty normal.  Well the forgot password link took us to a page that said the network was down and to try again later.  So we tried and tried and tried.  Keep in mind the unannounced deadline was July 3rd.

Finding a Customer Service Phone Number
Since I could not get in from the website or from the PlayStation system, I decided to call their customer support.  No problem,  the number must be on the Help pages or the Contact Us pages.  NOT!  Once again I had to poke around to find a number.  Luckily we finally found it.

Customer Service Telephone Experience
We dialed the toll-free number and we got three options to select.  Three options that had nothing to do with our problem.  So, I tried one options to see if there were more options after it was selected.  NOT!  So I redialed and tried the next one.  Not there either.  And we redialed the number again and tried the last option.  Finally we get an option to select zero to talk to a customer service rep.

Customer Service Solution
Once I got the representative, I asked how can get my password since their get password link doesn’t work.  The rep says it is easier and faster to do off of the game system itself.  He described where I get the link to find my password.  Hmmm “easier and faster.”  Why would the web have a different experience than the game system itself?  This is not logical.

Forgot Password
So my son and I went onto his game system but the system was already signed in.  We logged off and went to the logon location, which is where I was told you could find the link for forgot password.  NOT!  It was nowhere.  We logged back in.  The system had remember the password, but it was encrypted.  Hoping we would be able to get through the process, and since the system had remembered the password, we went to the PlayStation Network.

Downloads – Still Need a Password
Once we were on the network we found the Welcome Back Package.  We selected a game to download, and the SYSTEM ASKS FOR YOUR PASSWORD.  At this point I am getting pretty grumpy.  So, I poked around again, selected the game to download, and then tried 3 or for passwords and 3 different email accounts.  No luck.  And finally I spy the forgot password link.  Wonderful!  And it worked.

Download, Download Again
Finally we were into the network and started a download.  Oddly, there was an extra step in the download process that isn’t usually there.  I had selected download and it brought us to another screen to select download again.  The first time I tried I missed the second screen and no download happened.

Download Progress, Maybe?
Finally I caught on to the second screen.  We try again and we get no progress indicator, which is what usually happens.

No Room for Download
We tried downloading a second game which was part of the Welcome Back Package.  With the second download we get a message that there is not enough room on the unit.  WHAT!  So we got out of the PlayStation store and check out what we have on the unit.  We deleted a couple of things that were duplicate versions.  But there wasn’t that much stored.  I suspect we had 75% or more space left.  We went back to the store and tried once again to download the 2nd game, and to this moment I don’t know if we got it.  We had been working on this for hours and this was only for the PS3.  We still had the PSP games left.  I was determined to get our free games.  Who turns down free games?

Another Hour for the PSP
Believe it or not we had to go through all of this with the PSP.  At first we hard time getting it to link to the PS3.  Once we got that working, we went through all of the downloading process, encountering the same issues that we had with the PS3.  We tried to download two games, and once again I still don’t know what we got versus what we did get.

Welcome Back Package, NOT Really
This whole experience was awful, frustrating and a big time waster.  Plus I am not sure if we got our full “Welcome Back Package.”  After going through all of this I wasn’t feeling very welcomed.  As we went through this I questioned to myself, why would Sony make this process so troublesome.  This was not our experience before and we were loyal customers of Sony.  This is the third gaming unit we had bought from them and 4 cameras, and 3 TVs.  I was loyal to Sony because I honestly believed the Sony products were superior to other brands, and up to now this has proven to be true.  Then it hit me.  My hypothesis is that Sony purposely made this difficult.  I think they did this with the expectation that fewer games would be down loaded and that the user would give up on the process, which is basically what I did.

I was a little angry and did some tweets expressing my disdain for Sony and their Welcome Back Package.  Then today I was reading tweets and something triggered me to Google for the Sony Welcome Back Package and see if anyone else had experienced what we experienced.

Extended Deadline – NOT
That is when I saw this article “Sony Bumps PS3 ‘Welcome Back’ Deadline to Tuesday” (,2817,2388026,00.asp).  This article states:

Sony indicated in a July 1 blog post that the Welcome Back program would expire on July 3, which Sony senior social media manager Jeff Rubenstein clarified in a Twitter response posted mid-day on the third.

“It ended today, as you said,” Rubenstein wrote. “There were 30 days to claim it, not sure why people decided to wait. We were clear from the outset.”

As a result of the apparent confusion, Sony has now bumped back the deadline for accessing the Welcome Back content until Tuesday morning at 9 am (PST). That’s all the extension Sony is likely going to provide gamers who, for whatever reasons, have decided to wait until the very last second to claim their free games and services. 

So I think great I have today to try this again.  So I got to the website.  The link we found over the weekend was not there.  I looked everywhere.  Finally I did a search on Welcome Back and got the following screen.  The article was not true, or maybe the access is hidden somewhere, but I am not wasting my time looking for it.  Plus the more link goes to a page that says nothing about the Welcome Back package.

I just found this blog statement that said the program ended at 9:00 am on Tuesday.  Who put a deadline on an offer at 9:00am?

Here’s an article dated July 4th that says that the network will be fully restored this week.  How can you offer a Welcome Back package with an expiration date earlier than the date the network is fully restore?

Still a Customer, NOT!
I am really disappointed in Sony.  They were not being genuine in providing this Welcome Back package.  Keep in mind this process to download the games usually happens with children.  I don’t use this gaming unit.  My son does.  There is no way he could have downloaded the free games.  Plus I actually work in technology, and I had a hard time.

So, I am turned off by Sony.  I think they are dishonest.  I am one customer gone bye-by.  The only way to hurt a company is in their pocket.  Money obviously meant everything for Sony.  So my  Sony Welcome Back package ends with a grudge with me.  Thus the blog.  I hope lots of people read this and also shout out their outrage.

  1. WI Snowflake says:

    I truly believe they didn’t want to talk about it or display it because it would reduce the number of people taking advantage of the offer.

  2. JMP says:

    I have a great 16 minute recording of a very rude customer service rep, explaing that I should have known because the date was on their blog.

    I don’t understand why they didn’t put the expiration date right on Welcome Back Page.

    I don’t why Sony would think I read their blog.