WH-1000XM3 Crackling Noise and Connection Issues

DAY 59


I first owned a Bose QC35, however, I felt Bose was not innovating in terms of sound control and technology. This led me to buy the Sony WH-1000XM2 which I used for over a year without any trouble. I was completely happy with them. When Sony released Sony WH-1000XM3, I took the plunge and bought them in November 2018.

After a month of using them, I began to hear crackling noises from the ear cups. I ignored them thinking they were some issue with the Bluetooth connection. This issue pursued and the noises became so unbearable that when they randomly came up, I had to immediately remove the headset from my wearing. At this point, I decided to Google the issue and was shocked to see that this was a common issue in most Sony WH-1000XM3. Please click here to have a look at the several issues listed on the internet without a solution.

Most of the above issues came up in the warranty period and most, if not everyone had their headsets replaced, however, the shocking part is that many complain that the issues persisted in the new headsets too. Looking at the bright side and the brand name, I was very confident that a new Firmware release would fix everything and just as I thought, there was soon a release, although the issue was not listed, I was hopeful. The new Firmware release did not fix the issue.

I still could not get the headsets to the service centre, as I had a long journey coming up, I was considering to use them and then take them to service after my trip, only because the sounds were random and sometimes, they did not show up for a day or two. This was not to be and all of a sudden, the headsets died on me, they would show up in the connection but they would not respond or play music. I tried multiple devices with no luck. It was time to make a trip to the service centre.

5th February 2019 (Day 1)

I reach Pranank Electronics Sony Authorised Service Centre at around 10. The place is a mess and the receptionist was at her lethargic best, but I believe, she was not trained to handle customers. I asked if I could speak with a technician, when she heard my problem, she just asked for an invoice and my headset, registered a complain and assured me there was no need to speak with anyone as this is a 100% non-repairable product and I will receive a replacement in 7 Days. Feeling upbeat about what she said, I left and went about my business.

6th February 2019 (Day 2)

I call up Pranank Electronics Sony Authorised Service Centre as a follow up as, on hindsight, I did not believe something could be so simple in India. I spoke with the same lady and she put me on hold and asked their technician about the status. She confirmed, the Sony WH-1000XM3 was dead and a request for replacement has been placed. I asked her if they needed to send this dead Sony WH-1000XM3 for a replacement or if the replacement will arrive without this process being done.

12th February 2019 (Day 7)

I call Pranank Electronics Sony Authorised Service Centre and was told they did not have an update for me. They asked me to call the Sony Toll Free number.

I visit the website and raise an escalation case using my job number. I receive a response within hours. I also get a call from Pranank Electronics Sony Authorised Service Centre mentioning they had a call from their regional office and that they were being pressurised into trying different firmware’s, the technician who spoke with me also mentioned that they are preparing an internal firmware which did not have a public release yet and wants to try that and see if that will fix my Sony WH-1000XM3. I was shocked to hear that everyone was working hand in hand and I was told, the local guys were getting pressure from above to keep me at bay.

This really is a trust breaker on a brand such as Sony, I bought my Sony WH-1000XM3 for around Rs. 30,000 and after facing issues and bringing a dead set within 90 days and here we are where they are trying to just about make it work and give it back to me.

22nd February 2019 (Day 18)

As I was travelling for the 10-day gap, I could not really get in touch with them and neither my local service centre or Sony tried to get in touch with me to give me an update. I called Pranank Electronics. The technician was nice enough to inform me that the effort to not give a replacement and fix the existing one was still on. Now that they determined the problem was a faulty motherboard and they were waiting to determine the part number so could order it in. I have no words to describe this deceit. On one hand, I was told that this is a non-repairable item by every person I spoke to representing Sony and on the other hand here we are where they are trying every possible manner to just make it work and dump it on me.

I write to Sony, but no response. I explain that I do not want a repair and want a replacement.

23rd February 2019 (Day 19)

I write to Sony, but no response.

25th February 2019 (Day 21)

Sony writes back acknowledging that efforts to repair the item are no longer in place and they have placed an order for a headset.

We would like to inform you that, we have placed order for headset and we are arranging the stock from our sources. We assure you that care is taken to ensure the service as early as possible. We assure you that care is taken to ensure the product is delivered as early as possible.

6th March 2019 (Day 30)

I write a follow up as it has been over 10 days since they placed the order. I begin to wonder if they are looking for a refurbished piece of junk to dump it on me.

No response.

8th March 2019 (Day 32)

I write to them. No response.

12th March 2019 (Day 36)

I call Pranank Electronics but no one picks up. I try thrice over an hour, but no one picks up. I call Sony on their Toll-Free number. The person picks up, does not apologize, treats it just like normal. I ask when I will have my headset and I am informed that she will expedite it and I will get the replacement headset by the end of this week, which will be  16th March.

Sony also has an online option to find the status of the job which is literally useless and give random results. At the moment, it displays that the product has been serviced.

14th March 2019 (Day 38)

I received a call from Pranank Electronics informing me that the replacement has arrived and I can pick it up. It has to be seen how this replacement works or if they have given a brand new set or a refurbished one.

15th March 2019 (Day 39)

Upon reaching Pranank Electronics, I was shocked to see that there were massive letters written with a sketch on the box of the headsets. I was under the assumption that these were new. To my surprise, they had repaired my headsets and were giving me back my headsets and not a replacement as promised right from day one.

I called the manager of the store and he had no clue about this replacement promise that his staff and the sony centre had made. I called Sony care on the toll-free number. The person who picked up the call had no clue what was going on but did acknowledge that a replacement request was placed. I explained and refused to take the repaired headset, he asked me to hand over the phone to the service centre staff. I had no idea what he spoke but he finally told me that I will be getting a call from the service centre and that he was escalating my case with utmost priority. I was terribly disappointed.

I am not sure how long this will go on for but I am having a nightmare with these, the reason I refuse to take a repaired headsets is because of their short lifetime and also because I was explicitly told that these were a non-repairable product and somehow they have repaired them.

19th March 2019 (Day 43)

I have not heard from anyone as promised. I wrote another email to Sony via their contact form yesterday but no response. So, I sent an email within the email thread. I await a response. Sony India on Facebook responded to my post and asked me to share my details, I have shared the job number, it is to be seen what happens next.

21st March 2019 (Day 45)

I receive an email exactly 15 days after I wrote to them for a response. In the email, Sony India, very coldly explains that they are not able to provide a replacement but have repaired the headset according to the terms and conditions set out in the warranty. I compose and send out the following email to them.

Below is the email I received confirming the order they placed for the headset.

Below is my response.

5th April 2019 (Day 59)

There has been no response from Sony India. I did start a case here http://consumerhelpline.gov.in and am waiting for some help but at this point, I am just planning on getting my headphones and using them as I feel defeated as there are hardly any options left.