We have received many complaints regarding the so-called YLOD (Yellow Light of Death Fault) that is affecting a number of Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) owners and have created this guide to help them get their consoles fixed for free.

In the UK consumers have statutory rights that give them six years from the date of purchase to make a claim (five years Scotland) and these are in addition to any warranty provided by Sony. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 is fundamental and says that goods including the Sony PS3 must be:

Of Satisfactory Quality
This includes fitness for purpose and life expectancy taking into account the price paid and the nature of the item purchased.  We believe that it is reasonable to expect a high-end consoles such as the Playstation 3  to last 5 – 8 years when used in the home environment with reasonable usage.

Get your faulty Playstation 3 fixed for free

If you have just got it then you could reasonably expect your money back or a replacement rather than a repair.

If the PS3 was bought less than six months ago it is assumed to have been faulty when it was delivered and the shop has to prove otherwise.

However, when it is more than six months since you made the purchase then you have to prove that the console  is actually faulty and the retailer may ask for an engineers report. In practice, this is only likely to happen once the Sony warranty has expired.

After the warranty has expired it seems to be normal practice for retailers to simply shrug their shoulders and say they cannot do anything. There is no mention of your statutory rights! In these circumstances you need to stand firm and state that the PS3 is not of satisfactory quality and you are making a claim for a repair under the Sale of Goods Act and this is nothing to do with the warranty.  Here is a letter that you can use:

Dear Sir/Madam,

On 06/12/07, I bought a Playstation 3 60GB from Acme.com for £450 (including game) which is not of satisfactory quality.

The problem is the device goes into standby a few seconds after it is switched on.

Sony have quoted £145 to replace the Playstation 3 console with a refurbished model.
I wish to claim a replacement from Acme.com as my contract of sale is with you and it is reasonable to expect goods of this nature and cost to last longer than this. This is one of my statutory rights as described in the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

A copy of the proof of purchase is attached.

Please arrange for my Playstation 3 to be repaired or replaced or send me £145 within 14 days from receipt of this letter.

Yours faithfully,

Joe Bloggs

In response to this they are likely to ask for an engineers report to prove that the item is faulty, which is reasonably and to be expected. All you need to do is find a local reputable computer repair shop and ask them for a report. If the engineer concludes that the fault was caused during manufacturing, the retailer should reimburse you for the cost of the report and should agree to a repair. If it is not economical for them  to repair the console they can offer a replacement or a cash refund taking into account your usage.

Without an engineers report this is the type of response you will get:

Dear Sir,

I represent the Executive Customer Relations Group within Acme.co.uk and in this capacity, your correspondence has been brought to my attention.
I am sorry to hear of the difficulty experienced with the Sony Playstation 3 Console (60GB Version) received in December 2007 from your order #25484662.

The European Directive 1999/44/EC allows for a claim to be taken (under certain circumstances) for a period up to two years in accordance with European Law, and up to six years under UK law.
This does not imply that an item has a warranty of two years or six years respectively. It merely permits an individual to make a claim under certain circumstances within that time period, e.g. should a fault be proven to have been inherent in the first six months.

Acme do not provide the warranty. We do, however, cover our obligations under the relevant legislation such as the Sales of Goods Act 1979 in the UK. Under the Sale of Goods Act, a consumer is granted recourse against a seller of goods if those goods were defective at the time of purchase. This may include, in certain circumstances, repair, refund or replacement but only to the extent that doing so is not disproportionate to the value of the goods, having regard to the use the customer has already had of the goods and the nature of the goods.

You purchased your product approximately 20 months ago and, until recently, have used it successfully and reported no fault with the product. Given your satisfactory use of the product for a period of time which exceeded the manufacturer’s warranty period, it is not established that the product did not conform to the contract (i.e. was defective) at the time of purchase.
In the absence of any additional evidence indicating that this product may have suffered an inherent defect, Acme.co.uk is not in a position to offer any additional assistance in repairing or replacing your product.

However, although we do not have any obligation to do so under the Sale of Goods Act or otherwise, in this circumstance as a measure of good will we would like to offer you a choice of the following resolutions:

  • An Acme.co.uk gift certificate to the value of 42 GBP.
  • A refund of 30 GBP.

Please note that gift certificate funds are only applicable to items being dispatched from and sold by Acme.co.uk.

Please reply directly to this letter to confirm if you wish to accept either of these offers as a full and final settlement in this matter and I will make the appropriate arrangements.

Please note that the manufacturer is often in a better position than the retailer to deal with technical problems affecting their products. We would therefore encourage you to contact the manufacturer to see if they are able to provide you with any further assistance. The manufacturer’s correspondence details are below, should you wish to pursue this matter further:

Manufacturer: Sony
Phone: 08705 111999

Yours faithfully,

John Doe
Customer Services

If the retailer won’t agree to repair or replace your PS3 and it is less than six years since purchase (five years in Scotland) then you will have to take them to the Small Claims Court.

It is worth bearing in mind that if you have paid by credit card, the credit card company is equally liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.    This is especially useful if the retailer is being unresponsive or has gone out of business.